I know, you're thinking, "Wait, Saturday Night Live has sucked since 1994. It's definitely not overrated. It just sucks." And that's true, but what I mean is that SNL is overrated by the people who work on it, especially Lorne Michaels, but also everyone else.
There was a time when SNL was the arbiter of comedy in America. There was a time when SNL was avant garde and walked the edge of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, and hysterical and vulgar. That time was 1979. Since about 1995 the show has sucked (with the Ferrell exception, of course), and I'll tell you why. First of all, the staff takes themselves way too seriously. If you've seen the like 60 minutes "a week in the life of SNL" piece, or the Iconoclasts show with Lorne Michaels and Paul Simon, or even if you've ever seen an episode of Studio 60, then you know what I mean. They still think that the shit they do is cutting edge. The last cutting edge skit they did was in 1970 something when Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase called each other racial slurs.
They think that the political skit they do at the front of the show is somehow changing the way Americans see the country. It's not. In fact most of the time there's about one laugh per 3 minutes in that opening sketch. If we're lucky, the first sketch of every show will be funny. If we're not, then the whole show sucks. I gotta give it up to my boy, Andy Samberg, who has been the funniest guy on the show for the last couple years. Those Digital Shorts are where their best material has come from over the past couple seasons. But if that doesn't hit, then you know the whole show is going down quickly.
Here's what I don't get. They take all week writing this show. They have a full staff or writers, a whole cast of performers, prodcuers and what not, and by and large the show sucks every week. I mean, these guys' job is to sit around and think of funny shit. Your whole job is to write a funny skit and, by and large, the majority of skits absolutely suck. How is this possible? You seriously can't just sit down and write a funny skit? If every writer wrote one actually funny skit per week, then the show would be hysterical. Instead, they churn out garbage. The show is nearly unwatchable after Weekend Update.
By the way, there is a separate writing staff for Update. As if Update is what's making people tune in to the show. As if Update is somehow the most important pice of the program. Guess what, Update sucks. Again in about 20 Update jokes, perhaps 3 are funny. That's a poor percentage. You're batting .150. And why do we have to watch those endless "opinion pieces" by the non-anchors. Only 1 in 10 of those is funny.
And you have to see the behind the scenes shit. They're standing there in front of the board with all the possible skits and what not deciding what should go where as if the fate of the world was resting on their shoulders and they're really just standing there trading garbage for garbage.
Those motherfuckers need far more structure. They need to work during the fucking daytime during the week. They need to submit a funny sketch per week, and they need to put on a show that will be entertaining for its entire run tme. If they can't write 90 minutes of funny shit, why don't they just cut the show down to an hour? At this point there's about 5 minutes of funny and 85 minutes of filler. They need to get rid of the guys who aren't funny right away. Perfect example, Horatio Sanz. That motherfucker was on the show for like 7 years. In those seven years he was never ever once funny. Not a single time. How is that possible?
The best episode of the last 10 seasons was last year's Christmas episode, with Justin Timberlake as host. They had funny skits all throughout that show. The Target lady was funny, the Cup O' Soup guy, the Barry Gibb Talk Show, the kids who danced in the cave ("You just got served, cave creature" and "Keep on dancin', Jo Jessica"), and who can forget Dick In A Box. It is beyond me why every episode can't be that funny.
And the bitch of it is that their cast right now is actually really good. Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen, Kenan Thompson, Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, Kristen Wiig, all those guys are really funny. But they just don't make it work moset of the time. Watching SNL is like watching the Mets during September most of the time. You know that it should be funny, and you watch every time hoping that this time they'll realize their potential, but alas, they are mired in the muck, and there's just no hope.
I am confident that the reason this show sucks is because of Lorne Michaels. The way he runs the show is not conducive for bringing out the funny shit in people. The list of people who were on that show and did nothing and then left and blew the fuck up is astounding. Julia Louis Dreyfus sucked in her time there. Larry David, Larry fucking David, was a staff writer and never got a single skit on the air. Jay Mohr was in the cast for a season or two and sucked (yes Jay Mohr is goddamned hysterical otherwise, lest you were wondering). Chris Rock was never, ever funny on that show. Damon Wayans was in the cast for a season or two (did you even know that? Probably not.), and then he went on to do shit that was way funnier than SNL at the time on In Living Color. Sara Silverman was on the cast for a while (maybe she's an acquired taste, but I find her hilarious), did nothing. These people are funny. It's not a coincidence that the show kept them from being funny.
Their problem is that they're lazy. They put on one funny skit, and then they kill it with repeated skits in later shows. Or they'll put on a skit with a good premise that isn't completely written yet. Then what you get is about 20 seconds of funny and 3 minutes of "when is this going to end?". Let's take the two A-Holes as an example. The first time that skit was on, Christmas 2005, Jack Black hosting, it was hi-sterical. Since then it's been on like 4 or 5 more times. It's one premise that made one good skit, and then they brought them back again and again. The whole thing is really one joke. Once they did it once they had to bastardize it in order to get anything out of it. The whole, "you look like a rabbit" thing is funny, but then in order to make it work on the 4th time you actually have to have a picture of a rabbit hanging on the wall and Kristen Wiig saying that the picture of a rabbit looked like a rabbit. Not funny. Write a new sketch.
And stop taking yourselves so goddamned seriously. And be more funny.