by Shelt Garner
The old saying about SNL is it’s a mediocre restaurant at a great location and if there’s one thing about the show that is consistent — it’s how inconsistent it is. It usually inhabits the same comedic space as Bob Hope and Garfield: funny, but not THAT funny.
And the show has been around long enough that it goes through an ebb and flow. Sometimes it seems to simply exist because it always has existed and sometime it has something of a renaissance. The season, it seems, Lorne Michaels has decided to go back to the show’s Not Ready For Primetime Players roots.
Several times over the last two seasons, I’ve noticed the show has done far more edgy material. Usually, it’s really funny in the way SNL used to be funny way back in the 1970s when its type of humor was new and fresh. There is, of course, a danger to doing this.
There’s a reason why Bob Hope had a 50 year career — he was like warm milk and just kind of drifted through comedy, never being very provocative. The more provocative your humor, the less timeless it is. The addition of edgier performers like Sarah Sherman, Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang has really spiced things up of late.
If you really wanted to be optimistic, you might say this is all part of a broader “vibe shift” whereby we are entering a decade with some cultural grit and personality like, say, the 1980s
Or not. Only time will tell.