Saturday, August 28, 2010

SNL: The Good Old Days - Volume 1

I became a fan of Saturday Night Live at a very early age. I can remember watching two shows with my parents as a very little kid: China Beach and Saturday Night Live. Not sure that I really understood what I was watching in China Beach, but I know I sure did laugh a lot at the early ‘90s cast of SNL. *queue the “I Love the ‘90s” theme song*

The early ‘90s cast was so clutch that you couldn’t not get hooked. They really ushered in a new generation of comedians after the original late ‘70s cast established the show. It’s kind of hard to follow up comedic legends like John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase (slightly more than one season) and the lovely Gilda Radner. But SNL kept at it, bringing in fresh new talent from all over the nation decade after decade. In the early ‘80s they introduced a young kid with no experience named Eddie Murphy. Then they brought in Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jim Belushi and Billy Crystal and Martin Short.

Late ‘80s SNL introduced us to Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Robert Downey Jr., Dennis Miller, Kevin Nealon, and Ben Stiller (one season). Of course I’m omitting many talented people, but look at those names. LOOK at those names! SNL jump-started many famous comedic actors’ careers. How awesome would it be to know you did that with a show you wrote/produced?

And then there’s the beloved early ‘90s cast that I love, that hooked me and my good friend Matt into a show that would mold our personalities and lives more than we’ll ever know. They brought in Chris Farley. Tim Meadows. Chris Rock. Adam Sandler. (Yes, I’m putting periods after each FREAKING INCREDIBLE COMEDIAN to emphasize their legendariness.) And Rob Schneider, David Spade, Norm Macdonald, Jay Mohr, Sarah Silverman, Janeane Garofalo and Molly Shannon.

The late ‘90s cast kept us glued to the sets on Saturday nights as well, even when there were great pasture parties happening. That really means a lot when high schoolers are passing up parties to watch your show—the writers should be honored! They introduced Jim Breuer, Will Ferrell, Darrell Hammond, Cheri Oteri, Chris Kattan, Colin Quinn, Tracy Morgan, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Parnell, and Horatio Sanz. This is also when the adorable Tina Fey became a writer for the show. Coincidence that the show was amazing and she was the head writer? I don’t think so. They didn’t just give her her own show (see 30 Rock) for those dimples—the girl has got skillz. Yes, with a Z.

In the early 2000’s (what the hell do we call this time period…I can’t say early oh-oh’s—it just sounds weird), Tina Fey made it into the cast while also continuing to write for the show. I guess you can do that when you’re the head writer. Amy Poehler arrived soon after and the next few years are when I started to lose interest because the show stopped churning out quality acts. (I was also in college at the time, so I definitely wasn’t staying in on a Saturday night to watch SNL!) But I mean c’mon…just counting the ones above that I liked, SNL spit out 40 comedians. Some of them didn’t pan out to do much else, other than SNL skit-inspired movies, but most of them used the show’s success as a spring board for bigger and grander things.

So enough yacking… I’m starting a new series to cover my favorite SNL skits. I’ll post five videos every now and then of skits that drove me to tears with raucous laughter. Skits that Matt and I would recite verbatim whenever we wanted. All the time. So much so that my fondest memory of his mother is of her smiling while rolling her eyes and then saying “I don’t get it…” because she hadn’t seen the show. Skits that influenced my purchases of every single Adam Sandler CD. So without further ado, I present my first selections in no particular order or ranking.

CELEBRITY JEOPARDY: This ongoing skit was the basis behind me buying a t-shirt that says "THE PEN IS MIGHTIER" that no one seems to understand but me and maybe 3 other people. Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery kills me EVERY time—his banter with Will Ferrell (as Alex Trebek) is and will always be timelessly hilarious. Easily my most favorite SNL series skits of all time!

NADEEN and SIMMA DOWN NA: To me, this is one of Cheri Oteri’s funniest skits. (Please pardon the video quality; a lot of these videos are hard to find online and what’s out there on the “world wide interweb” isn’t all that great for some of the lesser-known skits.) I’m not even sure where her character is from to determine her accent's origin, but anytime I hear the singer Donna Summer’s name mentioned I think of Cheri Oteri reversing the name and stretching it out to “Summa Don-na” and shooing Ana Gasteyer out of Burger Castle.

NICK BURNS: One of Jimmy Fallon's finest characters, everyone can relate to Nick Burns. I can think of one IT guy at my job who answers the help line. He’s just like this guy, only a tenth as smart, and my friends who I work with will immediately know who I’m referring to. Either way, I love how Fallon rocks this character. MOOOVE!

CAJUN MAN: Ahhhhhhhhhh, Cajun Man. You provided Matt and I with so much in high school. We absolutely wore this skit out. Day in and day out. We would incorporate the Cajun accent into everything! "Jim Morrison" "Defecation" "Melon!" "Meh, rejection" "Lesbian!" "Intuition" hahaha I'm cracking up just writing this. "KEVIN NEALON!"

SCHWEDDY BALLS: One of my two favorite, incredibly hilarious, all-time favorite Alec Baldwin (guest host appearance) skits. His cool, calm demeanor was spot-on for his character’s radio voice. I love that he’s getting so much love and praise for 30 Rock, because the guy is truly talented. Even with his small, but famous, role in Glengarry Glen Ross, you knew this guy was going to do great things with his career.

No comments:

Post a Comment