Saturday Night Live

I sat and watched Saturday Night Live tonight with Steffie. It’s a fairly regular ritual for us. She wanted to watch this week because of the appearance of the Olsen Twins (it’s good to be the Olsen Twins).

This was the last episode of the season. Jimmy Fallon said goodbye. I’m not sure anyone else is leaving.

Saturday Night Live has had its share of break out stars… and flops. I think this cast has at least two huge stars and one guy who will work constantly, making more money than nearly everyone else.

First the stars:

Horatio Sanz – Laughs all the time, especially at his own stuff. There is some non-quantifiable attribute that certain people have, which makes them likable on TV. He has that something, and has a lot of it. I know nothing about him but fear he might have a self destructive side.

Fred Armisen – I was not impressed when I first watched him last season. I sense that writers need to find the performer’s sweet spot on Saturday Night Live. This year they found Fred’s. He is very funny playing hapless geeks. He is funniest when he’s totally over-the-top.

Now, the guy who will always work:

Chris Parnell – He is Phil Hartman, Fred Willard, Harry Shearer, Dan Akroyd funny. There will always be a need for him, though probably not as the lead.

These guys are great. It was a pretty good (though not the best) year.

Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night

Steffie and I usually watch SNL together. It’s good to have her there because there are always some social references she needs to explain to me. To a lesser extent, I do the same, like with Bud Collins last night.

I saw SNL live March 11, 1978. The host was Art Garfunkel. It was less than memorable. I do remember having really bad sight lines and being disappointed.

Last night was the best show, so far, of this season. The host, Andy Roddick, was adequate. He seemed less than adept at sketch comedy, but very game – that counts for a lot.

There was a very funny Mary Poppins bit with Rachel Dratch early in the show and Horatio Sanz as straight/butch Rosie O’Donnell during weekend update, but the best bit of the show came near the end. The premise was a small time television station with huge, overpowering music that wouldn’t quit and major technical problems on-the-air. Somehow, I felt I had lived that nightmare more than once.

Horatio Sanz is the breakout star of the current cast. He was good last year, but it’s obvious that the writers have learned to tool bits toward his more physical comedy. I am surprised that he continues to giggle during sketches, as I was under the impression that Lorne didn’t like or put up with that.

I read the excellent Tom Shales SNL book this past summer. It was a fast read. More importantly, the book was really a well edited compilation of interviews which explained everything I never understood or even questioned about the show.