In one of the biggest entertainment events of the decade, SNL 40 reminded everyone why SNL has had such a monumental impact on America’s culture for the past 40 years. The three and a half hour special was a terrific tribute, showcasing the best sketches through the years and the people who made them great.
On his talk show Monday night, Seth Meyers ended his recap of the festivities thanking Lorne Michaels “for the incredible world he built,” which I believe really captures the significance of the show throughout the years. I mean, when you step back and look at the alumni who showed up, it’s mind-boggling how many stars came out of 30 Rock. Will Ferrell, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Chris Rock, John Belushi. The list goes on and on.
SNL 40 not only gave everyone the chance to recognize this but also to feel connected to the show’s history and all of its legendary sketches. That’s not to say the show was perfect, however; with SNL, it never has been and it never will be. Now for this review, rather than highlight the top five sketches, we’re gonna go through the highs and the lows so you get the full experience of the night. Here we go!
This sketch was pretty much a no-brainer to do, being one of the funniest sketches from the 2000s. The latest edition of Jeopardy was no different, just killing it again. Everyone did a terrific job with their characters, especially Jim Carrey’s McConaughey. But the original players stole the show, with Will Ferrell, Sean Connery, and of course, Turd Ferguson just doing it big per usual.
Marty and Beyoncé
The fact that SNL was able to commemorate the musical acts by actually performing them rather than throwing up another montage just reinforces how big this night was. Literally every star was there and even better, they were all willing to perform. Some of the highlights were Bill Murray’s Nick the Lounge Singer, Steve Martin’s King Tut, and Jason Sudeikis dancing his heart out in that red track suit.
This was fantastic solely because of the conversation between Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. Listening to them talking about how much money they made and the media landscape felt like I was watching an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Just absolutely hilarious. It was even better that the two of them have virtually no impact on SNL.
Watching the humble beginnings of the biggest names in comedy was unbelievably cool to see. SNL needs to release the tapes in their entirety as soon as possible. My personal favorites were the clips of Andy Samberg and Gilda Radner. And as much as I dislike Jim Carrey, even I know that snubbing him from the show has got to be one of the most outrageous decisions in SNL history.
This was the last sketch of the night, and one of the most popular. Mike Myers and Dana Carvey returned to list their top ten favorite things about SNL, covering all the essentials, from the fact that SNL is a live show to the wigs. We also got to see Wayne and Garth’s impressions of Lorne Michaels, which were apparently spot on based on the reaction from the audience. It was a fitting way to wrap up the show, especially with the recognition of the crew and all their unnoticed work that goes into making a live show.
This went on for waaaay too long and marked the first miscue of the show. It started off harmless enough, with Hader and Wiig reprising their Californian roles, However, this sketch reminds us that just because someone can do a silly voice, doesn’t mean that they should (*cough cough* Taylor Swift).
Eddie Murphy Tribute
After all the hype of his return to 30 Rock, Eddie Murphy fell completely flat on his face, with an incredibly uncomfortable tribute. Chris Rock started off strong, delivering a beautiful speech praising the immeasurable importance Eddie Murphy on the show’s success. Then, Murphy walked out to a standing ovation, just kinda stood there for a minute, said his thank yous, and then waited for the cameras to cut to commercial. No sketches, no Mr. Robinson, no nothing. It was disappointing and awkward all around.
A Few More Thoughts
Along with the sketches and video montages, the special was peppered with musical performances from Paul McCartney, Miley Cyrus, Paul Simon, and Kanye West. Naturally, Kanye’s performance was the talk of the town, as he sung “Jesus Walks” upside down while wearing weird contacts. A lot of people were rattled and even angry at the absurdity of his performance. I’m just gonna chalk it up as Kanye being a genius and my simple-minded brain not being able to comprehend the art behind his work. Just another reason he’s a self-proclaimed god and I’m not.
The running joke of the night was that Jon Lovitz was dead because he’s fallen so off the map. In reality though, Chevy Chase might actually be dead. He was just really fat and sweating all over the place. It was really upset to see, especially when they showed clips of him from the first season.
See you in a couple weeks when Dakota Johnson hosts what will surely be a disappointing episode following this 40th spectacular!