Assessing SNL’s Mid-Life Crisis

Live, from New York, it's Saturday lite

Good C1 piece today from New York Times comedy critic Jason Zinoman ahead of tonight’s return of Saturday Night Live with host Kevin Hart and musical guest Sia. Starting with an astute lede observation:

There is no more boring complaint than Saturday Night Live used to be funnier.

At this imminent, 40-year anniversary stage, let’s all just move on and accept the fact that SNL can never be as relevant or as cutting edge as it once and several times was. Not just for reasons emanating mainly from within the writer’s room, but also because Twitter, Facebook, Vine, YouTube and many more channels now consistently beat the weekly program to the punch.

Zinoman also rightly notes that if you take a step back and look at the rest of NBC late night (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers), Lorne Michaels had one of his best years ever. The true network funny has just moved to a different set of nights.

Do you agree with the critic’s view that over the last five episodes of 2014, SNL writing improved and the core of new performers started to come together? Read Zinoman’s full take here and when you catch up to tonight’s DVR-ed Hart-Sia shenanigans, just try to enjoy it for the one or two major highlights the digital file will likely deliver.
Update (January 20):
What’s also interesting to me this 2014-15 season is how many of the clear highlights have been Saturday Night Taped: Jim Carrey riffing on McConaughey’s Lincoln ads; Cecily Strong spoofing Serial; and – from this past weekend now – the Bushwick street corner The Wire-style goof and the Justin BieberCalvin Klein send-ups.

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@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.