One of the most fascinating things to me about Saturday Night Live is that the current cast never gets any respect. The original group wasn’t funny until new people came in. And they weren’t funny until the next group, and they weren’t funny until the next one. It’s sad and it’s unfair, and yet I kind of think it’ll never change.
Even so, the reports of the show’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, as this year’s season opener will attest. This was the highest rated episode since their first episode in 2001, which was a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks. Whatever anyone thought of the rest of the episode, undeniably, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler doing Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton respectively was an hysterical opening. Because, let’s face it, the first time you saw Sarah Palin you instinctively thought that she looks like Tina Fey (and she does). Plus, Fey is almost always funny and when she’s paired with Poehler, it’s even better. Just check out the clip:
See, that’s funny. That’s well and truly funny. But, it’s not the only funny thing SNL has done over its 30-plus year existence; it’s not even the only funny thing the show has done in 2008.
Over at UnSpun (where, it is true, I’m also a writer), they have a list ranking the funniest SNL skits of all time. Currently sitting at number one is the land shark skit (“Candygram”), followed closely by the Church Lady (clearly that’s the work of… Satan), and the Palin-Clinton sketch is there too. Here’s the complete list:
See, there’s old stuff there, there’s new stuff there, and almost all of them bring back great memories (and not just for me who was present in the studio for some of the sketches).
SNL, like anything else, has some above average and some below average years. If the opening sketch from this season is any indication, we could be looking at an above average year. I certainly hope we are, I can’t stay up late enough to watch the show anymore, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for the show. There’s something magical and wonderful about Saturday Night Live, and I can’t imagine a television landscape without the show, especially in an election year.