Thursday, May 24, 2012

What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Saturday Night Live?

"But first, I'd like to do a few seductive poses for you. I call this one 'The Snake.'" These are the words of Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute, a character created by Dan Ackroyd back in the 1970's on a show called "Saturday Night Live." These words are generally enough to send friends of mine into gales of nostalgic laughter, remembering back when comedy was king on NBC. This was groundbreaking stuff. The kind of thing you have to search out on YouTube, and even then you almost always have to surrender to wading through the commercials on Hulu to find the bit you were looking for.You know that old guy on "Community?" he got his start on the National Broadcasting System way back then. He was pretty funny.
I mention all of this because another season of Saturday Night Live came to a close this past week. Some cast members moved on, while others will stick around to try and build a reputation equal to that of Chris Rock or the aforementioned Mister Ackroyd.All the while they will try and avoid the legacy of John Belushi and Chris Farley. Nothing funny there.
But in the meantime the talk swirls around, as it has since 1975. It's not funny anymore. It never was. It's not as funny as it used to be. The fact that this same comedy machine produced Kristen Wiig alongside Eddie Murphy and Chevy Chase suggests that it is still a viable property, even if it isn't the shocking alternative that it seemed thirty-seven years ago. My fifteen-year-old son's exposure to Saturday Night Live doesn't come on Saturday Night, nor is it live. He catches bits and pieces of it online, without the challenge of having to stay up past midnight to catch all that anarchy. He lives in a world of downloads and wireless Internet. A ninety minute show can be quite a burden to sit through while waiting for that one gem of a skit.
I expect Lorne Michaels will go out and find some clever people to replace the ones who are leaving this year to fill those empty slots in the Fall. Maybe there will be another Joe Piscopo in the lot. That would be funny. If it really were Joe Piscopo, I mean.

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