Years later, America is still catching Saturday Night [live] fever- The 37-year-old sketch comedy show is going strong and remains relevant as ever

by MaryEllen Cagnassola
“Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!”
Every Saturday night for more than three decades, this phrase has emanated from television screens across the nation, exciting the senses of weary viewers who stayed up past their bedtimes to tune in to the legendary sketch comedy show, Saturday Night Live.
The program has managed to outlive imitators like MADtv and continues to offer memorable scenes (“more cowbell,” anyone?) while launching the careers of comedy legends such as Will Ferrell and Tina Fey. A distinctly unique blend of sophisticated writing, musical guests, celebrity hosts, and a live audience has resonated with every generation since the show’s debut in 1975.
“Saturday Night Live has a certain level of intelligence behind the humor, and they make a lot of references to current social issues,” said senior Joe McQuoid. “It’s become its own institution.”
   Despite its age, Saturday Night Live maintains its relevancy, manipulating current events into accessible satire and becoming one with evolving pop culture.
Lately, the show’s main sources of comedic inspiration include the presidential primaries, reality shows such as The Real Housewives shows, Fox News pundits and issues like marriage equality and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In years to come, programs will be born and expire regardless of the size of their following, but Saturday Night Live, with its continuous evolution, will no doubt survive.
The 5 Best Things About SNL Right Now
 
Digital shorts:
Modern SNL staple Andy Samberg’s absurd and surreal “digital shorts” have gained enormous popularity, even among non-SNL fans. Installments  such as “I’m on a Boat” and “The Creep,” which Samberg co-wrote with his popular comedy troupe, The Lonely Island, were hugely successful for their sheer irony and celebrity cameos by stars like Nicki Minaj and T-Pain.
“This generation wants to laugh a lot and do so in 36 seconds. The digital shorts accomplish that,” said McQuoid.
Weekend Update:
This news spoof segment just keeps getting better with age. Mock news anchor Seth Meyer’s deadpan delivery keeps in step with his idiosyncratic satirical spin on both obscure and widely publicized stories.
“You can really relate to the material and it almost feels like an inside joke,” said junior Mitch Naveh.
Recurring characters interviewed by Meyer never fail to arouse cheers from the studio audience.  The most popular is Bill Hader’s “Stefon,” a flamboyant, drug-addled city correspondent who ignores Meyer’s requests for wholesome city activities and instead suggests nightclubs with names like “Twice,” where parents and their children can enjoy “screaming babies in Mozart wigs” and see “Furkels” (you know, fat Urkels!)
 Election parodies:    
Obama’s concluding first term means presidential primaries–and some of the best political material on TV. From  Kristen Wiig’s  Michelle Bachmann to Bobby Moynihan’s Newt Gingrich to Jason Sudekis’s Mitt Romney, the cast members cleverly exaggerate the blunders and mannerisms of the most-talked-about politicians of the season.
 
Bill Hader:
The always awesome, scene-stealing Hader has been a fan favorite ever since the show aired his eerily accurate Al Pacino impression six seasons ago. Since then, he has further exhibited his versatility as a performer, skillfully impersonating everyone from political consultant James Carville to veteran movie star Clint Eastwood.  Hader’s goofball, anything-for-a-laugh improvisational style, combined with his remarkable talent for imitating sounds, voices and gesture, puts him among SNL greats Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy and Bill Murray.
 
Commercial parodies:
Commercial parodies have always been an element of SNL, but they’ve become noticeably more creative (and hilarious) over the past few seasons. Take the advertisement “Lil’ Poundcake” for example, in which a playtime doll injects school-age girls with an HPV vaccine over the course of six months and doubles as a best friend until she needs to be disposed of in a hazardous waste bin (SNL’s response to a vetoed Texas bill that would have required preteen girls to receive an HPV vaccine). Another notable one is “Almost Pizza,” a spoof on frozen pizza commercials in which the product appears to be the result of a nuclear accident when it terrorizes a family.
 
As Saturday Night Live continues to change and evolve to fit the times, it effectively becomes more than just a TV show. SNL is an essential novelty of the comedy world, and essential novelties tend to stick around a while.