SNL’s 40th Anniversary Show: Female Comedians, Diversity Jokes, and Lots of Awkwardness
Or Sunday Night Live, if you want to get pedantic.
There were cast members reprising classic roles, actor cameos, musical performances and more during the three and a half hour long Saturday Night Live anniversary special last night which opened with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. Did it live up to expectations?
I’m of the mind that SNL is always kind of awkward so I was expecting even more of that considering we got an extra long show bloated with special appearances. I’m not sure which cast members didn’t want to appear versus who wasn’t invited (if that was the case at all) but certainly some had more screen time than others. Of course there were also those who’ve passed in the last 40 years. They got a memorial tribute (filled with awkward audience applause), and there was a special shout out to Tracy Morgan who is still recovering from his recent accident. Definitely head over to their official Facebook page for some great behind-the-scenes photos.
Considering Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon were all in the house we had a fleeting hope:
— The Mary Sue (@TheMarySue) February 16, 2015
Alas, it did not come to pass. But the ladies were out in full force last night as Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Jane Curtin helmed the anchor desk for Weekend Update.
…with special guests Emma Stone (doing Gilda Radner’s Roseanne Roseannadanna) and McCarthy (Chris Farley’s Matt Foley).
The first full sketch of the night was one of my old favorites – Jeopardy. And they managed to squish more people in than usual.
I’m a fan of Jerry Seinfeld already so I may be biased but I felt his Q&A with the audience was one of the best bits of the night considering the range of people he was able to talk to in the audience. It was also a fun game to play watching the audience to see who was actually there.
But it was Ellen Cleghorne for the win, bringing up SNL’s diversity issues in a roundabout way (and it wasn’t the only time this was mentioned during the show).
The most awkward sketch of the night goes to…
…The Californians. I haven’t watched SNL in a while so I may just not be “getting” this one but oof was it tough to watch. Though it did contain one of the best moments of the show – Betty White making out with Bradley Cooper.
Runner up for most awkward moment of the night might go to Eddie Murphy. After a fantastic introduction from Chris Rock, the comedian basically walked out, said a few lines, then basically looked at his watch like, “Ok, we said we’d be done by now.”
There was a politics segment with a great many impressions.
For me, the most interesting segment of the night was the auditions clips.
We got to see our favorite SNL cast members as itty-bitty babies, but also got a quick look at some famous folks who didn’t make the cut.
The digital short segment proved what I’ve know all along, Jimmy Fallon is the worst at live sketch comedy.
Most entertaining segment goes to the look back at musical sketches…
…which most noticeably featured Bill Murray reviving Nick Ocean. It was truly epic.
And for the more professional musicians who appeared last night, Paul McCartney was Paul McCartney. Miley Cyrus surprisingly performed Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.” Surprising since Paul Simon was actually in attendance and also because it was a refreshingly calm performance from her. Then Paul Simon performed and disappointed everyone by not playing “Wrecking Ball.” Kanye West, however, pulled out a… unique performance, doing a medley of songs which also included Sia and Vic Mensa. West also played a roll in the Wayne’s World sketch, making fun of his award interruptions, but which also reminded everyone of that time the musician stood next to Mike Myers on the live Katrina fundraiser and went off script, telling the world George W. Bush didn’t care about black people. And well, I think Myers might have been enjoying it quite a bit.
Wayne’s World 3 anyone?