Friday, September 22, 2006

SNL Trims Some Fat

Last night as my wife and I were watching TV, the local NBC affiliate ran a teaser that several cast members were leaving Saturday Night Live. I suppose that it may have been a slow news day, I know there certainly isn't anything else interesting going on, so you should definitely tease what's happening on SNL, right?

This being the digital age, I jumped on my computer (well not literally, you know what I mean) to find out who is getting the ax. I found an article stating that Horatio Sanz, Finesse Mitchell, Chris Parnell are the three getting their walking papers. I can't say that I'll miss Parnell, he plays too many blatantly stereotypical effeminate characters and pantless perverts for my tastes. He was also fired once before, so it's that much easier to get rid of him again.

I guess it's unfortunate that Mitchell is gone too. I liked some of the stuff that he did, but he didn't get enough air time and many of the African American characters that he would play can go to Kenan Thompson, who not only is black, but he's also fat and he starred in Good Burger, so he's got to be that much funnier, right?

I have mixed feelings about Horatio, too many of his skits devolved into him breaking character and laughing and he couldn't have done a worse job hosting Weekend Update (subbing for Tina Fey when she had her baby) if he had marbles in his mouth, but he was a fairly reliable contributer who had funny moments satirizing Gene Shallit, Ozzy Osborne, Elton John and others.

Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch have also departed for 30 Rock. At least I think Dratch is on that show, it's gotten retooled or rewritten or something along the way and her part was written out/altered/killed off/something. Even though their talents will be missed, I suppose it's good because now Maya Rudolph may get some camera time back.

I've been a big fan of SNL for a long time, even it's lean years. Even though the classic Not Ready For Prime Time Players did some of the funniest, most subversive stuff in the history of television, I started watching the show in the 80's which featured the comedy of Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Jan Hooks, Dennis Miller, Julia Sweeney, Chris Farley and David Spade. Because of this, most of their work remains some of the favorite and most memorable to me. There was another guy in there, too. Who was that, Mike Meyers or something?

My wife is gaga over Will Ferrell, so I would be remiss if I didn't mention his contributions. After a choppy start, I think he did some really great stuff on SNL as well. Although, I have to say that I think my impersonation of Harry Caray blows Ferrell's out of the water.

So getting back to the present. I think that the current group of players will be pretty strong. Fred Armisen, Andy Samberg, and the aforementioned Maya Rudoph remain my favorites. Will Forte and Seth Meyers have their moments and you have to keep Darrell Hammond on, evidently, because no one else can do a Phil Donahue impression.

Now for your opinion, what's some of your favorite SNL stuff from over the years? Anyone want to stand up for Joe Piscopo or Charles Rocket? How about the other side of the coin, who or what was so bad on the show that it drove you crazy?

18 comments:

guppyman said...

Actually.... I have gotten to the point where i can't even watch the show. I've been there for quite some time now. Most of the names you rattled off mean nothing to me. Kinda sad considering what the original show was- Great!

Oh well... at least Michele says howdy...

Wedge Antillies said...

SNL has become a television icon. It deteriorated when Lorne went off to do other things, and now it struggles to be edgy. It is falling into the cracks of the many cable network shows:

The Daily Show does a much better spoof on the news.

HBA, FX and Showtime have sexier and grittier shows that are difficult to parody without full nudity and excessive use of the 'F' word.

There are many funny writters, but fewer funny performers. The original cast were both.

Like a winning sports team, you need to mix up the players and hope that you have a solid season.

mar said...

SNL reminds me of college days in the US, a long time ago, the original show, actually!!! Michele sent me your way, it's been a long while, hi!

A Army Of (Cl)One said...

The problem for SNL is that almost any show that has been on the air for 30+ years (oh dang has it really ben that long, crap I am old) will lose it edge. Too much history to live up to, too many rehashes of older stuff. I haven't watched a whole show in over 7 years.

Best in recent years for me was Jimmy Fallon singing and Jimmy and Tina on the news. They were a team. Come to think of it I have always like the weekend update best, except in the mid-to late 80's when that had that Neilon(sp)? guy. Also loved the Jack Handy bits.

tiff said...

"Jane you ignorant slut." gotta be my fave line. NOBODY used words like that on teevee back i nthe day, you know?

Here from Michele's!

Lt. Cmdr Oneida said...

Kevin Nelon(?) was awesome on weekend update.

Actually, my intern really misses Adam Sandler. And she loves it when Christopher Walken is the host. But the best ever was when the Rock hosted and they had the ladies man skit with him.

Pearl said...

Hi Michele sent me. Believe it or not, I've never actually ever watched an epidode. I may be the only one in North Amerca...

mominprogress said...

Hello michele sent me. Love this show not matter who's on it but don't get to watch it as often as I'd like.

Darth Nepharia said...

I'm sorry. I don't think there are many that beat the original NRFPT Players. The first few newbies that came along (Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy) were even great. Then the talent being chosen just didn't seem as talented.

Of course there were a few shining stars (Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Mike Myers, and Adam Sandler to name just a few), but most of the names have fallen to the wayside. The last show I remember watching all the way through was the Saturday after Desert Storm started back in 1991 and it was a scream. Haven't been able to get interested in any of them since then (even tho some of them had their moments -- we watch those moments on YouTube.com).

Anonymous said...

I STOP WATCHING SNL. I GET MY FUNNY FIX FROM MAD TV.

Shoe Guy said...

Here we have yet another consequence of the diminishing pool of available comedic talent. Back when there were just our three little networks, Lorne had his pick of the litter. Not just with the players, but also with the writers. I can't even keep up with the sheer number of networks or shows currently on air; just that most of what we watch anymore lacks
originality and chemistry.

Some of my favorite SNL moments:

1. Michale Palin hosting and in a skit with Belushi as the captain of the Raging Queen, docking at manly ports like Milan, Key West, and San Francisco

2. Richard Prior as a priest in an exorcism

3. That presidential debate with Clinton, Bush and Perot (especially how the three of them viewed eachother: a stoner, the church lady, and a munchkin)

4. Steve Martin as the evolution of man from caveman (honorable mention goes to him also as the enlightened midieval judge dawning the Enlightenment)

5. Bill Murray doing the night club act in his shower, holding a microphone-shaped soap on a rope, and having his wife anmd neighbors as in-shower guests.

6. Darrel Hammond in ANY incarnation of Clinton

7. Mike Meyers as the chief of the Hillpeople, lamenting over discussions about "long walks" with his other chiefdom peers

8. Hans and Franz

9. Dan Akroyd, both as Julia Child and that sleazy childs costume and toy manufacturer (who can forget that popular Halloween costume, Johnny the Human Torch - "a bag of oily rags and a lighter")

10. Eddie Murphy in Mr Robinson's Neighborhood

Geeze, I could kepe at this all day! Thanks for the reminiscing. Michele sent me.

panthergirl said...

I loved the original group, and also the Eddie Murphy and Billy Crystal eras. Later than that, I loved Phil Hartman and loved The Sweeney Sisters routine from that era.

Beyond those years, SNL sucked for me and continues to suck. I hated Joe Piscopo and Charles Rocket.

If you haven't read "Live from New York", I strongly recommend it.

Here via michele!

Professor Xavier said...

I gave up on SNL several years ago. I use to watch all the time. The peak for me was the Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman cast. Those guys were very talented and the skits were funny. I did like Will Ferrel alot and that cow bell skit was hilarious, but the laughs were few and far between for me so I just stopped cold turkey.

My point - I don't really have one. Sorry. Today I'm pointless. Harry Nilsson would be proud.

carli said...

Jan Hooks is the most underrated SNL alum ever--so freaking talented and funny, and it's like she never even existed on the show? Where is her BEST OF DVD? The Sweeney Sisters (Hooks and Nora Dunn) were nothing short of hilarious.

I for one am glad that Horatio Sanz is gone. He stopped being funny years ago and has been "calling it in" for some time now. I also think they should have gotten rid of Kenan Thompson--his performances, even his Cosby--reek of the kind of overacting and immaturity typical of his Nickelodeon pedigree. Finesse Mitchell was a much stronger actor who never gained any footing. Parnell, eh, I can't remember anything he did other than Lazy Sunday, so I guess it's no big loss that he's gone.

Now, if we can only get rid of Seth "nod, nod, wink, wink, isn't what I'm doing funny" off the show, or at least out of the head writer's chair. The guy simply doesn't have it.

Kristi said...

Lots of great ones posted here!

The one I probably quote most often after "Jane, you ignornat, misguided slut" is from the first one that Giuliani hosted. He was reading words for a spelling bee and it was Mary Katherine Gallagher's turn. The word was "syzygy." When she asks for the word's usage in a sentence, he replies, "Sure. Your spelling bee word is 'syzygy'." :D He was a great host.

I adored Phil Hartman and was shocked when he was killed. No one can do impersonations like he did. I haven't really watched it much since then.

Some channel (E! I think?) had a top 100 SNL moments show the other night which was very good.

Karnov said...

Needs more cowbell...

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