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How 'SNL's Season 40 Title Sequence Came Together

Last year SNL director of photography Alex Buono posted a lengthy blog entry about the making of the Wes Anderson parody "The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders," and this week he's back with a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look at SNL's season 40 title sequence. To capture the 40th anniversary feel, Buono explains why the team landed on the mantra of a "Love-letter to New York" and why they used light-writing and other technical tricks as inspiration: "Not just light-writing, but an overall simple, clean concept: as an homage to the 40-year history of SNL, we would approach the sequence using in-camera techniques that would be at home just as [...]

Watch Nasim Pedrad's Unaired 'SNL' Sketch "Aziz Ansari Buys a Jacket"

A few weeks ago, Nasim Pedrad was a guest on Conan and shared a short clip from an unaired SNL sketch in which she played her favorite "boner-eraser" role Aziz Ansari. Today, Funny or Die did a wonderful thing and uploaded the entire sketch — titled "Aziz Ansari Buys a Jacket" costarring Taran Killam — which you can watch in full above.

'SNL,' the Groundlings, and the Parallel Thinking Excuse

Members of Los Angeles' famed Groundlings theater company have made headlines by accusing SNL of lifting their sketch during last weekend's Sarah Silverman episode. The piece in question, "River Sisters," featured Silverman, Cecily Strong, and Sasheer Zamata as a Tina Turner tribute act performing "Proud Mary" on a crummy river cruise, which many have noticed bears a strong resemblance to a sketch that has been running at the Groundlings for several weeks, with Kimberly Condict and Vanessa Ragland as identically-dressed Tina Turner lookalikes, similarly bemoaning their careers to the song (except in a casino). Groundlings teacher Ian Gary claimed that SNL writers have plagiarized "many, many" of the theater's bits in the past, with victims too [...]

Check Out Sarah Silverman's 'SNL' Promos with Taran Killam

Former SNL writer and featured player Sarah Silverman is returning to the show to host for the first time this weekend, and here's the very first promo, in which she promises to bring back some of her many classic characters like Captain Irishhands and everyone's favorite, Table Girl.

What to Expect From 'SNL' Season 40

SNL returns for its 40th season this Saturday, with host Chris Pratt, musical guest Ariana Grande, and pretty much the same cast — minus a handful of people we rarely saw in sketches anyway. Following a lackluster season, Lorne Michaels is now sticking with the tools he's got, replacing five departing cast members with only one newcomer — standup Pete Davidson — and promoting writer Michael Che to co-host Weekend Update. Meanwhile, Colin Jost will remain at the desk after taking on the job last February. It's a conservative approach, compared to last year's throw-everything-against-the-wall casting strategy, which resulted in a cast so overpopulated that some remained literal faces in the crowd at the season's [...]

Chris Rock to Host 'SNL' November 1st with Musical Guest Prince

NBC just announced another former SNL cast member who is set to host an upcoming episode, and it's a big one. According to a Twitter update by SNL, Chris Rock is slated to host on November 1st with musical guest Prince. The episode will make Rock's second hosting stint following his 1996 episode with musical guest The Wallflowers, which followed his years as a cast member from 1990-1993. Rock will follow Jim Carrey, who is also confirmed to host with musical guest Iggy Azalea on October 25th.

Saturday Night's Children: John Belushi (1975-1979)

Saturday Night Live has been home to over a hundred cast members throughout the past 39 years. In our column Saturday Night’s Children, we present the history, talent, and best sketches of one SNL cast member every other week for your viewing, learning, and laughing pleasure.

SNL's first party monster legend was a Chicago boy born to Albanian immigrants — a short, squat, blue-collar popular kid whose fierce presence dominated everything from the high school football field to the improv theater stage and, during his final years, the silver screen. Many of the late John Belushi's friends and former collaborators have attempted to describe the man behind the SNL [...]

Check Out Bill Hader's 'SNL' Promos with Kenan Thompson

SNL alum Bill Hader returns to the show as host this week, and here's his promo reel with Kenan Thompson that's full of silly voices, stolen items from the props department, and a Lindsey Buckingham "What Up With That?" reference.

'SNL' Co-Head Writer Bryan Tucker Reflects on Working with Kenan Thompson

"We trust his instincts implicitly. He's been doing TV and movies almost every week since he was 15 years old … He has the same ease in front of a camera that most of us do when driving a car. It's why he's the guy who sits next to the host when we read all of that week's sketches out loud for the first time. It's why occasionally during rehearsal, he will say, 'Don't you think we should do this line in a close-up?' And our Emmy-winning director, without hesitation, will say, 'Yep,' and note the change in his book."

- Current co-head writer of SNL Bryan Tucker explains the [...]

Here's the Very First 'SNL' Season 40 Promo with Chris Pratt and Kate McKinnon

Saturday Night Live's 40th season kicks off this weekend with host Chris Pratt, and NBC released the above promo reel featuring Pratt and returning cast member Kate McKinnon talking Guardians of the Galaxy, getting bleeped for curse words, and taking advantage of Pratt's super strength to open some pickle jars.

Pete Davidson Talks Hecklers, Comedy Influences, and His Favorite Emoji

If you're not yet familiar with new SNL cast member Pete Davidson, this backstage Q&A clip is full of fun facts on his love for pizza, complicated feelings for burritos, experiences with hecklers, and biggest comedy influences, from Bill Burr to Adam Sandler to "obviously Louie."

Bill Murray Says Bill Hader "Did the Best Work Anyone Ever Did" on 'SNL'

"Well, there's been extraordinary talent, let's get real. I don't want to start listing names because there's too many that I would forget, but between Eddie Murphy and [Dana] Carvey and Mike Myers and Will Ferrell and so forth … I think Bill Hader probably did the best work anyone ever did on that show … It took him a little while to get going, but once he got going it was extraordinary."

- Bill Murray gives some high SNL praise for Bill Hader in his interview with Howard Stern from earlier today.

An 'SNL' Audience Member Describes Her Brush with Live TV

"What was running through my head: 'holy shit, no this is not happening. Is this for real? Uh, I have to say something?! Don't fuck up, don't fuck up… Sit up straight. My hand is on her back – where do I put my hand? I shouldn't leave it on her back, right? Don't look at the screen. Shit, I looked at the screen. My friends and family are probably going crazy – I can't believe this is happening!' And I felt like it lasted forever! Definitely one of the most memorable moments of my life."

- Lindsey, the unsuspecting audience member who became part of Sarah Silverman's SNL [...]

Kenan Thompson on the Rumor He's Leaving 'SNL': "You Don't Have to Worry About Stuff Like That"

Longtime SNL cast member Kenan Thompson made a brief appearance on this morning's Today show, where he was asked about the recent rumors that he'll be leaving the NBC sketch show at the end of this season and offered a vague response: "You don't have to worry about that stuff like that," Thompson said. "We have to worry about the premiere Saturday — its the 40th anniversary. That's what we need to focus on." Watch out for a quick appearance near the end from a highly offended Andy Samberg.