Let's Appreciate 'Saturday Night Live' For Bringing The Everyday Laughs In All Of Our Lives
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Let's Appreciate 'Saturday Night Live' For Bringing The Everyday Laughs In All Of Our Lives

The sketch comedy classic has been bringing the laughs since 1975.

Let's Appreciate 'Saturday Night Live' For Bringing The Everyday Laughs In All Of Our Lives

Continuing my study of NBC's great comedies (see previous articles on "The Good Place" and "Superstore," I'd be remiss if we didn't talk about "Saturday Night Live."

SNL is unique to television in many ways. It airs during the regular TV broadcast season (September-May) but doesn't fill the traditional 30- or 60-minute time slots. It's been on the air for 44 seasons, with each episode featuring some of the best comedians in American history, a celebrity guest host, and a musical performer. It has no plot to speak of, yet still maintains a sense of continuity with oft-returning favorite characters. Its cast is famously fluid, with members constantly joining or leaving the show.

And of course, SNL is delightfully ridiculous, making way for political mockery and just generally silly television stunts. Many of our favorite actors and comedians have gotten their start on SNL, like Andy Samberg, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, and so many more.

Over the years, SNL has provided us with a hilarious variety of sketches and ideas. They've introduced beloved recurring characters like Roseanne Roseannadanna, Opera Man, the men of Wayne's World, Church Lady, Stefon, and Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started A Conversation With. It's made the best of awkward situations in sketches like "After-School Special," "Drill Sergeant Suel," "Shirtless Bible Salesmen," and "The Physical." SNL has even managed to keep politics light from Mitt Romney to CNN, Bill Clinton to Hillary Clinton, and early 2000s Donald Trump to 2016 Donald Trump. It's created classic bizarre scenes like "Land Shark" that have withstood the test of time.

Its music videos, whether original or parodies, create a hilarious soundtrack for the veteran show. Some music videos, like this one on Kellyanne Conway and this recent Christmas one to Robert Mueller, are catchy commentaries on the state of American politics. Others present on important issues like consent or laugh with us on everyday situations that many of us face.

Better yet, SNL is easily adaptable to the seasons, like this modern classic from Halloween 2016 and this delightfully dorky Christmas song from 2001. And if fake commercials make you as happy as they make me, check out "Not a Record Ad" (1982), "Heroin AM" (2016), "Annuale" (2008), "Aron's List" (2015), "Mom Jeans" (2003), "Mom Celebrity Translator" (2009), and my personal favorite SNL fake commercial, 2005's "Taco Town," featuring young Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, and Jason Sudeikis.

Basically, SNL keeps it real. And if you're not already aware, NBC's website keeps a collection of old sketches online so younger viewers like me can look back through SNL history and find gems like "Passive Aggressive Pam," or younger versions of our favorite actors in "Shake Weight DVD."

It's not easy to make good TV, but it's even harder to make the same good TV for over 40-years.

The usual complaint with SNL is that it declines in quality at times: "The newer episodes aren't nearly as funny," "It's never going to be as funny as it was when ____ was on the show!" But these deviations in quality are to be expected. Sure, not every sketch is going to be knocking us off the couch with laughter, but each episode and season has its strong points. In an almost weekly 90-minute live show, some cringe-inducing moments are to be expected. I prefer to focus on the show's long history of being relevant, weird, and surprising, even if not every scene becomes an instant classic.

This season is certainly no exception. Just look to this season's "Unity Song" about universally disliked things despite such divisiveness in today's politics, a much needed moment of peace in the midst of such chaotic political arguments. SNL continues to capitalize on awkward situations in sketches like "Outside the Women's Bathroom" (2018), and "Invest Twins" (2018), and introduces new commercials like "GP Yass," which features drag entertainers directing you to your destination.

Somehow, "Saturday Night Live" has managed to remain a staple part of our television experience for over 40 years. Sure, not every sketch is great, but the bizarre, inconsistent weirdness is something to be appreciated. And of course, SNL has given some of the most talented people on TV an outlet to start their careers, leading to more TV favorites like "30 Rock," "Parks and Rec," "Seinfeld," "The Office," and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." In a way, SNL was their grandparent show: without SNL, NBC's comedy wouldn't be what it is today.

It's hard to write on a show with a legacy like that of SNL's, but one thing is for certain: now that I know it's there, I'm probably going to spend a LOT more time on NBC's website full of old SNL sketches. These are pure gold.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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