Alec Baldwin in his legendary turn as Donald Trump
You might never have heard of Saturday Night Live, you might never have seen Saturday Night Live but you know a lot more about it and the stars it’s made than you think you do.
Yet it has been going since 1975 and now they’re on series 46 and at last we can get to see it in its intended form if you have Sky Comedy. Only since the beginning of this year are we able to see the show as they watch it in the US and it’s not to be missed.
Long time coming
If you head over to the SNL YouTube channel you are in for a treat. The show is perfectly built for the platform as most of the sketches are about five or six minutes long meaning you can watch a few when you get a moment of downtime without dedicating an hour to a whole show.
The undisputed queen of the SNL sketch can only be Kristen Wiig. She may only have come to your attention as the writer and star of breakout comedy Bridesmaids. Be prepared to appreciate a whole body of work when you discover just how funny a person can be. Take a moment to check out just what a comedy genius is all about.
Gratuitous pic of Jason Momoa who guest hosted once
One of the services that SNL provides is to shine a comedy light on American politics. As you can imagine they’ve had quite a lot of fodder over the years but as life started to imitate art, their response took on a whole new level.
You may have come across Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump impression which began during Trump’s successful bid for the White House back in 2016. The now classic sketches lampooning the debates against Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton are a thing of legend on the comedy circuit.
After Donald Trump ‘won’ the election, McKinnon’s performance of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ instilled so much national pathos at a system gone wrong, it was a manifestation of what so many people were thinking. A comedy show transcended into a mass emotion that a nation was feeling, which is the beauty of the show itself.
SNL and Bridesmaids co-stars Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig
Baldwin is back this week with a comedy take on the already chaotic first presidential debate with Joe Biden being played by none other than Jim Carrey. The skits come at the beginning of each show in a 'cold open', all of which can be found on the SNL YouTube channel with views running into the tens of millions for each one. The show almost sees it as its duty to hold politicians to account and there's no better fodder than the president himself.
Girls on top
SNL has always had the ability to highlight incredible female comedy talent. One such powerhouse is another Bridesmaids alumni, Melissa McCarthy. Her time on the show overlapped with Kristen Wiig’s and they have appeared together on a number of classic sketches that can only be viewed to be appreciated. McCarthy has ventured back as a guest on numerous occasions and smashed it out the park each and every time.
Of course, it’s all about what time you started watching a show that you think of as their hey day. The cast over the last 5 years has been so strong in female comedy talent with the likes of Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, the aforementioned Kate McKinnon and Vanessa Byer bringing some intrinsic performances that just get better the more you watch them.
Harry proved he was a quadruple threat when he hosted the show
Another huge draw with SNL is the quality of the guests. Over the years they’ve pretty much had every massive star you can think of, often multiple times. There are far too many to mention here but in recent years they’ve had the likes of Jason Momoa, Eddie Murphy, Charlize Theron, Lady Gaga and even our very own Harry Styles, Idris Elba, Emily Blunt and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The list is honestly mind-blowing and seeing as the show’s been going since the eighties, there are some gems if you go looking for them.
Years to catch up on
That’s the joy of just discovering SNL, you can end up hours into a comedy rabbit hole obsessing over a random actor’s recurring character and loving every minute. There’s so much comedy in there that you’d be hard pushed to not find something that amuses you.
So now at last we get to see the whole show as it’s meant to be seen, as one long sketch show. We are no stranger to sketch shows over here but they tend to go off the boil and certainly don’t last anything like how long SNL has been going. Take your Victoria Wood or your French and Saunders and you’ll see that even though the Brits love a sketch or too, there isn’t the longevity that SNL has.