My wife told me about a conversation she had with her coworkers on friday. One of them was adamant that SNL “hasnt done anything funny in a decade.”
This is a pretty common shitty opinion, so I will kind of break it down into pieces. I will also only use sketches from this season to make my point.
Lets focus in on a few common complaints. I will skip the overall complaint about “not doing anything funny” cause, there are tons of sketches within the last 10 years to refudiate that point. So, instead, I will focus on some common attachments to that.
1. The episodes aren’t as good as they used to be. That is really difficult to judge. SNL does that 6 Days to Air thing where they got to go from nothing to done. And live. Those are alot of factors that can go wrong. But depending upon host and the night, there can be magic. For example
Claire Foy’s episode this season was exceptionally strong. I dont think its anything specific. Just a bit of magic. To that point!
2. SNL only does political stuff now, and none of it is funny
That is as intelligent as Landshark. Whether its just as funny is up to you, but I really like it.
3. Their political stuff isn’t funny
Now that is highly relative. However, I will say one thing. What they have done with Trump hasn’t been as good as it should be. Probably because he’s basically a joke as is. Its difficult to get that like Chevy Chase/Gerald Ford level of interpretation of a real world person. However, SNL can still hit those notes
I think the Kavanaugh hearing sketch is the strongest political sketch of the last season. They managed to hit the note of the meeting, and create this caracture of Brett Kavanaugh that will stick forever. The first supreme court ruling he issues I expect to be about beer.
This sketch also is very silly, and I think thats what really takes the piss out of people. I think little things like using the procecutor as a human shield really makes the sketch sing.
And on THAT note.
4. The recurring characters aren’t funny
I fucking love anytime Moffett and Day show up as Eric and Don Jr. When you build a parody of a character, it has to be this hyper realized thing. Thats the problem with Big Daddy Trump; its basically the real thing. Their Eric and Don Jr is not the real thing but an extension of what everybody thinks they are like based on how they present themsleves in public. Not only is it completely hilarious, but wholesome…somehow. Its amazing.
All of that to say, I think SNL is a shockingly consistent show. It will absolutely have off seasons, casts that don’t necessarily mesh well, and individual sketches/episodes/hosts that dont work at all. But that doesnt mean its worth abandoning. Its an insitution, and I think it has the capability of doing something that is really funny and uniquely SNL. There really isnt anything that hits those same notes. And I will continue to tune in. As I have for the past 20 years.
And not every episode will be legendary hilarity. But some episodes will have stuff like this. And thats good enough for me.