Forty years is a really long time. Next Saturday “Saturday Night Live” begins its 40th year on air.
A lot can happen in 40 years. SNL is proof that a lot has happened in our world since 1975. As our pop culture, politics, and even humor has changed over the years so has SNL. The show has adapted with the times. It’s lost people, it’s gained people. The sets have changed, the hosts have changed.
The last few weeks leading up to next Saturday’s 40th season premier have been full of absolute chaos. Which is exactly how Lorne Michaels likes it. I’ve avoided writing this blog for those few weeks because I knew Lorne would be giving us more surprises, and he did not disappoint. Allow me to now address everything and try to calmly explain my thoughts about season 40’s changes:
1. Changes in general
Every year SNL has change-ups. Players come, players leave. New writers come in, old writers leave. John Mulaney gets his own show. These things happen, yet with the Internet it always surprises me how pissed off people get. I always take this opportunity to remind people that Sandler and Farley once got fired because Lorne wanted to change the direction of the show. After that the show just kept going. It’s not just a show, it’s a comedy institution and there’s a reason it’s been on for 40 years; it’s continuously new and different.
2. Che in Cecily out
Michael Che is hysterical. So is Cecily Strong. The difference? Che is a stand-up, Cecily is an improviser. I’m only going to say this once so listen up: Cecily went to Lorne and asked to be taken off of “Weekend Update.” Why? Because, although she was decent at “Update” she would much rather play a character than herself. She’s not a straight man. She’s the wacky character being weird next to the straight man. Although I do agree that a two man “Update” team is a little strange, I’d also like to point out that Colin and Che did screen tests together and apparently it went really well because Lorne thinks they are going to be a good duo together. Fine. Whatever. I love Cecily as a fearless character comedian and I love Che’s stand-up. It will probably be OK, but that leads me to my next point…
3. Colin Jost
I really like Colin Jost. There I said it. What are you going to do about it? There’s something about him (not just the fact that he’s super hot) that makes me root for him. People of the Internet think he’s boring. They don’t think he’s funny. But in reality “Update” is just comedians reading off jokes with punchlines. It’s not the most revolutionary comedy ever. And he did a decent job in the handful of episodes he appeared in last spring. Want to know something else? People complain that he’s not Seth but I think he’s exactly like Seth. He’s sweet and non-threatening. He’s a good straight man. He’s a good writer. I don’t see much of a difference between him and Seth. And let me remind you that Seth spent 8 years or something liek that on “Update.” Colin had like 6 episodes. Give it a little more time Internet. Also, I’ve seen Colin do stand-up, that’s right we have been in the same room, anyways, he was really funny and smart. Just like Seth. I have faith in him.
4. New hires
The show has hired a few more female writers, which is always exciting (Come on “Tonight Show” why don’t you do that too?!) and a new cast member. This announcement made me a little angry. Last week I wrote about Brooks Wheelan and how I thought he was better off without SNL. I still think that, but then Lorne goes and hires Pete Davidson?! The cast is already too big and he hires a kid that’s younger than me! This is the only thing that’s got me pissed. The reason Brooks and others didn’t get a lot on last year was because there were too many people!
5. Hader hosting
Bill Hader will be coming back in October to host hot off of “The Skeleton Twins.” Everyone knows he’s the best and the show has been really different without him. Maybe having him back for a week will encourage everyone to step up there game to Hader-level stuff. With Hader coming back there will also be plenty of room for guest appearances from old friends. Something we may need by the third episode in.
6. Hammond as announcer
It’s honestly very weird to me that everyone was surprised with Lorne announced that Darrell Hammond would be taking over as the announcer of the show. Don Pardo, who was the announcer for the show since the beginning, passed away earlier in the summer. Lorne was smart in not talking about a replacement right away but everyone knew that Hammond was the best choice. He was the longest serving cast member ever and was known for evening doing an impression of Pardo’s iconic voice. Lorne was quick to point out though that the show would be getting a new opening segment and Hammond would be doing his own version of the announcing.
So, as we head into a new season, and really a new era of SNL I encourage people to calm their shit. Changes have happened before and they will happen again. But that’s what makes SNL the institution it has been for 40 years.