Monday, February 16, 2015

SNL 40th Reunion Special

Live from New York, it's Sunday Night!

The Saturday Night Live 40th Reunion Special aired last night on NBC, after showing the first episode of SNL and a red carpet event. 

The special reunion episode averaged an incredible 23.1 million viewers and, in my opinion, was a huge success and revitalization for a show that continues to have a huge cultural impact. 
I'll preface this post by admitting that, rain or shine, I am a true SNL fan. There will always be people that say, "The show isn't as funny as it used to be," but the truth is that people have said that about every cast throughout the years. It's when you stop and take a look back, that you can really appreciate the comedic brilliance of the show and the importance of it's voice/satiric commentary on current events.  

As Stefon would say, the show had everything! A mix of montages, live re-creations of old (classic) sketches, musical numbers, appreciations of the many legends that got their start at SNL, an in memoriam, an audience Q&A, a digital short, and more.

The show opened with a brilliant Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake musical number, highlighting some of the famous sketches, characters and catch phrases throughout the years.   

Steve Martin introduced the special and was joined on stage by Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin, Chris Rock, Miley Cyrus, Billy Crystal and Peyton Manning. They discussed the many faces who've appeared on the show throughout the years, including actors, former cast members, athletes, musicians and more. Paul McCartney and Paul Simon even made an appearance and sang a snippet of "I've Just Seen a Face." 

After a video montage of famous sketches throughout the years, the first live sketch of the night was a re-creation of Dan Aykroyd's "Bass-O-Matic."

The next sketch was one of my favorites: Jeopardy! They had several actors come on to play various celebrities, but of course the best part of this sketch is the dialogue between Alex Trebek (Will Ferrel) and Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond). 

 The next montage was dedicated to the audition process that the cast members go through to make it on the show. It showed cast members like Will Forte, Amy Poehler, Will Ferrel and even several (now) famous faces that didn't make the cut, such as Stephen Colbert, Zach Galifianakis and Jim Carrey. 

After Robert De Niro gave a tribute to New York and SNL stating, "SNL and NYC; that's how I like my Saturday nights," Paul McCartney sang "Maybe I'm amazed."

The next live sketch was another great episode of "The Californians" with appearances from Bradley Cooper, Kerry Washington, Taylor Swift and Betty White. The longer sketch was brilliantly "Buh-Byed" off the set by David Spade and Cecily Strong, paying tribute to the airline sketch. 

Weekend Update was anchored by Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Jane Curtin with appearances from Emma Stone, Melissa McCarthy and Edward Norton, who re-created famous characters in the past. One of my favorite lines from this Update segment was when Curtin said, "I used to be the only pretty blonde woman reading the fake news. Now there's a whole network dedicated to that." She, of course, was referring to Fox News.

After Update and a montage, a tribute was given to the 23 anchors over the years. Based off of Seth's reaction, I think Norm went off script again. Nevertheless, Chevy Chase was honored and spoke briefly about his time anchoring. 

Martin Short and Maya Rudolph Beyonce came on stage next to give a special tribute to the amazing musical characters throughout the years including, Garth and Kat, Marty and Bobbi Culp, Choppin Broccoli, Opera Man, What's Up With That, King Tut, Bill Murry singing Jaws, and the Blues Brothers. 

Chris Rock came out and made a lovely speech about Eddie Murphy, stating that he was one of a kind and "saved the show." Unfortunately all that build up lead to an underwhelming and brief appearance by Murphy, who basically just thanked everyone. 

After a tribute to the many sports figures who've appeared on the show, Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte recreated their brilliant ESPN sketch with another amazing sponsor. 

Miley Cyrus sang the next musical number, which was a cover of Paul Simon's '50 Ways. 

Jerry Seinfeld came to the stage next to do a hilarious Q&A with audience members, such as Michael Douglas, John Goodman, James Franco and Larry David. 

SNL has made several great commercials over the years, such as "Mom Jeans," so it's no surprise that the next tribute was dedicated to commercials. 

Kanye West sang the next musical number and was later joined by Sia and Vic Mensa. 

Louis C.K. talked about all of the great films that SNL has created and poked fun at them for doing live sketches, when the videos are so great. Afterwards, Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler debuted the SNL 40 digital short, looking at all the times the cast members have broken their character because a scene was too funny. They also poked fun at Jimmy Fallon and Horatio Sanz, who famously broke character all the time. 

Bill Murray came to the stage to show the In Memoriam tribute to cast and crew members that are no longer here, such as John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Jan Hooks, Phil Hartman and Don Pardo - to name a few. There was also a running gag that Jon Lovitz was dead, so they ended with a photo of him and then panned to the audience where he was sitting and very much alive!

The last sketch of the night was Wayne's World, in which they poked fun at Kanye West and told him to stay in his seat.

And finally, the show ended with a lovely performance of "Still Crazy After All These Years" by Paul Simon. 

This reunion special made me fall in love with Saturday Night Live all over again and reiterated the cultural importance of shows like this. Here's to another 40 years!

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