What The Hell Has Happened To SNL: Is It Still Funny?
Saturday Night Live (SNL) has popularly influenced American TV culture since 1975. It has touched on just about everything including popular pop culture and politics. While SNL has certainly made a name for itself, is the show actually funny?
The hype around the show has slowly begun to fade as many criticize their jokes and skits, deeming them dry and unfunny. Additionally, there are many complaints that the show hasn’t been funny for years, even decades.
So, what is it about SNL that makes the show so popular? If everyone has deemed the show as ‘unfunny’, then why does it continue to be a hot topic of discussion?
When Did SNL Peak?
According to Rolling Stones Magazine, SNL had some of its funniest moments and skits before the early 2000s, and can you blame them? With cast members such as Bill Murray, Chris Farley, Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy, who wouldn’t expect phenomenal material?
The contrast becomes glaringly obvious when you look at SNL’s current talent…like Pete Davidson. Sure, the show has had some great names on stage recently, such as Kate McKinnon and Kenan Thompson, but seriously, why did Davidson make the cut?
So, many speculate that SNL has lost its comedic appeal due to their choice of cast members and writers. What was once an extremely popular show, with people hugging and licking their TV screens every Saturday night, has now become a second thought for most.
That’s why some claim that the show has its moments throughout history and present-day where its skits are funny. While it may not deliver consistent laughs, it’s apparent that when the show finds worthy talent it delivers worthy entertainment.
Is It Too Political?
Another complaint is that SNL has become too political, and this turns many viewers away who previously wanted to ignore politics. While some are not ready to acknowledge that politics affects everyone, many just flat-out don’t want to see it on TV shows.
Well, privileged people who avoid politics can’t turn a blind eye to the show’s skits, especially those made during the Trump presidency. While SNL has never been shy about ridiculing current and former presidents, the show brought out the big guns to mow-down the orange dictator.
However, the show has begun to double-down on its political banter, and it’s hard to find any episodes without skits and jokes regarding Trump or current events.
So, do the political skits and jokes ruin the show? I don’t believe so, in fact, I think this makes the show more desirable and important. According to the United States Census Bureau, only about 46% of Americans aged 18-29 voted in the 2016 presidential election. Appealing to young people and getting them involved with politics is extremely important, and if one of the most popular TV shows can do that, then who the hell cares what Chad from your small hometown thinks?
…But Is It Funny?
Sadly, the political skits and jokes aren’t really all that funny. We were all clutching the edge of our seats when SNL announced Jim Carrey as Joe Biden and Maya Rudolph as Kamala Harris. We were all thinking the same thing: they’re gonna kill this.
Well, that’s not really the case. While I’m glad the show has taken such an interest in the presidential and VP debates, they have totally dropped the ball on this one.
Their mannerisms are perfect: I can feel Carrey’s rendition of Biden’s finger guns coming right at me, and Rudolph’s take on the Harris stink eye is giving me chills. No one doubted their acting abilities, but the initial shock and hype disappointingly died-down after the skit’s first few minutes.
It came as a shock to us all, especially since we see Alec Baldwin’s hilarious and spot-on impression of Trump on the show. However, even his jokes seemed tame when depicting the presidential debates.
So, why did these skits suck so much? Looking back, SNL has almost always nailed their political satire. They’ve always gotten a lot of laughs from their skits involving former President George Bush or former President Barack Obama, but their latest skits are not living up to the hype.
I know you’re not supposed to romanticize or glorify something before it happens, but when we saw the lineup for the SNL cast for the debates, it was so hard not to. Maybe that’s why the skits sucked. We were so excited to see Carrey and Rudolph do their thing, that we didn’t even consider that the jokes could fall flat.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is, the hype around SNL is both helping and hurting the show. We expect so much out of this weekly live event, and we don’t consider that we are letting our own hopes down. Even though the jokes could also be a bit better.
The show has always touched on politics, but now it’s become a regular aspect of SNL. Rather than criticize, we should be thankful that more avenues are available for young people to become involved with politics.