He’s Scott Towler and you’re not.

My parents still tell me tales of when  “I’m Chevy Chase, and you’re not,” was was practically the national anthem during SNL’s first few years on the air. How there was nothing like it that had ever been broadcast before, and how NBC took a major gamble that turned into a feather in the peacock’s crown (or mane, I guess) for over 30 years . Bred from the world of live and improvised comedy (hence the L in SNL), people like Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Jane Curtain and Dan Akroyd made it look easy. And more often than not, they made it funny too.

It got to the point where kids were growing up watching the show, declaring that SNL was their dream: acting, writing, and goofing off in front of a national audience, which then catapulted you into an even more successful film career. Of all the people I know in comedy today, at least half of them cite SNL as their reason for working in entertainment. The other half of ’em? Not hard to guess: 2 And A Half Men. I kid.

Maybe They Need Better Weed?

 

So then what the funk happened? Well, Seth Meyers for one. As head writer, he’s successfully turned this would-be anthem of our youth into two things: an opening political sketch that’s both long and boring, and a Weekend Update sketch that repeatedly runs about 5 minutes too long. I can’t totally knock Weekend Update, After all, it’s the longest running sketch since the shows inception and it’s easy to see why. News ain’t goin’ anywhere, and it’s never competed for ratings. Brian Williams replaced Tom Brokaw, and someone will invariably replace him someday. If we’re lucky, it’ll be Seth Meyers! Then we can get weekend update 5 nights a week!

Bugs Bunny Dressed As a Girl Did Not Make the Top 10 Despite Garth’s Urgings

I’ve also grown tired of the talk-show format sketch which has not only run it’s course, but was perfected in the mid 90s by what I consider to be the best and most well-rounded cast in the show’s history. I won’t run down the entire group cause you know who I’m referring to. The other Meyers. The first Meyers. The only Meyers. From Linda Richmond to Wayne Campbell to Sprockets, like DJ Khaled he was the best.

As if that wasn’t enough, Dana Carvey played yin to his yang as Garth Algar and the Church lady, a role that was also prime for a feature length film. Apparently it wasn’t meant to be, but even the lesser talk shows of yesteryear had a life outside of SNL. The Ladies Man, for example, was never really that good, (ed. note: yes it was) but it was still better than anything they’re doing today. Hell, it least it was notable enough to get a feature made. What sketch today can say the same? There hasn’t been an SNL franchised film since became the big gun in Hollywood.

Adam Sandler: He Used To Be Funny, Right?

 

Additionally, I’ve really had it up to here with all the digital shorts (who many people say are the only good thing SNL has left anymore). I get why they do them. They are, or can be occasionally, quite funny. But they aren’t LIVE. And to me, that’s what the show is about. Granted, the show has been running pre-recorded content for years, but in a much shorter, static-like structure. Commercials and quick PSA’s have a place, but to take 5-6 minutes from 62 minutes of content, and waste it on something filmed betrays the show and it’s roots. After all, did you see Farley and Sandler doing digital shorts? Hell no. But once the season wrapped, they cranked out some of the definitive frat-boy comedies of yesteryear.

Ultimately, I wish these rookies would take a cue from the days and follow their lead. If not, I have a feeling we’ve got many many more lackluster episodes on the way. When will they end? To me, it all depends on when Seth Meyers gets the boot. In the meantime, I don’t think musical guests like Vampire Weekend can save the show all by themselves, no matter how Columbia-educated they may be.

MP3: Ghostface Killah-“Saturday Nite”
MP3: Masta Ace-“Saturday Night Live”