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Thread: Saturday Night Live

  1. #351
    FORT Fogey
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    Re: Saturday Night Live

    I think the problem is that just because a person is talented and funny does not mean that person will be a good fit for SNL. There are many hilarious and talented people who have tried SNL and failed -- Ben Stiller, Jay Mohr, and Janine Garafalo are a few. There are a few other paths to SNL, but for the most part, people who aspire to be on the show know exactly how to get there -- go to Chicago, LA, or New York, and get work through the Groudnlings, IO, or UCB. It's somewhat like knowing that if you aspire to play football in the NFL, you need to play college football so you can be noticed. There are plenty of other places to work in comedy, but if you go a route other than IO, Groundlings or UCB, you're not setting yourself up for the SNL path. And the truth is, there are so many other opportunties in comedy these days than there used to be that SNL is not the mecca for a lot of comedic performers that it used to be. Many are going the route of Comedy Central, Funny or Die, etc to get noticed. Those may not be as high profile at the start, but if you're someone like Amy Schumer or Key and Peele and can be the center of every sketch rather than sharing, there's more appeal. SNL casts the best of the people who want to be on the show. Being the best means being a strong performer, a strong writer, having a team mindset, and being a personality that the rest of the cast and crew wants to be around for LONG hours each show week. The fact that there are funny black women in the world does not mean that they WANT to be on SNL, or hold all of those other qualities. If SNL ignored those other elements, then they would be ignoring what has made the show last a heck of a lot longer than any other sketch comedy TV show.

  2. #352
    FORT Fogey tango7's Avatar
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    Re: Saturday Night Live

    Just wanted to say I think Jay Pharoah is fantastic. He does a great President Obama and his Denzel Washington is better than any I have seen.
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  3. #353
    Mixing Old Fashioneds PhoneGrrrl's Avatar
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    Re: Saturday Night Live

    I just find it hard to believe that, in 39 seasons, only 3 black women have been "ready" for SNL and only 9 black women were "qualified" to host. POC are highly underrepresented on SNL, both in the cast and the writer's room, and I don't think it has to do with work ethic, creativity, or improv ability. Michaels has as much admitted he doesn't care about diversity or reflecting the populace, which no doubt would improve the quality of the show. But that's a low bar.
    prhoshay and bee stung lips like this.

  4. #354
    FORT Fogey
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    Re: Saturday Night Live

    This may sound like a stupid question, but when talking about the quality of SNL, how would diversity improve it? There are a lot of brillant comedy shows through the years that have not had a great deal of diveristy. In Living Color, Strangers With Candy, Key and Peele, and Chapelle Show have not had much diversity, and have been brillant. In fact, I've heard the people involved with K&P and Chapelle suggest that the very reason that each show only had two people collaborating on the writing was to protect the quality of the product. SNL is a little unique in that it's lasted as long as it has and has always played some role in commentating on what was happening in the world. The fact that they have a larger number of writers allows them to have back to back sketches that are very different unlike some of the shows I've listed. But, the other shows I've listed do suggest that perhaps diversity would not improve the quality.

  5. #355
    FORT Fogey causingchaos's Avatar
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    Re: Saturday Night Live

    On a side note specifically about the last episode. I don't watch SNL with any regularity but I catch it sometimes. What is with all the commericals. I think I attempted to watch about 20 minutes of the show maybe half an hour and I saw about 5 minutes of show and all the rest was commercials. I literally saw one sketch and Eminem perform in all that time (and then I gave up and changed the channel). And when I saw perform I use the term lightly. I mean really what that boiled down to is they played the album version of the song while he lip synced and paced.

    As for the controversy... Diversity aside.... Women have always been a tough sell on this show in general. There have been some funny ones over many years but the ladies I have always found are not used well on the show and seem to be mostly background characters. The men have been way more front and center. I think the issue is more complex than just black women. How many Asian women have you seen on the show? There are funny Asian women too. And how about how many Native American women. How about how many Latina/Hispanic women? I don't view the show as a representation of society. I view this show as a representation of the places they typically cast the show from. I also agree that being a good stand up comedian does not automatically make one a good sketch person.

  6. #356
    FORT Fogey
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    Re: Saturday Night Live

    Many of the commercials on the show are for logistical purposes. For every change in sketches they have to change the sets and re-configure the studio, and have all the cast do costume/makeup/hair changes. They use pre-produced segments to help with the timing of those changes, but the pattern of the commercials is also critical to allow them to pull off all that is done for the show to be live. Regarding women on the show - pre-Tina Fey, I'd agree that SNL had a horrible track record with women. They didn't cast many of them, and allowed the men to intimidate and diminish the role of the women. Jane Curtin has been very honest about what John Belushi used to do to her and the other women from the original cast. I think a lot of that changed in the mid-2000s. Whether it was deliberate or not, when Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch and Tina Fey were in the cast ... with Tina serving in the head writers role and having a voice in what made it to air ... women dominated. Some of what I've said in previous posts factors in to that as well - Tina and Rachel had worked together prior to SNL. Amy was very well-establishes in improv and had the strength to go up against the men - she'd already done it running UCB. As they all left, the strength (and unexplained Lorne-love) of Kristen Wiig maintained a strong female presence. When you look at different eras of the show, I think its evident that things happen as they happen more than they are molded intentionally. There are some things that are deliberate -- for example I think the show made a very intentional decision to focus more on sketch performers over stand-ups in order to improve the working conditions of the show. But a lot of them are the luck of discovering what they have once it's there. Sometimes they think they've struck gold with something that doesn't pan out ... like Ben Stiller. Sometimes, they discover they have talent but put it in the wrong place ... like Seth Meyers when he wasn't so great in sketches. Other times they discover they have a gem they weren't going after but should build the show around ... like Will Farrell, Kristen Wiig, or Amy Poehler.
    combatcutie likes this.

  7. #357
    FORT Fogey causingchaos's Avatar
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    Re: Saturday Night Live

    I understand the logistical commercials but they need to rethink logistics if I catch 5 minutes of show in between 20 minutes of commercials. I used to watch it much more often when I was more of a night owl and there were bad nights commercial wise but typically they tried to organize their skits a little bit so they didn't have these giant gaping vortexes of commercials.

    There's been a ton of less than impressive men on the show too.

    I guess my thing is that this isn't just a black woman problem on SNL. If looked at through a bigger lens it's a woman problem. It's also a problem with various cultures being represented on the show regardless of gender. There are lots of funny people out there but not every type of person is represented on this show.

    The reality about people once they're on the show is that regardless of talent level, if they're not aggressive to create need to use characters and skits it doesn't matter who you are, you're sidelined and used in supporting roles. And I think there's been a bunch of women that ended up falling into the not being aggressive enough role especially if they were in casts of exceptionally aggressive men.

    That being said the casting has seemed generally weak on this show for awhile to me. I've been watching for like 20 years or so now. Wow does that make me feel old. Anyhow, there's been weak casts in there before. But they haven't seemed as consistently weak as they have the last like 5-6 years. Yeah we had the Tina Fey ladies in there but if you look at the casts around the stand out ladies they weren't that strong in general. I don't know I just feel like generally some of the magic that used to be on this show is missing.

  8. #358
    FORT Fogey
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    Re: Saturday Night Live

    Comedy is subjective, so obviously different people will respond different ways. But considering that Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig were noticeable in the past two years for the very rare feat of getting personal Emmy nominations for the show, I have a hard time describing recent casts as weak.

  9. #359
    Signed, Sealed, Delivered prhoshay's Avatar
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    Re: Miscellaneous Celebrity News

    I am so glad that SNL has FINALLY knuckled under and, basically, admitted that they need to hire a black female for their show!!! Of course, auditions were basically held in secret, but they were held. The actor will, supposedly, be hired and working by January. No more defending the indefensible!
    Last edited by Critical; 12-17-2013 at 02:40 PM.
    "...each affects the other, and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one." - Mitch Albom, one helluva writer

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  10. #360
    Signed, Sealed, Delivered prhoshay's Avatar
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    Re: Saturday Night Live

    Thanks for your help!!

    I was bound and determined to find it under SNL.
    "...each affects the other, and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one." - Mitch Albom, one helluva writer

    When you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, you know which one you hit by the one that yelps!

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