SNL 40 – An Incredible Trip Down Memory Lane

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I’ve been watching Saturday Night Live for as long as I can remember.  In all honesty, probably longer than my parents should have allowed me to.  Sunday’s three and a half hour spectacle was something I have been looking forward to for months.  To have a television show evolve over 40 years, and still stay relevant is quite the accomplishment.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect on the show, but when I read that it was going to be 3.5 hours, I knew I was going to be in for something special.

I honestly can’t think of another situation, in television, sports, or entertainment that could something like this could be accurately compared to.  You can people from the first cast in 1975 performing along side current cast members in skits and it just worked.  Its hard to even comprehend how difficult it must have been to write and produce not only a show of that length, but of that star power.  Afterwards it was said that Lorne Michaels continued to call all the shots, even on the 40th anniversary episode.  Even after 40 years, it seems as if Michaels is becoming more powerful with age.  He helped create the sitcom 30 Rock, and now produces both Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show, and Seth Myers on his Late Show as well, with each of those men being SNL alums.

The special aired on Sunday, February 15.  It went up against the NBA All-Star game, as well as The Walking Dead, was over three hours in duration, and still manage to draw in 23 million viewers, a truly staggering number.  There are many theories out there as to the reason behind the rating.  I like the thought of multi generations of people being able to sit in front of the television and remembering characters that were part of their youth.

As I’ve said in previous posts, my favorite part of Saturday Night Live has always been the music.  It seems as if SNL always seems to catch musical acts at the perfect time when they are just about to take off.  I’m sure it is more than difficult to try to cover 40 years of a television show, but I thought they did themselves an injustice by not showing some of the seminal music performances.  Whether it was the Rolling Stones in the 1970s, Nirvana, Sinead O’Connor, or even the Ashley Simpson lip syncing debacle, music has played such an integral role in the show that it would have been great if there was a bit more focus on it.

The only other downside of the evening was what took place with the long awaited return of Eddie Murphy to the SNL stage.  Eddies hasn’t been back in over 30 years, and when he agreed to be on the show, he was the most anticipated return.  Nobody knew if he would do one of his old characters, some standup jokes, or what.  After an amazing introduction by Chris Rock, Eddie seemed uncomfortable, said a few ‘thanks’, and quickly went to commercial.  News ended up breaking Thursday that Eddie was offered to play the Bill Cosby role in the ‘Celebrity Jeopardy’ skit.  This would have absolutely brought the house down, but you have to give some credit to Murphy, as he was quoted that he “didn’t want to kick a man while he was down”.

When it was all said and done, it was amazing show.  Many say the after party was even better.  It could be the best thing to happen to the current staff, as I know I’m hungry to build up new memories with the show in the now, that can maybe be relived at the 50th Anniversary Special.