The seasons have certainly changed at Saturday Night Live. The show's 40th season began with an episode that hardly resembled a season premiere, with little pomp or circumstance over SNL's impressive four-decade lifespan, and in its place a straightforward night of comedy that reflected a show well adjusted to its new lineup. Nerves did occasionally get the better of the performers — especially first-time host Chris Pratt, who coasted on his signature goofy charm, flashing that Andy Dwyer "oops" face a few times – but overall the episode charged forward with a leaner (and more colorful) cast, and a greater confidence in its sense of humor.
We aren't out of the woods just yet, though. SNL's live sketches suffer [...]
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 [...]
With SNL's 39th season coming to a close, we're taking a look at the past season with a series of posts examining the highs, lows, and other memorable moments from the past eight months. Here, we look at the show's shifting tone on race over the arc of this season.
This has not been an easy year for SNL to talk about race. From the moment the show announced its six new cast members — the largest turnover in more than a decade — and viewers noticed that not one of them was a person of color, SNL once again became a target of progressive viewers calling for the cast to [...]
Saturday Night Live has been taking some heat in the press for its lack of diversity after adding six new cast members, all of them white and five of them male, this fall. In the wake of a controversial quote from longtime cast member Kenan Thompson two weeks ago about how the show never finds black female comedians who are "ready," SNL head honcho Lorne Michaels has finally weighed in on the matter. When asked about the show not having any black female cast members by The AP, Michaels responded, "It's not like it's not a priority for us. It will happen. I'm sure it will happen." While [...]
For a show that evolves constantly, SNL does a remarkable job preserving its brand. Despite the changes in the cast, the writers, and the culture it parodies, SNL will always be that live, hip, New York-centered show that puts up a few sketches at the end of the week to try to make you laugh. There's the "Live from New York…" throw line, the theme music, Don Pardo listing off the cast, the host walking out on stage, followed by that predictable pattern of live sketches, videos, musical performances, and the news segment. Critics put down this structure in favor of looser, more inventive sketch show formats, but given SNL's [...]