Saturday Night Live – Down the Memory Lane

For over 43 years, Saturday Night Live has been keeping its audiences enthralled with its exciting content and rightfully so! This show was initially launched on October 11, 1975, with a small cast, including the likes of Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, and Chevy Chase.

Over the years and across its 44 seasons, it has brought in some exciting hosts and personalities and developed the careers of many comedians like Chris Rock, Mike Myers and the likes.

In fact, the recent 43rd season kicked off with Ryan Gosling hosting the show and the famous Jay-Z visiting as a guest! The 850-episode strong TV series is broadcast from the famous Comcast Building.

There is an Oomph to it

Saturday Night Live has garnered a lot of publicity and popularity over the last 43 years. This popularity can be attributed to the show’s comic sketches which are a reflection of everyday politics and culture in the country.

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Comedian John Belushi with Mayor Ed Koch, probably on the set of ‘Saturday Night Live’. (Photo by Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Another reason why this show is so famous can be owed to the fact that a celebrity hosts each show in each season. Also, there is another musician guest who performs in the same episode. The celebrity guest also happens to perform in the comic sketches along with the other actors. All this and more have struck the right chords with the audiences, and this resulted in a total of 64 Primetime Emmy Awards in their kitty.

The Most Memorable Performances

Saturday Night Live has witnessed some fantastic performances since 1975. Here are some of the best of the lot.

  • 2013 saw a beautiful performance by Kanye West. ‘Black Skinhead’ was deemed to be one of the best performances on the show ever. To top it up, Kanye West was introduced by the popular Batman-figure of Ben Affleck, as ‘the man you came to see…’
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Chris Farley, of Saturday Night Live, impersonates Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, left, who looks on. This appearance was an ‘April Fools’ joke orchestrated by the GOP Conference on April 4, 1995. (Maureen Keating/CQ Roll Call)

  • Freddie Mercury of the Queen fame in 1982 gave another enthralling performance with ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ being the highlight of the show. This performance was memorable for more reasons than one. Owing to Mercury’s deteriorating health, the band stopped performing four years later. In turn, this was the Queen’s final performance in the United States.
  • Queen’s performance in 1982 was preceded by that of a 22-year old Prince in 1981. The guitar solo performance was forever etched in the minds of the audience.
  • 1992 saw the epic performance by Nirvana in 1992 when Kurt Cobain was at his best! The performance was concluded with Cobain kissing his fellow bandmates!
  • 2004 got the audience excited with the popular band called U2. This performance was brought to an end with the beautiful single of ‘I will follow’ where Bono rushed off into the studio audience.

A Powerful Message to Society

For all the years that Saturday Night Live has been operating, this show has taken up crucial and important social topics and presented them to the public in their typically humorous ways. The idea was to take up content on controversial subjects.

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American comedians Eddie Murphy (left), in costume as the character Dion, and Joe Piscopo (right), in costume as the character Blaine, perform a skit with musician Stevie Wonder on an episode of the television show ‘Saturday Night Live,’ New York, New York, 1983. (Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)

The 70s saw the show discussing and presenting on the most important controversial topic back then- racism! The show has been successfully demonstrating the freedom of speech across all its seasons. The concept is simple. The content focuses on specific faults and issues with the society, makes the audience realize the flaws, laugh at them and then fix them.

In a way, this show has managed to push the social boundaries and shed new light on the old topics. The show has also taken on a satirical approach to American politics and the corresponding Presidential elections.

Main Achievements

Ever since it first aired in 1975, Saturday Night Live has collected multiple awards and trophies to its name. After being nominated many times, the show received its first Writers Guild of America award in 2007 when people like Alex Baze, Colin Jost, and others were involved in the season.

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The cast and crew of Saturday Night Live accepts the Outstanding Variety Sketch Series award onstage during the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

From there on, this show has managed to bag several such Writers Guild awards in the next few years. Apart from that, Saturday Night Live has some Primetime Emmy Awards significantly in the field of technical direction, camera work, and other individual performances.

2014 also brought the show its American Comedy Award when Kate McKinnon was appreciated for her role as a supporting actress in a comedy venture. It also has a favorite image in the Art Directors Guild Award over the last few years.

Things You Did Not Know About Saturday Night Live

  • Will Farrell turned out to be the highest paid actor on the Saturday Night Live show in the US. In 2001, he reportedly had a $350,000 per year contract!
  • 43 years back, George Calin was the very first host of Saturday Night Live.
  • A memorable event happened on the Saturday Night Live stage when the popular band of ‘The Beatles’ was offered $3,000 to reunite on the show. Lorne Michaels offered this. John and Paul almost reunited but were reported ‘too tired’ to act on it.
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Chris Farley, of Saturday Night Live, impersonates Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, left, who looks on. This appearance was an ‘April Fools’ joke orchestrated by the GOP Conference on April 4, 1995. (Maureen Keating/CQ Roll Call)

  • Seinfeld derived inspiration for its episode called ‘The Revenge’ from one incident on the show. This was based on the fact that Larry David once had to remove himself from the show since he believed that his sketches were not being used. However, he happened to return the next day.
  • While some cast members were fired from the Saturday Night Live show, Chris Parnell turned out to be only one who was fired twice.
  • Of all the hosts on the Saturday Night Live, the highest number of episodes were hosted by Alec Baldwin with a total of 16 episodes!
  • All the cast members from the popular sitcom ‘Friends’ hosted the show at least once, except for Matt LeBlanc.
  • Interestingly enough, the show had a parody commercial of a three-bladed razor in 1975. Gillette brought that to reality 23 years later with its Mach 3.

That said, Saturday Night Live has been one of the most enthralling and meaningful shows in the history of World Television so far!