Saturday Night Live & American TV

Saturday Night Live & American TV

Saturday Night Live & American TV

Saturday Night Live & American TV

Synopsis

For over 35 years, Live from New York, it's Saturday Night has greeted late night viewers looking for the best in sketch comedy and popular music. SNL is the variety show that launched the careers of a mass of comedians including Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Adam Sandler, among others. Week after week, SNL has produced unforgettable sketches and provocative political satire, adapting to changing times while staying true to its original vision of performing timely topical humor. With essays that address issues ranging from race and gender to authorship and comedic performance, Saturday Night Live and American TV follows the history of this 36-time Emmy-winning show and its place in the shifting social and media landscape of American television."

Excerpt

Nick Marx, Matt Sienkiewicz, and Ron Becker

As Saturday Night Live opened its thirty-eighth season in the fall of 2012, the program faced yet another in a long history of transitional moments. in one sense, it was a time of enormous promise. With the presidential election taking center stage in popular discourse, snl was primed once again to play a lead role in helping the American public understand and enjoy the spectacle of democracy. Just as impersonations of Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, two George Bushes, Sarah Palin, and a host of other political figures had provided a quadrennial boost to snl’s public profile, there was little doubt that an autumn’s worth of fun at the expense of Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Joe Biden, and Paul Ryan would bring new energy to NBC’s Saturday night. At the same time, however, the 2012 season brought with it tremendous uncertainty. As had happened so often in the show’s history, it would be forced to reinvent itself while simultaneously maintaining decades of tradition.

Gone were two of snl’s brightest lights, Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg. These departures marked more than a loss of star power for Lorne Michaels’s crew. They also put into question the show’s very identity. Over the previous decade snl had rebuilt its brand around two key pillars: an exceptionally strong cast of female comedians and a dynamic engagement with short-form digital comedy. Wiig, the last prominent . . .

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