It’s hard to believe but Saturday Night Live has been on-air for 40 years now. This show is even older than me! But it is a milestone for any show to be on the air for 40 years. So, a couple of weeks ago, NBC aired Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary special… on a Sunday. Okay, weird of them to show their special on a Sunday but that didn’t matter to me; I had to “download” it because we don’t get the later seasons of SNL over here!
They had 40 years to prepare for this one show. How was it? Well, it’s a very mixed bag. When a sketch worked, it worked phenomenally! When a segment didn’t, it bombed hard! Mercifully, the number of good things outweighed the bad stuff.
To paraphrase Stefon: This show had everything! They started the show with an energetic song and dance number with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake which was fabulous. We also got the return of Celebrity Jeopardy! as well and a new SNL Digital Short with Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg. Finally, to close out the show, SNL took as back to Wayne Campbell’s Basement for a fantastic Saturday Night Live Top 10 list that managed to poke fun at Kanye West and the show’s creator, Lorne Michaels.
Like I said before, when it worked, the 40th Anniversary of SNL was a joy to watch. But the definitive high spot of the evening was the Weekend Update segment! This Weekend Update had Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Jane Curtin go behind the newsdesk along with the appearance of several popular actors portray their favorite characters from SNL’s past. The veteran hosts still delivered pitch perfect jokes and the celebs did a good job imitating older characters. Melissa McCarthy’s performance was pretty spot on with her depiction of Chris Farley’s Matt Foley. The only thing that I didn’t like about this segment was that it wasn’t longer.
They did show a clip show showing the highlights of the previous Weekend Update. And they did a lot of this kind of thing throughout the entire 40th Anniversary show. Between the live action program, the show was peppered with clip shows, which were pretty good overall. It was great to see really older segments of SNL, some familiar and some unfamiliar. They distilled some of the best parts of their 40 years history so we got a great idea why the show lasted for so long. Even the “downer” segment where they showed the actors who’ve passed away had a joke in the end so it wouldn’t be depressing.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of boring segments as well as just dull ones. While some of the musical performances were good (Kanye West’s performance was just so visual trippy that I didn’t know what to expect) some of them were just out of place; the one my Miley Cyrus just sucked. All of the tributes were extremely forgettable! The tribute for Eddie Murphy was particularly bad; they didn’t even show any clips of his popular characters! It just had Eddie Murphy come out and say a few kind words. Boring!
If you’re a fan of Saturday Night Live, even if you’re just a casual viewer, the 40th Anniversary program, even with all of the awfulness, was still a joy to watch. I do hope they do a better job with their Golden anniversary that’s up in just 10 more years.
What did you think of Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary special? Let me know in the comment section below!