Saturday Night Live

‘Live From New York!’ Documentary Is More Than Just a History of ‘SNL’

When the Tribeca Film Festival announced this year’s opening night selection was Live From New York!, a documentary about the history and impact of Saturday Night Live, your correspondent felt a mixture of excitement and concern — the former as a longtime fan and aficionado of the show, the latter as someone who, as a longtime fan and aficionado of the show, wonders what the hell’s left to say about it. We are, after all, celebrating (and, it seems, celebrating and celebrating and celebrating) the 40th year of its existence, and between the anniversary pieces and books and that ragtag mess of an SNL 40 special, we’re flirting with a serious case of burnout, and the anniversary itself is still several months away. So it’s a relief to report that Live From New York!, which kicked off the fest last night with a raucous screening at New York’s Beacon Theatre, isn’t just a rehash of the same old stories and clips. It’s a stylish and entertaining examination of why it’s still on the air, 40 years on — and why we’re still talking about it. … Read More

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The Weirdest Vintage ‘SNL’ Musical Performances

Contemporary Saturday Night Live doesn’t always have its finger on the pulse the way it should. It’s done a few things wrong, like the ongoing race debacle that creators tried to make right with the recent hiring of more diverse cast members. SNL also isn’t nearly as edgy as it used to be, during the days of Eddie Murphy and John Belushi. But Studio 8H has, at least, always featured a wide variety of musical guests — some stranger than others. Dangerous Minds dug up a video of hardcore band Fear playing the SNL stage in 1981. Inspired by Lee Ving and company’s wild performance, we rounded up some other weird vintage musical… Read More

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The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Taraji P. Henson

If you’re a fan of Fox’s hip hop soap opera Empire, then you’re quite familiar with this week’s guest — and probably anticipating a slew of Cookie Lyon spoofs. Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson has been doing her thing for ages in films like Baby Boy, Hustle & Flow, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Tonight she takes the SNL stage for the first time — and hopefully not the last. Henson has energy to spare, so dig in below for a look at her Studio 8H debut. … Read More

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The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton hasn’t stepped foot on the Studio 8H stage since 1992, but his recent Oscars praise for Birdman compels him to join SNL audiences once more. Keaton has experience portraying a variety of comedic styles, and his timing is on point thanks to his improvisational background. His average-Joe-who-is-slightly-off appeal also gives him an edge with the late-night crowd. See how Keaton’s reunion with SNL went down last night, below. … Read More

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Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig (Maybe) Made a Secret Lifetime Movie, And Then Cancelled It

Presumably anticipating the widespread “Yeah, riiiiiiight” response to breaking such a story on April 1, The Hollywood… Read More

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The Best and Worst of Last Night’s ‘SNL’ with Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson aces everything he does. From college football and professional wrestling, to music videos and blockbuster movies, Johnson’s charismatic personality and competitive drive quickly established him as a cut above the muscled lunkheads in Hollywood. G.I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu once described Johnson as “franchise Viagra” — a nickname that SNL riffed on during the actor’s opening monologue last night. If anyone could use a pick-me-up, it’s Saturday Night Live. See how Johnson’s appearance helped smooth over SNL’s uneven slate, below. … Read More

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‘SNL’s’ Political Comedy Isn’t Too Conservative, It’s Not Conservative — Or Liberal — Enough

Reports of SNL‘s decline are, and always have been, greatly exaggerated; the comedy institution has its ups and downs, but 40 years in, the show remains a reliable source of talent and, more importantly, good sketches. It’s no secret, however, that the show’s political humor isn’t exactly at the top of its game. Of the recent highlights, like Mike O’Brien’s short films or Kate McKinnon’s Justin Bieber impression, few originated in the broadcast’s opening minutes, SNL‘s traditional home for topical bits. And in a recent interview with Grantland’s Bill Simmons, alum Horatio Sanz offered his theory as to why. … Read More

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Why Tina Fey’s Racial Humor Is So Controversial

One of the side effects of Netflix’s full-season release model is that it allows the viewing public, including critics, to evaluate shows at hyper-speed. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the cult-member-to-New-Yorker transition comedy starring Ellie Kemper, has only been on the streaming service for a week, and the dialogue has already shifted from initial impressions, almost entirely favorable, to more considered meditations, many of which are… less favorable. And most of those broader commentaries on the show have focused on a subject that, for better or for worse, has a long history in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘s co-creator, co-executive producer, and most recognizable name Tina Fey’s creative output:… Read More

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How Kate McKinnon’s Bonkers ‘SNL’ Impression Could Actually Help Hillary Clinton

Move over, Amy Poehler. Kate McKinnon’s Saturday Night Live cold open as an extremely ambitious Hillary Clinton, a presidential wannabe making only a passing attempt to downplay her intentions, has got the chattering classes talking about how the impression might hurt her chances in 2016 — should she decide to run, of course. But an expert on gender, stereotyping, and political campaigns explains that McKinnon’s portrayal might actually help… Read More

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