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Saturday Night Live
#1
I've watched SNL, off and on, since the original cast days. I've never been one of those people who go around saying how the show isn't funny anymore. People have been doing that ever since Chevy Chase left in season 2. And the fact is, if you go back and watch the complete seasons with the original cast instead of the "highlight reels" that get shown today, you'll see that they've always had a large percentage of clunker sketches along with the brilliance.

There have been a handful of truly bad seasons, usually when a new cast just failed to jell or an old cast got too bored and lazy. But most seasons have had something to recommend them.

In the mid-90's. Lorne Michaels hired a great cast, anchored by Will Ferrell, and for years after gradually phased cast members in and out rather than jarringly replacing whole casts at once. This resulted in almost 20 straight years of largely high-quality shows. There would be the occasional bad show, often when they brought in an un-funny host. But you could usually count on a few laughs every week. Some eps, like the season premiere, the Christmas show and the season finale, would be appointment viewing because the writers would save up their best stuff and they'd go all-out with a great host and several celebrity walk-ons.

Something changed drastically about a year and a half ago, pretty much exactly at the time Seth Myers left as head writer and Weekend Update anchor. The jokes got cruder and dumber. By the end of last season, I couldn't even make it through the lame season finale.

I watched the 40th anniversary special this year, which sucked. It reminded me of those lame "all-star specials" from the 70's, where they seemed to think just having a celebrity walk out on stage to be applauded was "entertainment" in and of itself.

Last night I decided to take a look at the season finale, thinking maybe after a year they'd had a chance to get things together. Louis C.K. was hosting, and he's usually funny.

The cold open was a musical number about Hillary Clinton running around and trying to campaign "at" various people who were trying to enjoy their summer vacations. It was about as funny as it sounds. At least I got to see Cecily Strong and Sasheer Zamata in shorts.

Then, Louis C.K.'s monologue. Good lord.

It started out OK. He did a bit about how all white people who grew up in the 70's have a little bit of racism, and how we can't interact with minorities without being constantly aware of the fact. Then it veered off into how child molestation was seen as less of a big deal in those days (which is true). But he kept digging deeper and deeper... unnecessarily... and finally concluded with a joke about how he loves Mars bars, but would stop eating them if it would get him sent to prison for 30 years. So to a child molester, the taste of a little boy in their mouth must be better than the taste of a Mars bar in order for them to risk so much.

Yeah.

You could see from his expression and body language that he know how this was going down, and at one point even said, "How do you think I feel? This is probably my last show." Which makes me wonder... was that the same monologue he prepared and presumably did in the dress rehearsal? And if so, what the hell were they thinking?

Hoping that was just a head-shaking moment, I stuck around for the first sketch after the commercial. It was a parody of the fairy tale of the shoemaker and the elves. Louis C.K. plays the shoemaker, who is upset that the elves have been doing crappy work lately. The elves are a couple of perverts who keep trying to get the shoemaker to spank and "discipline" them. That's literally the whole joke. Five minutes of that. I finally turned it off when the elves invited the shoemaker to piss on them, and brought out some plastic wrap to lay on the floor.

This wasn't just some mid-season episode where nobody could think of any good sketches. This was the season finale.

If I didn't know SNL was still getting high ratings, I would have suspected that maybe they'd been notified it was cancelled after 40 years and this was a "fuck you, NBC" episode. Or maybe Lorne Michaels wants to move on and was trying to get fired, going out like the comedy subversive he was decades ago but hasn't been since he started wearing a suit in the 80's.

In any case, I'm afraid I'm pretty much done with Saturday Night Live after all these years.
"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." --Thomas Jefferson

“Fascism should rightly be called corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.” --Benito Mussolini
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#2
I haven't watched it regularly in years, and even though I agree that it was never the 100% perfect show people remember, I have noticed a steady decline recently which is one of the reasons I stopped tuning in regularly. Though I didn't see the Louis CK episode, it does sound truly atrocious. As if they just didn't know how to do anything except go to the bottom of the barrel and start digging.
Life is like a roller coaster.  It has its ups and downs, but if you sit back and relax you get one heck of a ride.

NationStates: The Associated Systems of Klonor

Equality is not a loss.
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#3
I used to watch it avidly until about 2001. I've only seen 4 full episodes since then: Justin Timberlake's Five Timer's Club; Jennifer Lawrence; SNL 40; and the recent Scarlett Johansson.

I had it on for some reason, and was half-listening to Louie CK just ramble, and it got really uncomfortable.
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#4
I've watched it on and off when I was growing up. Never had much attachment to it, though.
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#5
(05-18-2015, 11:21 PM)a. non Wrote:  I had it on for some reason, and was half-listening to Louie CK just ramble, and it got really uncomfortable.

You could tell he was really sweating toward the end there. It's like he got taken by surprise by how far he was going. I don't know why. They run through the whole show at dress rehearsal in front of an audience.

I think he's very funny most of the time, but that show was not his best moment. He looked embarrassed during the appallingly bad first sketch, too.
"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." --Thomas Jefferson

“Fascism should rightly be called corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.” --Benito Mussolini
Quote
#6
A lot of times they switch out bits and sketches in the lead-up to airtime; though it usually doesn't happen with the opening monologue it's possible they had a different script for him during the rehearsals.
Life is like a roller coaster.  It has its ups and downs, but if you sit back and relax you get one heck of a ride.

NationStates: The Associated Systems of Klonor

Equality is not a loss.
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