So, I watched the season premiere episode of "Saturday Night Live" last week....
I liked it, it was funny.
I mean, I guess I could go into specifics, but...- look, talking about "SNL" is always a little bit of a hot-button issue that's gonna cause a lot of responses from people, and about half of them are gonna be some variant of how the show isn't as good or as funny as it used to be, or that the "Weekend Update" segments are the only really good parts or- I don't know, there's always somebody saying something negative just to be a dick, and there's also gonna be some from the other side too. Give these people a chance, just because they're not Belushi and Radner doesn't mean they're not funny or just as great.
Look, I'm not gonna put up with line of argument too long; I will say that, there have been bad eras in "SNL"'s history; I won't blindly say it's always been funny. That said, I think most of those seasons can usually be chalked up to rebuilding years where the cast is still learning to gel and find their voice. If there's a truly bad era, I would argue, the mid-80s seasons, after Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo left were cringy and very few sketches are remembered fondly from that time and that's the era where the cast members were particularly weak and lacked anybody who had significant careers of note after the series ended. (Or were somewhat known before joining the show and weren't really natural fits for sketch comedy) Other then that, I think most supposed bad seasons or eras of "SNL" can either have some sort of legit excuse, and can be dismissed 'cause they inevitably led to great "SNL" eras or people are just relentlessly comparing them to whatever their particular favorite nostalgia era of "SNL" was and any or most modern comedy will just never equal the past.
In my case, my first great "SNL" era was the late '80-early '90s era, where you had Phil Hartman, Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, young Chris Rock, younger Sarah Silverman for like a month, Chris Farley, David Spade, Dennis Miller, Norm MacDonald, Kevin Nealon, Jon Lovitz, etc. etc. And somehow Adam Sandler became the biggest superstar out of that bunch. And even I'd argue, that's maybe 4th or 5th best era? The late '90s, Tina Fey-era is even stronger to me once that core group of suddenly got comfortable. "SNL" isn't like, a regular series; it's never gonna jump the shark, it's gonna evolve and change with the times and new blood is constantly coming in to challenge and change what we thought of as funny. Whether you think it's the funniest Variety-Sketch out there right now or not, and yeah, some years, I'd argue it hasn't been, even during some of the series' best years, "SNL" remains a pretty good barometer of what comedy was at the time and see how it's change. It's probably the greatest and biggest American television institution. The Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players, the premiere spot for the next biggest stars in comedy to make their first big, major impressions on a national stage. It's a symbol that not only have these guys, and gals have made it, but these guys aren't going to become stars in the future, they're going to become important influential figures in the world of American comedy.
For those who might not know what this clip above is, this was an episode of "All That", which Nickelodeon, last year, actually rebooted and brought back, but it was Nickelodeon's teenage version of "SNL" back in the early '90s, and yeah, that's Chris Farley, one of his last performances in fact, working with him in a sketch. The reason I'm bringing it up is a couple years ago, Kenan Thompson actually surpassed Carol Burnett's record for most years being a regular cast member of a sketch comedy series. Most of it was from "SNL" where, unless you count Don Pardo or Lorne Michaels, I guess, as cast members, Kenan Thompson is also the longest-running cast member in the show's history, this being his 17th season as a cast member. That, along with his work on "All That" is kinda startling.