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Live From New York, It’s The Ghost of a Once Funny Programme…

Tonight, I watched this weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live, because Hugh Laurie was hosting and I love Hugh Laurie. I genuinely believe he could make just about anything funny, so I figured, how bad can it be?

Turns out, it can be pretty bad. Laurie himself was good in several sketches, but….I’d known it had gone downhill, but I wasn’t aware it had reached the bottom of the hill, careered off into a deep ravine, and was lying in a flaming wreck at the bottom of mineshaft.

In the immortal words of Opus the Penguin, it “brought the word ‘BAD’ to new levels of badness. Bad acting. Bad effects. Bad everything. [It] just oozed rottenness from every bad scene…Simply bad beyond all infinite dimensions of possible badness. Well, maybe not that bad. But Lord, it wasn’t good.”

I think I need to get me some *old* SNL on DVD. kitanzi says she’s never really understood what the fuss was about, because she never has seen it when it was exceptionally good.

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17 Comments

  1. The really sad part is the “best of” DVDs (with the exception of the Ackroyd one) all seem to have two good sketches and six so-so ones. And at least one lame one. Per disc.

    It’s sad when you can’t find an hour’s worth of funny from the full archives.

  2. Ah, pick up some from the Eddie Murphy Buckwheat/James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub days. Those were good 🙂

  3. I remember doing the same thing a few years ago, when Steve Martin was hosting the show. I don’t remember much of the show (I’ve either blocked it, or it really just wasn’t that memorable), and the only part that I do remember is a bit where Martin is running around backstage doing something with a look on his face of “Oh my god… I can’t think of ANYTHING funny to do with this. Where’s the door?”

    I’ve been told it’s gotten better again since then. But I haven’t bothered to watch since then. I really miss the days of Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscopo, Lorraine Newman, Mary Gross, and that era. And the writers that were able to give them such bits as “Buckwheat Shot!”

  4. It gets better and worse in waves, but never seems to get back to as good as the original couple of years. Could be that it has to do with being allowed to experiment, then; could be talent; could be they’ve run out of prime material.

    One thing’s been true even since Day 1, though: the show’s great weakness has always been that they take five minutes of great comedy and try to stretch it to fifteen minutes.

    • My feeling is that no comedy show should be allowed to run for more than two seasons without a break. Almost all of the ones which start off good get through a couple of seasons and then go downhill, usually into smut, innuendo and worse. Sometimes they recover, more often they end up wallowing in the muck until someone puts them out of our misery. They need at least a year’s break to re-evaluate, sit down and look at the material and decide whether they actually have enough funny material to continue.

      Some of the comic strips are the same. Some of the wiser authors notice when they are getting towards the limit and get out (or take a break) before they get there, but some don’t.

    • One thing’s been true even since Day 1, though: the show’s great weakness has always been that they take five minutes of great comedy and try to stretch it to fifteen minutes.

      Yeah, I’ve commented on that before. The news segment was very poorly paced as well, not in a “this is too long” sense as much as a “too many awkward pauses” sense.

  5. Two points: 1) you need never watch it again (the new shite) and 2) get some Not Ready For PrimeTime stuff on DVD and soak in it till your brain and eyeballs get pruny from it

  6. I’ve been calling it Saturday Night Comatose for a long time. It went off the rails when they stopped hiring sketch comedians and started going to standups.

  7. Honestly? I watched the whole episode, and enjoyed (at lest mildly) most of it, which is far more than I’ve managed with other episodes in the last several years. usually they have some painfully-slapstick element (or joke that comes off as mean-spirted instead of funny — laughing AT instead of WITH) that makes me turn them off in disgust.

    Also? Hugh Laurie has, clearly, never seen a single episode of Python in his life. :-> *vbg* *runs away, runs aWAAAAAY!*

  8. This makes me sad. I taped this show for the same reason you did…now I’m afraid to watch it!

    • Humour is a very variable thing. You may enjoy it more than I did. And even for all my moaning, there were a few funny bits scattered throughout.

  9. I meant to watch at least the opening monologue, for Hugh if nothing else, but I guess I’m now glad I didn’t. Sigh. I thought he’d be funny reading the phone book, let alone doing things that were supposed to be funny.

    OTOH, tonight House is back!!!

  10. Sadly, much of the Really Great old SNL stuff was playing off then-current social/political stuff, and hasn’t aged well.

  11. When I heard they’d not renewed Horatio Sanz’s and two other players’ contracts without telling them, I knew it was A Bad Sign.

    I agree with the folks who say SNL comes and goes in waves. The reason no cast has ever quite achieved the level of “funny” of the original cast is those folks had spent several years working together before SNL as cast members of the National Lampoon and in Second City troupes.

    Since then, they’ve mostly been bringing in the occasional Second City player and a lot of standup comics, some of whom are better actors than others. Still, because these folks hadn’t worked together as an ensemble, they don’t have the teamwork-thing quite down.

  12. Totally irrelevant, but I haven’t been able to get onto Filkhaven the last few days. What’s the story with that?

    • Apparently, the zombies got into our domain registrar’s office and ate their brains. is going over in the morning with a shotgun.

      Meanwhile, use irc.gafilk.org as an alternate server.

  13. You forgot the part where the bottom of the mineshaft is about to collapse. ;(

    For the clever, cool, funny SNL feel, watch “Studio 60”; it rocks! both individually & ensemble-y.

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