Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

Hey, SNL is actually funny this season!

SNL ladies
Funny and adorable!

I know it sounds bizarre, but SNL is actually funny this season, and from my dive down a YouTube hole, it looks like it’s been decent for a while now.Ā  I chalk this up to the fine females on the show.

Saturday Night Live tends to be good in waves.Ā  I think most people will agree that the original cast was great for the first few seasons, then there was a bit of a down period until the show picked up again in the late ’80s/early ’90s, with performers like Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Nora Dunn, Jan Hooks, Mike Myers, Dana Carvey….Ā  It stayed pretty good until about the time that David Spade, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, and Chris Farley became the focus of the show (although Farley was actually funny), then seemed to go into a down period again.Ā  There have been times with decent casts since then (the Will Ferrell/Molly Shannon/Ana Gasteyer/Cheri Oteri casts, and more recent casts with guys that were said to be funny, since they got their own TV shows and movies), but from what I’d seen, the writing wasn’t as sharp and/or there was too much of a reliance on recurring characters.

So, I started watching this fall because of the Trump/Hillary sketches, and they were certainly amusing, but watching different sketches, I saw how good the cast was otherwise, particularly the very strong, very funny female cast.Ā  It’s undoubtedly helped by the co-head writer being a woman (Sarah Schneider, formerly of College Humor, apparently), as well as several new female writers (thanks for the info, Wikipedia!).Ā  There have been a number of good hosts this fall as well, including (but not limited to) Tom Hanks, Dave Chappelle, Emma Stone, Margot Robbie.

So here’s a sampling of some of my favorite SNLĀ sketches from this fall (and before).

This one features three of the SNLĀ ladies (Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, and the oh so lovely Vanessa Bayer)Ā in a Halloween sketch, where things don’t go as planned.Ā  Hilarious stuff.

This one is a great takeoff on ’90s female groups and Christmas songs and stupid presents that everyone gives.Ā  Emma Stone looks absolutely gorgeous here, not unlike a crush I had in the ’90s (the girl I talked about before, actually), Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant sing nicely (with Bryant doing a great breakdown about not adding anything to the gift, as it diminishes the candle), and all of the SNL females (I think) are spotlighted here.

Cecily Strong is hilarious in this one, because all of her asides are insane, and insanely funny.Ā  She’s a crazy lady going on about all sorts of shit, and an entirely believable actual human being that I swear I have seen before.

This one is the start, apparently, of a recurring sketch thatĀ SNL just did another one of this past week.Ā  While it’s getting diminishing returns, it’s still pretty damn funny because Kate McKinnon is hilarious as this lady who keeps getting the short end of the stick with otherworldly encounters.Ā  This one in particularĀ is great fun because EVERYONE busts up laughing, even McKinnon herself.Ā  Ryan Gosling trying to keep it together is damn funny.

And one of the strongest sketches I’ve seen in ages, notĀ just on SNL,Ā is this Black Jeopardy sketch with Tom Hanks as the white contestant on Black Jeopardy, showing that no matter who we are, weĀ have more in commonĀ than we don’t.Ā  Sasheer Zamata, Leslie Jones, and Kenan Thompson are all great as well.

Hope you enjoyed this trip down the YouTube rabbit hole of SNL clips! I sure lost plenty of time this past weekend because of it!


  1. tomfitz1

    You know, now that I think of it, I haven’t watch a single episode of SNL in its 40-year run.

    Never watched, Jay Leno, Johnny Carson, or any late-night shows.

    Never saw the sense of them.

    That being said, I wouldn’t mind giving Emma Stone, Vanessa Bayer, or even the lovely Eva Green my cell ph #. ;p

  2. Jeff Nettleton

    I beg to differ; SNL was damn good before Lorne came back and Phil Hartman came along. You wouldn’t know it by their anniversary shows that skip over the Ebersol years, though. Tons of great material with Joe Piscopo, Eddie Murphy, Tim Kazurinsky, Robin Duke, Denny Dillon, Rich Hall, and Gary Kroeger. The single season with Billy Crystal, Martin Short and Harry Shearer blows away anything in the 90s, for my money.

    Nothing beats the spontaneity of the original years. Those were seasoned improv people and they could turn a sketch on a dime. However, there has always been the problem of front-loading the show and weaker later material. Also, they were desperate for hosts that first season or two (maybe season and a half) and had some real clunkers. The music wasn’t quite cutting edge, at first, either. Once they started grabbing attention, they started to attract better guests.

    I still prefer SCTV, though. Things were built far more on characters and less on catch phrases (Bob & Doug MacKenzie notwithstanding) and I find it holds up better, over time.

  3. Edo Bosnar

    Heh, it seems like this conversation – i.e., “SNL hasn’t been funny since the original cast left”, or “SNL’s finally funny now, first time since…” (fill in the blank: original cast/Murphy years/etc.) – has been going on forever. I first recall a version of it sometime in my early college years just after what I’d consider one of the only across-the-board genuinely disastrous and largely unfunny seasons: 1985-86, when Randy Quaid and Anthony Michael Hall were cast members.
    Anyway, I agree with Jeff above on a lot of points: the seasons with Murphy, Piscopo, et al. (and don’t forget Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her husband Brad Hall – I recall really enjoying him as the weekend update anchor) were quite good. And I also agree about SCTV – that was a wonderfully creative and funny show.

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