I made the sad mistake of staying awake to watch Saturday Night Live this past Saturday. Realizing that I was losing an hour of sleep because of daylight’s savings time, I nevertheless spent 90 minutes blankly staring at a television screen.
As a long- time viewer of the show, I know two things about it. First, they usually had cutting edge musical guests at times. Second, the show generally went downhill after Weekend Update. Unfortunately, this show never made it up any hill for it to go down. Maybe it is the cast, maybe it is the writers, or maybe its a combination, but everything seemed not only lacking in humor, but mean-spirited at times.
In fact, let’s take the case of their news parody- Weekend Update. The current occupants of the anchor chairs are Colin Jost and Michael Che, neither of which are funny. Che, in particular, is not funny and leads one to believe that he is the beneficiary of some SNL affirmative action program. Seriously- he is the first black co-anchor of the news parody. He looks as if he is continuously high, occasionally slurs his words and, in an effort to get cheap laughs, often resorts to a common strategy of unfunny comedians- he laughs at his own jokes to prompt the audience to laugh along.
In previous years, on occasion the actors would spontaneously break down into laughter at their own jokes. A great example would be the episode with Lindsay Lohan where the comments of the Debbie Downer character led to a complete breakdown of the scene. Its funny when it happens spontaneously, not every week with Che.
I hear repeatedly how talented the actors/comedians are. Again, with the possible exception of Kate MacKinnon who takes on various roles and possibly Cecily Strong who is under-used, these characters are lacking. Leslie Jones is not funny. I’ve heard from people that her stand up act is funny so I checked one out on YouTube. That was a waste of another 6 minutes of my time. Again, not funny.
I don’t agree with Donald Trump on a plethora of things and I believe the man needs to silence his Twitter account. But when he Tweets out that the show is not funny, he has a legitimate point. In the past, they made fun of Presidents and public figures, but this cast and writers seem to veer towards the mean-spirited to get cheap laughs and nothing is off the table.
One is left with no conclusion other than they write their skits for a liberal elite East/West Coast audience and no one else. It is less a comedy skit show and more a 90-minute advertisement for the Democratic Party- just a longer version of Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal.
Lorne Michaels needs to go back to the drawing board at the conclusion of this season and keep perhaps three cast members- MacKinnon, Cecily Strong and Keenan Thompson. The rest are not ready not only for the 11:30 PM EST time slot, but also not for any other spot. Other than the Alec Baldwin character playing Trump- a role that obviously went to Baldwin’s thick skull- this entire season has been horrible.
As stated earlier, we all know that SNL tailed off and sucked after Weekend Update in the past and most people stayed awake to 1:00 only to see the second song performed by the musical guest (if even they were good) in the past. Today, anything after the cold opening is a waste of one’s time. They stole 90 minutes of my life on a night I lost an hour of sleep. Such are the depths to which this “comedy” show have sunk.