“Saturday Night Live” Used To Be A Comedy Show
Remember when Saturday Night Live was funny? When you’d hurry home to switch on NBC, to see what kind of craziness the cast had cooked up that week?
Me too. But it’s been years since I did that.
I spent a chunk of yesterday watching vintage SNL clips from the 1970s, ‘80s and 90s and early 2000s.
Zaniness and genius. Week after week.
Chevy Chase as the klutzy President Gerald Ford. Dan Ackroyd as the sweet, but ineffective Jimmy Carter. Dana Carvey as George H.W. Bush. Phil Hartman as the irrepressible Bill Clinton.
I rewatched the Blues Brothers, Will Ferrell’s “Celebrity Jeopardy!”, Chris Farley’s “Living In a Van Down By The River,” Eddie Murphy’s “James Brown in a Hot Tub,” and Christopher Walken’s deadpan classic, “More Cowbell.”
It struck me as I watched these brilliant performances that they all had one thing in common: a good-natured sense of humor.
Even when the cast was lambasting a politician they stopped this side of meanness. The comics instinctively knew where to draw the line.
Today’s profoundly unfunny SNL cast members are lacking not only in talent but in boundaries.
You know where this is going.
Last Saturday night the show deliberately catapulted across an invisible line of decency.
It happened during the “Weekend Update” segment. Several photos of political candidates flashed on the screen and SNL’s Pete Davidson made fun of their looks. You know, like a third grader.
When Davidson came to Dan Crenshaw, who’s running for Congress from Texas’ 2nd Congressional District, this “comic” mocked a man who wears an eye patch where his right eye used to be.
Davidson said Crenshaw looked “kinda cool” but added that the viewers would be “surprised he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hitman in a porno movie.”
Over the peals of laughter from the audience Davidson giggled, “I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war or whatever.”
Yeah, whatever. A highly decorated Navy SEAL, who was deployed five times and lost an eye when an IED blew up in his face in Afghanistan, was the target of cheap laughs on a long-past-its-prime TV show.
Davidson isn’t a comedian. He’s a punk.
And SNL isn’t a comedy show anymore, it’s a self-indulgent pageant for flaccid millennials lacking taste and common sense.
As uncouth as the early cast members were, it’s impossible to imagine any of them thinking war wounds were hilarious.
I miss the old SNL. Our country could use a good laugh right now. Well, we know where we won’t get it: On NBC on Saturday nights.