“The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30.”
– Lorne Michaels
If you listen to the podcasts, and/or read this blog, you know that my definition of “geeky” has pretty much zero confines. I’ve always asserted that “everyone is a geek for something”, and I think that we’re better off as a subculture if we try to embrace that, rather than practicing restrictive acceptance.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE recently celebrated its 40th anniversary by dominating NBC’s programming schedule for a total of four-and-a-half hours on a Sunday night, offering up a star-studded retrospective, complete with a red carpet preshow. The end result was, at least for me, a well-oiled look back at a show that I have literally been watching my entire life.
Things are a bit hectic around the Geek Nation HQ these days, not least of all for yours truly, so I just haven’t had the time to put together a proper SNL-themed special. It’s a topic that I’ve wanted to tackle for some time, perhaps as an episode of Special Ops, but where do you start? We’re talking about a small army of cast members, a roster of hosts and musical guests that ranges from impressively independent to head-scratchingly mainstream, and a 40-year history of characters, catchphrases, and timeless comedy routines. I’m a disciple of the show, and my love extends to books, documentaries, and pretty much any other apocryphal accounts that I can get my hands on. It’s definitely a super-geeky fascination for me.
I’m also the fan that still tunes in every Saturday night (or via DVR if I can’t be home), and while I must concede that the show doesn’t make me laugh as regularly as it once did, I’m also smart enough to know that my time as a member of the target audience has long since passed. Still, an entertainment variety show that has lasted this long, and left its imitators in the dust along the way, deserves my respect and attention.
The Lorne Michaels quote that I shared at the start of today’s blog is pretty much my mantra for what we do on our own shows. I came up in a serious high school theater program, and we were trained to be prepared for everything…but ready for anything. The main podcast show is fairly well planned in advance, but we still fly by the seat of our collective pants; Special Ops, meanwhile, is often an improvised rocket ride to oblivion, firing up the engines and hoping we stick some kind of safe landing.
I suppose there’s still time for me to put together an SNL special podcast; after all, it will be the 40th anniversary throughout the year 2015. In the meantime, I’m going to keep my seat as a member of the home audience, and enjoy laughing like a maniac at the older sketches that are available on best-of DVDs, posted online, or viewable via the new SNL app for your mobile device. Even if you’re not a current viewer, I’m pretty sure you have a favorite SNL sketch that still makes you laugh. In my opinion, that’s cause enough to celebrate.