This guy watched one episode from every season of SNL and charted its rise and fall

Originally published at: This guy watched one episode from every season of SNL and charted its rise and fall | Boing Boing


Are their any SNL pieces on statistics and sampling?


I quit after 4 minutes.

I’m sorry, but if you can’t even bother to look up why a sketch is appealing (he didn’t understand Samurai Night Fever) to the generation that spawned it, you have no business being a critic.


One of the most enduring truths about Saturday Night Live is that every generation thinks it peaked around the time they were in college and has been going downhill ever since.

A large portion of the humor in every season is quickly dated even when it’s brilliantly written, often referencing the events of that same week they aired. It’s nigh impossible for a contemporary audience to even understand why many of the older sketches were supposed to be funny.


three woids: happy fun ball.
(sweet krishna’s toenails, 30 years ago)


It’s almost impossible to fairly evaluate an innovator when your starting point is already fully immersed in the innovation they pioneered.



YouTuber FAIL. Get a job Drew.


OVER-40 FOLKS: “OK, Zoomer.”


Next week, why Zack Synder’s Batman is SOOOO much better than the 60’s TV show.


Watching this now.
Saved me a whoooole lot of time and left me needing to watch the late 80s years

1 Like

I read the first paragraph of every Hemingway novel … and found that Hemingway hasn’t really been good since that trip to Pamplona to see that running of the bulls thing.


I completely agree. I think it is similar to how most people have their musical tastes peak in high school/college. Sure, you can appreciate newer or older music, but for a lot of people, that time was the perfect era when music was “good”.

I love sketch comedy. I didn’t watch SNL for many years due to it being on late/had other things, but I have been watching it for the last few years. It is still pretty good, with some really good bits here and there. And then some of it is just meh.

I think having stand out talent is important, as well as good writers. But comedy ebbs and flows and what is funny and hip one year, is not the next. So you have a lot of stuff that doesn’t stick.

I too have a soft spot for the 90s era - and I think you could argue that Meyers, Farley, Spade, Sandler, Rock, et al were above average talent.

And finally, I LOVED Phil Hartman. He was the rock of SNL, where he could play a solid character regardless of the bit. Him and Jan Hooks I thought were really solid together.


If you must spend any time watching the reviled early 80’s years, my suggestion is the Tim Curry episode. It is probably the best one between 1980-81. He only hosted once, it had Meat Loaf as the musical guest, and a wonderful “music hall” style song about a piece of prodigious produce.

I find the site I linked here has far more objective SNL reviews than the likes of the one in this article.


As someone that watched SNL since pretty much the beginning (starting with me pretty young sneaking downstairs to watch it) that kind of applies to every show/season.

Until they hired Kate McKinnon, Phil Hartman was the best person to ever appear on that show.
Jan Hooks was also so damn talented. Her sketches with Nora Dunn as the Sweeney sisters were some of the best sketches of all time.
My favorite one from that era, however is this -


First of all, the 70’s version has to be appreciated within its time-- there was nothing like it on TV, and it was geared to the young post-hippy generation (i.e. stoners). And jokes about minor news events tend to lose flavor decades later (also an issue with South Park reruns.)

Plus, for every episode there were good and bad sketches. I doubt there was one ‘perfect’ episode ever.

Their ‘non-live’ portions were often the best-- whether the new digital shorts or the decades of fake TV ads.

I picked up the first few seasons on dvd box set, and it was sometimes tiresome, but also had much better music guests than nowadays (and I’m not just saying that because I’m old, or those are my tastes in music, there have been some new bands on SNL that I found impressive, but there’s too much lip-syncing and pre-recorded backing tracks, as well as too many flavor of the week bands. [ETA: it seems like a lot of bands are on the show because of a promotional push, whereas in the first seasons it was more ‘curated’ reflecting the staff/crew tastes, for better or worse.])


In the first couple of seasons, some of the sketches weren’t supposed to be funny at all. Mr. Mike’s stuff was just dark and disturbing. Other sketches were a kind of proto cringe comedy with an edge of sadness (a writer named Marilyn Miller specialised in those). That’s before you get to the dated references that a guy like the one in the video won’t get.

The show has always been uneven, not only from cast to cast, season to season, episode to episode but also from sketch to sketch. Some casts and performers carry the material better overall, but that’s about the only way to discuss the show’s changing quality over the years.

Also, I’ll leave this Gary Weis short film from the 1975 season. For personal reasons, it sticks with me as much as all the comedy sketches that I loved from that time on the show.


the only thing i needed to know was that the reviewer “didn’t get” the purpose of Mr. Bill.

Really? You can still buy Mr. Bill dog toys at PetCo.




Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer though



I remember everyone in my high school… everyone. jocks, stoners, low riders, geeks. ALLL dropping to the floor in fits of laughter whenever someone said “oh no, Mr. Bill”

at a Pep Rally (horrible things we were forced to go to) the assistant principal eveyrone disliked? turned his rep around, by simply saying “oh no”

but as mentioned in earlier comments, one paragraph of hemmingway----
and the clueless continue to be so