Live from New York, it’s 40 years of SNL. Tonight we celebrate Saturday Night Live with their 40th anniversary with a special airing LIVE on NBC at 8/7c.
I grew up hearing “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!” open up the American comedy sketch show of Saturday Night Live every Saturday night for the majority of my life. Long before Eddie Murphy was in the hits Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America, and The Golden Child (a personal hit for me) or before I realized what a crush was, I was sneaking to watch Saturday Night Live on NBC behind my family members to see the man with the funny laugh, who I later learned was Eddie Murphy. Mr. Murphy was the reason I became a fan of SNL. And through the years even though SNL didn’t always make me laugh, I continued to watch the late-night sketch show hoping the love of Saturday Night Live that Mr. Murphy brought out in me would return.
Don’t get me wrong there have been moments in my relationship with Saturday Night Live where the giddiness of holding my mouth as I listened to jokes that should have been difficult for my young ears to understand came back. It came back in waves with those gems sketches that featured The Church Lady (Dana Carvey) and Wayne & Garth (Wayne: Mike Myers; Garth: Dana Carvey), The Boston Teens (Denise “Zazu” McDonough (Rachel Dratch); Pat “Sully” Sullivan (Jimmy Fallon)), but as I got older and now understood all the jokes, my love of the show was often wrapped around the musical acts I got to see. It was like a mini-concert for those without cable and/or funds for concerts (i.e., ME).
In the early 90’s, I tuned to In Living Color that was created by Keenen Ivory Wayans and saw a side of my life that was represented more on this show. After In Living Color, MAD TV took first place in my late-night comedy sketch show heart. When Chappelle’s Show that was created by Neal Brennan and lead Dave Chappelle was on the air I rarely tuned into Saturday Night Live. But once the above shows were no longer on, I ventured back to SNL and was gladly surprised when I fell in love again. The addition of parody music videos and pre-tapped sketches featuring the host for the evening made all those previous good feelings I had for the show come back.
Now as we look back over 40 years of Saturday Night Live I think of the original 1975 cast that consisted of Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris, and Chevy Chase to the current 2014-2015 cast of Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant, Taran Killam, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Moynihan, Jay Pharoah, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson along with featured players Beck Bennett, Michael Che, Pete Davidson, Leslie Jones, Colin Jost, Kyle Mooney, and Sasheer Zamata. Not only has the cast become bigger, but more diverse. Hopefully as Saturday Night Live stays on the air the diversity among the cast will continue to grow.
Let’s take a look at 40 years of Saturday Night Live through pictures.
[Featured Image Courtesy NBC]