Each month when we have our Uproxx writer meetings on Fire Island, we always remember to go over the cardinal rules of blogging. Clearly, our first rule is “Thou shalt be handsome” and after that it’s sort of a crapshoot. But somewhere in the list of rules is our vow to not talk about politics, mainly because we’re all registered members of the United States Pirate Party, but also because it’s just more of a hassle than it’s worth. And yet, as we steer clear of incessant and arrogant debates, I am here today with a far more polarizing topic than any stupid political ideology… Saturday Night Live.
As far back as I can remember, I have been addicted to SNL. The show has had its great years, its terrible years, and flat out fiasco years (I’m looking at you, 1994!), but it has somehow maintained its stranglehold on the world of network sketch comedy. Calling it an addiction for me is an understatement. I’m utterly obsessed with the show, having seen every episode at least twice, and possessing a ridiculous knowledge of the show’s most obsolete details, dating back to the first season. And despite all of this, I think the show is regularly… less than quality, to be polite, and that of course breaks my heart.
I’ve often told my celebrity girlfriend Rachel Bilson that my dream job is to be a writer for SNL. I would drop everything in a heartbeat to move to New York City and become a member of the show’s creative process. I would probably slap my own mom if Lorne Michaels asked me to. I’ve read plenty about how the show operates, how stressful it is and how taxing the creative process is on the staff, but let’s face it – it ain’t working. I think Michaels is a brilliant man. After all, he gave us Kids in the Hall, which is the greatest sketch comedy show of all-time and I dare you to argue that. To Michaels’s testament, SNL became so terrible after he left before season six that he had to come back and save it after season 10, because it was as close as it ever would be to cancellation. So many people still believe that the show should be killed, and I ask, Why?
By itself the show is a brilliant idea. It’s a rescue from weekday monotony, and it’s an incredible way for us to deal with the problems of politics and the insanity of pop culture. It has become so relevant that it has played an enormous role in presidential elections. It has given us superstars like Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler and the greatest man who has ever lived, Bill Murray. So why destroy it? So a show like MAD TV can take its place? Please, I’d rather have my genitals electrocuted while I listen to Justin Bieber. SNL is an institution, but like many institutions it needs to be preserved and maintained by capable people. Right now, the lunatics are running the asylum, and the show suffers for it.
This past Saturday, the show kicked off its 36th season with cast alum Amy Poehler as the host and the boobtastic Katy Perry as the musical guest. The show was formulaic, in that it started off strong, peaked at Weekend Update and then fizzled out with a few dud sketches. Using the season premiere, I am going to outline 10 ways in which SNL could return to glory and once again capture the essence of American sketch comedy brilliance.