It is not fair to write a post-mortem for a show that is still on-air. I am not that old, and I don’t know much, but once upon a time Saturday Night Live was GOLD. Comedians would sell their mothers and their last pack of cigarettes to get on. It was seen as the launching pad of an amazing career. However, it is my duty to present to you the top 5 reasons why SNL, as most of us knew it, is dead and gone.
1) Pop Culture is Trash: Really great comedy comes from asking “What if?” However, many of those ridiculous scenarios exist as full length, executive produced cable programs. Not only are there fewer unexploited pop culture references out there, the SNL impersonations tend to fall flat, often due to a lack of visual accuracy (see point 5). Simply put, making fun of a caricature is not funny. Bring back the tradition of recurring characters: The Church Lady , The Spartan Cheerleaders , Mary Katherine Gallagher . These are the SNL characters of legend and Jersey Shore impersonations don’t come close.
2) The Internet Happened, Specifically Twitter: Today, the Internet is so ubiquitous. Americans are connected to each other and the world in a matter of seconds -thoughts and ideas are shared in real time. With the advent of Twitter , I can immediately see what everyone in America is talking about whenever I want. 24/7. News breaks on Twitter faster than on traditional news sources, who then spend the next 24hrs catching up and breaking “exclusive” details. Saturday Night Live is only one day a week. Not only are most pop stories dated by the time Saturday rolls around, but they have to come up with new spins and top the countless number of jokes and spoofs already made. Take for example, Saturday’s open making fun of the President Obama/Governor Romney debate. It was boring and unimpressive compared to every discussion that occurred just days prior. My heart goes out to the SNL writers, truly.
3) The Internet Happened Pt. 2, YouTube: Remember when everyone wanted to share “Sh-t _insert group of people here_ says?” Or better yet, which came first, Andy Samburg on SNL or The Lonely Island . There are a lot of funny people out there. Some of them know how to write down their funny thoughts, get together a group of friends, and put a knee-slapping video on YouTube. Not only can average Joe’s put up a one off, Channels are popping up on YouTube now . Yes ladies and gentlemen, TV production value comedy shows on YouTube! For people without cable like myself, it makes for quality entertainment -for SNL, a problem. I know that SNL has a great team of writers, but it is possible that they are out of touch.
4) All the Greats Leave: As I mentioned in the opening, SNL is a great launching pad. However, once someone jumps off, they rarely come back or continue writing for the show. Year after year, the most talented cast members seem to enjoy shorter stints. I’m not saying that Tina Fey shouldn’t go off and write an amazing show of her own, or that Will Ferrell should still be on, but it appears that the producers have started to fail on their replacements. Trust me, I love Keenan Thompson more than the next person, but if I hear him say “Hell nah!” as a character one more time, I might write a strong letter to SNL, which brings me to the last point.
5) Lack of Diversity: Now I know this last one may look like I’m playing the race card, but let’s be honest. If you are going to make fun of pop culture and the world we live in, your cast should be made up of those people. Black women in pop culture cannot always be played by the one (or currently two), Black guy(s) in drag. Does anyone remember how great the Sarah Palin/Hillary Clinton sketches were? Gold! Michelle Obama/Ann Romney sketches? They don’t exist. There was this one, and the Jay-Z and Beyonce sketch was passed around quite a bit, but you can’t tell me there aren’t any Black female comedians out there SNL worthy? Yes, I know Maya Rudolph recently left, and what about Nasim Pedrad, isn’t that diversity? The point I’m trying to make here is that either cast/write better pop culture spoofs, or don’t do them at all, because Black/brown face can only go so far.
People watch SNL because they hope, with every episode, they will bear witness to the glorious moment that SNL gets its groove back. Well, hope springs eternal from the human breast, and it ain’t happenin’. All I know is, if Honey Boo Boo aired on Saturday night then they would really be in trouble.
Click here for full information on SNL and current cast… http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/bios/