Is it finally time to put ‘Saturday Night Live’ to bed?

Did you see the season premiere of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” a few weeks ago?

The show’s “cold open” was a parody of “Monday Night Football,” with NFL analyst Peyton Manning with guest host Miles Teller and “SNL” writer and player Andrew Dismukes playing his brother Allie. Instead of talking about the game, the two focused their ongoing commentary on “SNL,” putting aside a different skit, shown in split screen, with other cast members Donald Trump and As His Ministers pouring onto the stage. In Mar-a-Lago during Hurricane Ian.

“Let’s take a look at the stats so far,” Taylor joked minutes after the program started. “Fourteen attempts at jokes, just a soft laugh and three laughs.”

“I heard they stayed until 5am to write the show,” Dismukes said.

“What time did you start writing? 4:30? Taylor tore.

The parody was clearly intended as a fanatical piece of self-referential metascissism. But what this three-laugh skit really revealed to audiences – if you can call it a slender, ever-attuned crowd of showbiz late-comers – is that “SNL” has gotten so extravagant over the years. , even his writers and artists know how lame he is.

I hate to point this out, because “SNL” has meant so much to so many viewers over so many decades – or at least a reason why generations of teenagers feel a little less shit about being stuck in a Saturday house. evening. Est., But apparently this ruined remnant is now called 48. it’s time to startAnd Time, from your long-standing pains.

It is time to cancel “SNL”.

Lorne Michaels, “Saturday Night Live” producer (Getty Images)

I understand this should be a “transition year,” as Lorne Michaels, the 77-year-old creator and producer of “SNL,” insists on calling it. Pete Davidson, Kate McKinnon and Eddie Bryant left the program at the end of last season, along with half a dozen other regulars who blocked Studio 8H until 2022. In fact, that’s the biggest turnover since Mahan’s time. Escape of 1995, when Adam Sandler, Mike Myers and Chris Farley all parted ways from the show. And while it’s at least theoretically possible that this latest “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” team – Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow, Devon Walker and Marcelo Hernandez – will be John Belushi and Gilda Radner’s runner-up to date. . . He hasn’t even reached the comedic level of Gilbert Gottfried this season.

To be fair, the mediocrity of “SNL” isn’t entirely the fault of the new cast. Not that the show kills him with the cast that came before them, or the cast before him. The show’s audience has been declining for decades – this season’s premiere attracted just four million viewers, making it the lowest number of views in the show’s history. Although “SNL” ratings remain relatively high – it is number 4 in the top 50 live streams between 18-49 demos – it still only attracts a third of the audience dating back to the 1990s. was. Sure, nobody watches TV today like 30 years ago, but it’s such a thing. Why is NBC tied to a show that peaked during the Clinton administration?

But let’s be honest: even in the 90s, “SNL” wasn’t always that good. To be even more honest, the show was never All great, even during its heyday in the 1970s. Sure, there have been many moments where comic genius inspired (Belushi’s.) Dan Aykroyds Samurai Julia Child playing Bill Murray’s slimy Lounge singer humming the “Star Wars” theme) But look at those old episodes on Peacock today and you can’t help but wonder what the noise was all about, especially when it came to Chevy Chases. Even then, in those updates at the beginning of the weekend, it proved insufficiently good.

John Belushi to the Daily Samurai

What was What was surprising about “SNL” when it first appeared on the airwaves was the fresh new sound. Television in the 1970s was mostly a wasteland filled with pablom like “Starsky and Hutch”, “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Love Boat”. Even its best – “The Bob Newhart Show”, “The Rockford Files”, “The Odd Couple” – was a fairly traditional dish that followed the simple formula.

But “SNL,” which burst onto the scene as a pop cultural riot in 1975, was a wholly original revelation. It’s rock n ‘roll (it’s where Simon and Garfunkel met again in 1975), political humor (Gerald Ford’s imitation of Chase, consisting mostly of slapstick quackery, probably helped pick Jimmy Carter in 1976 )) and was full of crazy TV spoofs. Even the TV commercials – the hands that power the show – were fair game parody for this new show.

During those early years, “SNL” felt rebellious and subversive, even when his jokes failed, which he often did. It was as if the prisoners had taken refuge. Only all of these prisoners had escaped from institutions with names like “The National Lampoon” and Second City. And the fact that it was all being streamed via the live TV feed made it even more hilarious.

Over the decades, “SNL” has occasionally managed to recover that original iconoclastic energy, or at least to leave its mawkish mark on great cultural moments. “I Can See Russia from Home” by Tina Fey Gaga Sarah Palin (who appeared on the show alongside Fey, just before the 2008 election, demonstrating how negligent politics she is). Kate McKinnon sitting at the piano singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, knocking after Donald Trump’s election in 2016 was the perfect note for the show (no matter what former cast member Rob Schneider has to say on this subject ,

SNL Sarah Palin Tina Fey
Tina Fey as Sarah Palin (NBC)

However, today’s television is not a particularly hospitable environment for rebellious comic sketches. For example, the Rebels took control of the medium long ago with shows like “The Simpsons”, “Seinfeld” and “South Park”, which left the television norm after the opening of “SNL”. The doors. . These days, iconography is the new establishment.

On the other hand, the rebellion is for children, and in 2022, young people aren’t staying home on Saturday nights listening to the National Broadcasting Company talk about an old CRT device in their parents’ living room. Not even when Lorne Michaels invited a teen magnet like Irish actor Brendan Gleeson, 67, to the show as a guest (see the October 8 episode; not really, it’s a disaster). They don’t watch television at all; They are glued to their phones. To the extent that they even know “SNL”, it is probably because they have seen clips uploaded to Tiktok or YouTube.

Don’t get me wrong: I am grateful to NBC for giving Belushi and Aykroyd and the other 90 minutes of weekly late night broadcast all those years ago. I am happy to live in a pop cultural universe where “Saturday Night Live” has played such an important role. All I’m saying is that the time has finally come to reunite the cast on that iconic stage, kick off the Howard Shore theme song, and finally say goodnight.

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