Here’s a skit that was cut from this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” hosted by Tina Fey. A supposed tribute to great women writers, it takes a simple turn and produces more laughs in two and a half minutes than any other sketch that made it to air.
Now, I don’t pretend to know all the inner workings for “SNL.” It’s entirely possible another sketch ran long and this got cut not because it wasn’t good enough, but because it’s so short. Nevertheless, it’s emblematic of one of “SNL’s” biggest flaws: a tendency toward big, six-minutes sketches that draw out and repeat jokes. In contrast, the economy of “Great Women Writers” is remarkable: simple premise, no costumes, just Tina Fey talking to the camera and a Bill Hader voiceover that fires off a series of punch lines. By the time that one angle is exhausted, the skit’s over.
Memo to “SNL” writers: keep things short and sharp like this, and people won’t complain about how the show used to be better.