Stop Complaining About SNL



From Botox to booties, a lot of people in this area are concerned with maintaining the appearance of youth. Yet how ever you might look on the outside, don’t forget that your thoughts and opinions about popular culture might give away your true age. For example — no matter how much you might love Richard Gere — if the movie Nights in Rodanthe appealed to you in any way, there's no way you're under 40. (And if you're the type to lie about your age, lie about your movie choices, too: say you saw Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist instead.) Similarly, if you saw Beverly Hills Chihuahua — currently the No. 1 movie in America — I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt for all our sakes and assume that you went with your children, who are under the age of 12.

So let's say your game and you want to reflect your new age-is-but-a-number taste in popular culture. What do you do? Here's one thing you don't do: Don't complain about Saturday Night Live.

It's easy to fall into that trap, because a lot of people complain about Saturday Night Live. Everybody has their favorite cast, and it seems like when you ask for a favorite season, nobody ever says "the current one." But if you go around saying that the show hasn't been the same since Dan Akyroyd and Gilda Radner left, that's like letting your gray roots show. But even people who fondly reminisce about the days of Dana Carvey and Adam Sandler will grudgingly admit that Will Ferrell is one of the funniest men alive, and those who peg the Ferrell years as SNL's golden age will admit to watching "Lazy Sunday" 1,000 times.

The truth is, SNL is as it's always been: a mixed bag. Producing 90 minutes of live comedy every week is hard, so, inevitably, there are going to be some lousy sketches mixed in with some pretty funny ones. Whether you prefer Akroyd, Murphy, Carvey, Sandler, or Samberg says more about you than about the show.

The current cast has some pretty talented members, including some alums from the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in the city, who hone their chops doing on-the-fly improv for comedy-savvy audiences. The show's ratings are up, which means that at least some people are watching (and on old-fashioned TV sets, no less). While I wouldn't say that this makes every sketch a winner, it's definitely worth checking out the highlights on Hulu — even if it's just to lower your average pop-culture age. Even if you don't like the bizarreness of the digital shorts or the random humor of sketches like "Mark Whalberg Talks to Animals," you can't deny the hilarity of Tina Fey's dead-on Sarah Palin impression.

 


Pop Culture in Hudson Valley

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Marisa LaScala

Marisa LaScala
Elmsford, NY


Associate Editor Marisa LaScala joined Westchester magazine in 2003, and ever since she's blown every paycheck at the Greenburgh Multiplex. She also staunchly defends Richard Kelly, doesn't mind spoiling the endings of trashy movies you're curious about but don't want to pay to see, wishes the Hold Steady would come back and rock out Westchester, misses Arrested Development more than anyone can imagine, and still watches cartoons and Saturday Night Live. You can find more of her cultural criticism at www.popmatters.com, where she is a staff writer.

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