Sunday, February 8, 2009

Saturday Night Dead

Why, oh, why won't NBC let SNL die a distinguished death? Why must they continue to air the show when it hasn't been funny since Will Ferrell left (and it was even hit-or-miss back then)? SNL's sad excuse for comedy is so unbearable, it actually makes me uncomfortable to watch. My husband DVRs the show and we usually try to watch it on Sundays. What should take 90 minutes (well, more like 70 minus the commercials) instead takes about 20 since we end up fast-forwarding most of the skits after their first minute or two of unfunniness ensues. I want to laugh. I really do. But instead I just find myself shaking my head in either disappointment or confusion.

Okay, so Tina Fey's Sarah Palin impression was dead on and pretty comical...but she's not even a cast member or writer for SNL anymore, having moved on to a fictional version of her alma mater which is way funnier than the original.

I mean, has it gotten so bad over at 30 Rock that they can't book anyone better than Bradley Cooper? The virtually unknown actor hosted this weekend's show and had to introduce himself to the audience during his monologue and then rattle off the films in which he's been, in case they didn't recognize his name. Even the featured musical act was a group I'd never heard of and, after suffering through a few minutes of their cacophonous performances, am glad I hadn't.

I know SNL is somewhat of an American institution, one that we all grew up watching when our parents or generous babysitters would let us stay up late. That amazingly talented cast of Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Chevy Chase and John Belushi has given me hours of pleasure over the years. The season with Billy Crystal, Eddie Murphy, Martin Short, and Christopher Guest was a great one too. Or how about Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Chris Rock, Jon Lovitz, Phil Hartman, Adam Sandler and Chris Farley -- what a group! There hasn't been a skit as funny as The Church Lady, Wayne's World or Coffee Talk in years. Even the more recent cast of Will Ferrell, Cheri Oteri, Tracy Morgan, Chris Kattan and Molly Shannon offered up its share of guffaws. But the current cast and writing leaves so much to be desired. Okay, so Lazy Sunday was cute but I think it went to Andy Samberg's head, letting him think that every SNL Digital short he made since would be as good...or good at all. The show has gotten juvenile, derivative and simply unfunny.

There have been other American institutions that have gone by the wayside, including Woolworth's, Life magazine and Seinfeld. The latter ended when it was still on top. It didn't wait until the show deteriorated into a sad, unwatchable mess. NBC should look at its own history and pull the plug on SNL before it's really too late and all of America finds a more entertaining way to spend its Saturday nights.

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