Saturday Night Live Looks Back at 40 Years


40 years and over 700 Saturday nights later, the witty sketch-based comedy show remains true to its original intent: to make people laugh. This reunion show was a nostalgic look back at the program that spawned countless movies, helped turn unknown comedians into icons, and sparked catch phrases that became a part of the country’s lexicon.
As can be expected, the three and a half hour program featured many fun moments. Among the most memorable highlights were Bradley Cooper and Betty’s White unexpected kiss, Maya Rudolph’s spot-on impression of Beyonce, and Jerry Seinfeld’s Q&A with the audience. Another great moment from the show was a digital short that featured past SNL favorites Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler. Blatantly stealing the melody from Tina Turner’s “Simply The Best”, Samberg and Sandler performed a song they titled “That’s When You Break”, which paid tribute to the moments where performers break character and cannot help but laugh during while live on air. This satirical humor is typical of SNL and was a catchy addition to the show.
One of SNL’s strengths has been how it pairs two gifted people whose talent gets even stronger when they feed off each other. Examples have ranged from Aykroyd and Belushi to Fallon and Timberlake. Arguably, the most entertaining moment of the night was the latter’s compilation of catch phrases from SNL’s history. Fallon and Timberlake referenced everything from the Californians to the infamous “It Needs More Cowbell” sketch.  As always, they did not let viewers down and proved that they are a dynamic duo. “I’ve never watched SNL before, but I thought the episode was funny,” said senior Rachel Freeman. “I enjoyed watching [Fallon and Timberlake’s] rap because it was comical and well done.”
Because many sketches were repetitions of ones that have been popular over the years, the audience felt a sense of familiarity. Although some of the more recent skits were known to all, some of the references probably went over the heads of younger fans, such as Bill Murray’s comment about Generalissimo Francisco Franco still being dead. Fortunately, most sketches such as Weekend Update have been so consistent over the years that all viewers recognized its humor. This particular part of the show has been included in Saturday night since the beginning and has featured 43 hosts. Three of the more popular hosts, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Jane Curtin, provided a humourous look at the history of this sketch.
In veteran SNL host Steve Martin’s monologue, he stated, “Tonight is like an enormous high school reunion.” A high school reunion, but one that spans 40 years of classes. Simply looking at the audience is almost as entertaining as the show. The crowd included former cast members, hosts, and other guest stars and spanned entire generations of the entertainment industry. One of the funniest sketches was the perennial favorite satire of Jeopardy. Cast members provided spot on impersonations of celebrities such as Sean Connery, Justin Bieber, and Tony Bennett. The varying ages of the impersonated celebrities would appeal to viewers at different ages of the generational spectrum.
While some sketches were a bit too long and some fell flat, the audience appreciated re-living many of the show’s most famous characters and skits. The appearances of SNL alumni such as Chevy Chase and Eddie Murphy did not live up to expectations, but the audience seemed to enjoy their participation after their long absences from the show. Additionally, three and a half hours, the show was too lengthy and could have been streamlined in order to avoid losing momentum.

Ultimately, this was the kind of show that comes along once in a lifetime and was well worth watching. It truly reminded viewers that no matter how tired they are on a Saturday night, SNL is always worth fighting to stay awake for.