SNL is Funny (Enough) Again

Lisa Waugh 

I’ve been with Saturday Night Live since day one. Judge me how you will. It’s interesting that people think the show has been consistently crap. It hasn’t. It started out as funky, insider comedy, performance art and grew into the funny-in-spurts live icon people love to pick on.

Land Shark was funny to us… but we might’ve been high

Not a whole bunch of people would find Land Shark (a shark that attacks on land) funny now.

Mostly, older Jimmy Buffett fans will associate it with his Land Shark Lager beer brand… which is referencing the SNL bit which was spoofing Jaws.

I could nerd out on references to stuff but I’m not Seth McFarland and you probably wouldn’t care.

I’ve dipped in for a Samberg film here and there. Tina when she was doing the Palin thing. But it’s only been a drive-by sort of affair.

Recently, I’m drawn back to my old friend. Seems like every Monday, I’m pulling it up on Hulu and watching every spec of it. This is huge for me as my attention span is that of someone my age. I can focus but if I even remotely sense that I’ve seen this before, I’ll bounce like a check to a friend’s Indiegogo project.

What I’m trying to get at is… SNL is funny again. At least it’s funny enough. I’m not going to say that you’re going to implode from mirth but SNL doesn’t suck right now. There’s something kind of cool going on.

If you follow politics and find it all silly, love improv and loosely/hastily scripted comedy and random references to stuff, it’s pretty entertaining.

Recent SNL Highlights:

Louie CK spoofing his own show as Abraham Lincoln
• The coverage of the debates
• Bill Hader in almost every sketch (especially when he cracks up)
• The Californians

I especially love The Californians. The sketch is a cheesy 90s soap opera where all of the characters talk in an exaggerated surfer dude lilt and use directions around Southern California to describe their feelings.

I was on set with a crew I hadn’t work with before and someone started doing some lines from this bit. Turns out, quite a few of us knew it. It was nice to be quoting from SNL again.

There’s been a great run with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Andy Samberg. Even without these heavy hitters, the current cast has some skills. I like Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen (although not as much on Portlandia), Bobby Moynihan, Jay Pharoah (his Obama is better than Armisen’s), Kenan Thompson, Bill Hader and the new girls Cecily Strong (Girl You Don’t Want to Talk to at a Party), Aidy Bryant (Mary Todd Lincoln) Vanessa Bayer, Nasim Pedrad and my favorite, Kate McKinnon. She’s going to blow up.

In last Saturday’s show, there’s a kiss McKinnon exchanges with Louie CK that is so awesomely gross, it’ll go on both comic’s highlight reels. You can see them daring each other to keep going.

CK and Kate McKinnon clean each other’s clocks in “Last Call”

If you strayed from SNL, it might be time to check back in. I know much is expected of entertainment these days but it’s okay if every sketch doesn’t have a hook.

I like that it’s gotten more New Yorky like the old days and therefore more Screw You if You Don’t Get It. That’s always nice.

Yeah, sometimes it falls flat but as a comedy writer, it’s awful damn hard to crank out gems every week, unless you’re on crank and then it’s hit or miss, depending on the grade of the crank. Does anyone do crank anymore?

Bonus: Louie CK’s monologue was a great choice for the first show after Hurricane Sandy. He knows how to talk about it without talking about it.