First off, it's a really weird thing to realize that a TV show is as old as you are. That's what I just discovered when I was reading up on the new season of Saturday Night Live and saw that it's in its 34th year. Yikes.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised -- I have very vivid memories of SNL from my childhood. My parents loved the show, and my aunts and uncles, who were all teenagers when I was born, kept me up on all of the recurring sketches. They had Mr. Bill figures and dressed up as The Coneheads for Halloween. Once I moved to Chicago, I made sure to take them all to visit The Billy Goat Tavern, the inspiration behind the infamous Cheezbuger, Cheezbuger skit.
When I was in high school, my friends and I went through a "vintage SNL" kick where we sought out all of the seasons with Eddie Murphy because we loved his Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood, Gumby, Buckwheat and Velvet Jones skits. We had them memorized word-for-word. Ah, life was so simple then.
My teenage years also were a high point for the then-current SNL cast, too. The Church Lady, Hans and Franz, Wayne's World... I could go on and on.
Somewhere along the way, though, SNL lost its magic for me. Yes, I always tuned in here and there during my college, post-college and grad school years, but with the exception of Will Ferrell, there wasn't anyone in the cast that was a huge draw for me.
I still pretty much feel that way, except that I have really loved some of the digital shorts that have emerged from the past few seasons. Iran So Far still makes me die laughing, as does Andy Punches (that one took a while to grow on me) and Lazy Sunday. And despite the fact that SNL hasn't been at the top of my Favorite Shows List for a while, that doesn't mean I wasn't insanely jealous when my friend Mark got to visit the set and be a part of the "live audience" last season.
So... I absolutely will be Tivoing the Saturday Night Live premiere tomorrow night. With all of the election chaos that is bombarding us in the media every single second, if SNL can't spin it all into comedic gold, then there's no hope left for the show. I already know that Michael Phelps is going to be pretty bad as the host -- judging from his performance at the VMAs last weekend -- the boy can't read a line to save his life. Even the promos he's in are pretty weak. But I think the cast will have the ability to work around him.
Then there's all of the buzz about a "surprise guest." I'm sure that won't be the end of the surprise guests -- before November 4th at least. Both Obama and McCain were on the show last year, so if Obama's on tonight, I'm expecting that McCain will rise (sink?) to the occasion in the near future as well.
Until we can appropriately judge this season of SNL, I leave you with the best, in my opinion, SNL skit of all time: Choppin' Broccoli.
Have a great weekend, and to all of you out in Hurricane Ike's path, please be careful and stay safe.