Last night was the SNL 40th Anniversary special.
I didn’t expect a lot from it, mostly I knew there would be some fun moments, some stuff that got my feels, and other things that probably would either go over my head or just be you know, not funny. 40 years is a long time and a lot of really talented people worked very hard for that time to make some comedy that I really loved and also that other stuff.
Mary and I were the only ones home, and while we felt ridiculous, that we had to sit through a fifteen minute Kanye performance before getting a glimpse of Wayne and Garth (over reliance on catch phrases), we generally really liked the show. The Californians was too long, but it always is (and it ended with Spade’s flight attendant because YES) The running gag that Jon Lovitz died. The argument over the best kind of host. (Which is ridiculous, as we all know that the best kind of host is Justin Timberlake, just because he doesn’t have the numbers, yet.) That Martin Short/Beyoncé number. Everyone yelling at Kanye to stay in his seat. Miley singing “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” (She was going to perform, would you have preferred “Wrecking Ball?” I wouldn’t have…)
SNL is a huge driving force in culture, but it’s also just always been this thing that my family rallied around. I would come home from school to my mom making dinner and an SNL rerun on the TV. Ten years ago, there were a series of specials about SNL classics, and I watched every single one. SNL is so much to me, much like my description of The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter, this show is too inside of me, too much a part of just my general vocabulary to analyze it much.
I was happy to see characters I loved show up again. (Having both Debbie Downer and Mary Katherine Gallagher in that opening Jimmy/Justin number was wonderful.) We heard, “Chopping Broccoli” which to this day remains one of my favorite skits. I really liked the Andy Samberg/Adam Sandler song, mostly because I always love it when Samberg descends into madness and everyone is just baffled by him and it was also the most engaged I’ve seen Sandler (also a huge part of my sense of humor development, though not quite as large as Dana Carvey and Mike Meyers. I’m pretty sure The Church Lady demonstrates about 90% of things I find hilarious.) And Meyers and Carvey having a “Lorne-off” might have been the highlight of my life. (Though, um, Meyers’s Lorne was just Doctor Evil right?)
But then there was update. Giving the desk to the three women who’ve anchored (but not Cecily? REALLY? Tina and Amy? You let that happen? REALLY?) was really great, and you know that Tina’s wanted the shark to eat her for her entire life. Jane Curtain seemed as acerbic and perfect as I’ve ever seen her. And letting Melissa McCarthy do Matt Foley seemed odd and then perfect. Again, I mean, you can just see the influence there and it’s really lovely.
I enjoyed myself, but it was very long. Just, so long. Definitely check out the Jimmy/Justin number, the Short/Maya as Beyoncé bit, and the Sandler/Samberg song.
And the night ended with “Still Crazy,” and Paul Simon giving Lorne Michaels a hug, which felt so very right.