i never watch SNL anymore. it's too bad. i used to love the show when i was little. i remember being super tiny and watching the repeats with my parents. in my cable-less apartment, i have indulged in the box sets of the first couple of seasons. while they aren't quite as hilarious as i remember, they are really damn good. and mostly because the troupe of players and writers weren't trying to be funny all the time. it wasn't the punchline driven format that SNL has become over the last several years. they did scenes back then, real acting, even if they weren't very good at it. the best part of SNL today seems to be the digital shorts--well take a look at the awesome short films of the first 3 seasons of Saturday Night Live. these films had a hell of a lot more depth than "mother lover" - and i admit that was a funny bit.
filmed not long before belushi died
i highly recommend the box sets, which give you great unedited versions of the episodes. secret shopper tip: look for them at target, where for some inexplicable reason, they cost half as much as even amazon.com.
i wish i could have been a member of that early troupe. they worked raw, cheap, and dirty. but they had an audience.
SNL has been in the news quite a lot recently, and not just about some Sarah Palin moment. first they fired their "fat" actress after barely a season--though to be fair i think they fired both their 2 new women, one "fat" one "thin." then this saturday was the premiere of the new season with one new replacement woman. it happens that during a sketch about biker chicks, she accidentally said "f*ck". the show is, suprisingly, not time delayed for the east coast. so, thought they bleeped it for the other markets, the "SNL f-bomb" became headline news. i saw the clip and it's not even worth reposting here. it's boring actually. she meant to say "freaking" and didn't. but now everyone's talking about it and the new actress, who would have likely been looked over otherwise--as most newbies are for several episodes.
regardless of the quality of SNL writing, i think this actually speaks much more to our current news media and ridiculous standards regulation. what is it that makes a story hot? do audiences really care about something like this at all??
maybe i'm the one out of it. maybe today's audience really do need some paltry risque moment to cough up their time, attention, and $.
then again, take a look at the tv lineup, heck even broadway, and producers are falling over themselves to provide that moment that will get butts in the seats, eyes on the prize. for goodness sake, in last season's Hedda Gabler at roundabout, Mary-Louise Parker opened the play by facing the audience completely nude. i'm talking full frontal nudity, completely randomly. luckily our very old subscriber base objected before opening night and for the rest of the run parker began the play with her back to the audience. but does any of that account for ticket sales? it's hard to see why else the director put the moment in.
now my own show this week is hoping to get the seats filled. what do we do to drum up the headlines, the audience? stripping is a pretty regular occurrence. saying "f*ck" really doesn't mean a thing in contemporary theatre. walk into just about any off-broadway house and it's like stepping into a quintin tarantino film. heck, that's probably why it slipped out of Jenny Slate's mouth.