I Had A Surreal, Inspiring Dream About Lorne Michaels

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I love to be creative just to be creative. I am known to write song lyrics even though there’s absolute no point to do it. I mean, it’s not as if I’m ever going to write lyrics to a song — I don’t even know anything about music. I still have a lingering idea to buy a guitar and try to write one pop song that sells.

Lorne Michaels

Anyway, a few nights ago, I had a VERY VIVID dream involving Lorne Michaels. I dreamed I was working at SNL and, I don’t know, I was doing something at the show where I had to talk to him about a sketch I had written.

So, it has occurred to me that it would be fun to write sketches for myself and post them to this blog. I have long been interested in writing a movie, but it had never occurred to me to try to write a sketch.

I have no idea if I’m going to actually do this, but it’s something I my actually attempt. And given that I’m 100% extroverted if I’m ever going to practice laying out a screenplay then writing a sketch and posting them here would be practice.

Or not. It’s just something to think about.

John Mulaney As The Darkhorse Candidate To Replace Lorne Michaels At SNL

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Ahh, the dead of summer when absolutely nothing happens I find myself scrounging for any possible angle on any possible interesting subject to see if unusual locations pop up in my Webstats. The people coming from exotic locales like the Maldives and Seychelles Islands are the coolest because I feel like I’ve caught the attention of the Power Elite for just a moment. (This is very pathetic, but fuck you. Wink)

Things really are pretty dull at the moment.

So, here we are — in a few years, Lorne Michaels has suggested that he will retire from SNL. I’ve heard rumors that the 2025 season will be it for SNL. NBCUniversal will pull the plug and walk away.

And, yet, maybe not? The most obvious candidate to replace Michaels would be Tina Fey. But she’s a movie star and probably doesn’t want the gig. Then there’s Seth Meyers. He’s young enough and knows the show well enough that he could at least take up a part of Michaels expansive mantle.

If he doesn’t want the gig, then…maybe John Mulaney? The numbers jibe pretty well age wise — Michaels was 30 when SNL started and Mulaney is about 39 now, if my brief, lazy Google search was right. Mulvaney’s comic sensibilities are in total lock step with SNL and he would be perfect.

But we all know how the real world works — just because it would make sense for Mulaney to get the gig, doesn’t mean the NBCUniversal suits won’t look for someone else. I could see someone like Lin-Manuel Miranda being offered the gig for a few years in between Michaels and Mulaney’s tenures.

Or not. What do I know. I’m just bored and this is interesting to write about.

Imagining Life Without ‘Saturday Night Live’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It definitely seems as though there’s a greater-than-zero-sum chance that Saturday Night Live might end with its 2025 season. It’s not unprecedented for long-running TV shows to call it quits, but for a signature show like SNL to wrap things up at its 50th year would be a Huge Deal.

What would it be like without SNL in the modern era?

As an Old, the thing I’ve noticed is how quickly the Youngs forget what has come before. So, within five or so years, there would begin to be the occasional wave of younger people who would discover this or that SNL sketch and ask Olds whatever happened to it and why it stopping being aired.

There might be talk of either brining it back or another network doing something similar, but SNL has always been something of magic in a bottle and I just can’t imagine any new, similar show being as much of an institution. SNL is so old that it harkens back to the era when there were only three TV channels, music was good and the figures of Watergate were household names.

Do I think SNL is going to shuffle off this media coil?

That is a very good question. If how the real world works is any guide, what will happen is this — Lorne Michaels will retire. NBC suits will come after the show and there will be a lot, and I mean A LOT, of chatter about it being on the cusp of being canceled once and for all.

This will cause a huge amount of blowback within Hollywood and for a few days (weeks?) it will be the thing that everyone talks about on Twitter, YouTube and podcasts. Tom Hanks may have to step in and say, “Nope, not going to allow that to happen, NBC.”

And then, NBC suits will be like, “Oh, we would NEVER cancel SNL! You guys are so silly!”

The mad scramble to figure out how will replace Michaels will begin. And, in the end, it probably will be Seth Meyers, even though Tina Fey will always be floating around, as if she might take over if necessary.

But, I can’t predict the future. Who knows what may happen.

Could SNL Just…End…After It Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary?

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Saturday Night Live finds itself in an interesting situation as it approaches its 50th anniversary. On one hand, it is doing quite well and has more cultural significance than ever for a legacy TV show. A whole new generation of people have discovered the show and there’s every reason to believe it is set for another 50 years of comedic success.

And then there’s the issue of Lorne Michaels telling everyone he wants to leave the show after its 50th anniversary in a few years.

It’s my impression that this is some chatter among the higher ups at NBCUniversal that they want to end the show once and for all for this or that reason. And I’ve reached the age where I know that SNL could very well end and in a few years a lot of young people would discover it and ask, “Whatever happened to that show? It seemed like a lot of fun.”

This is all very speculative and highly unlikely to happen. What’s more likely to happen is there will be a lot of talk about the show ending, but in the end, someone like Seth Meyers will take over some of Michaels’ role while a number of other elements are handed off to SNL stalwarts.

That would be the logical thing to do. But there have been plenty of other really long-running shows that ended and they’re barely a memory now. But I would be flabbergasted if even the harshest critics of the show at NBCUniversal would do something so draconian as to just cancel it.

But, who knows. Only time will tell.

SNL Is…Actually Good Now?


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

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.

SNL.

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.

I Wonder What Lorne Michaels Thinks About ‘The Slap’


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I don’t think we talk about how powerful Lorne Michaels is in the world of comedy. He has built SNL up from the ground up to the point that he can make or break careers simply by hiring or not hiring you.

Michaels knows everyone worth knowing in showbiz and Chris Rock is firmly a part of the SNL extended family, so I’m sure he’s spoken to Rock extensively since The Slap took place.

Now, logically, since SNL would go all-in on The Slap this coming Saturday since they have a new show this weekend. But I’m sure there are a lot of showbiz politics reasons why this might not happen. This weekend is an eternity in media terms.

And I will note that The Tonight Show — which Michaels produces — barely mentioned the incident. If that’s not a sign that Rock might want to just put this all behind him — and Smith — then I don’t know what is.

So, it’s possible that while there might be some reference to The Slap on this weekend’s SNL — probably during Weekend Update — overall it will be considered distant enough in the past that nothing is really said about it directly in terms of sketches.

Why Seth Meyers Is My Top Pick To Replace Lorne Michaels At SNL


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

So, it appears as though 2025 is going to be the end of an era — and the beginning of a new one — for SNL. It will be the show’s 50th anniversary, and, if Lorene Michaels is to be believed, he’s retiring from the show that year as well.

I have long thought that Tina Fey would be the perfect person to take the show into its second 50 years. Of course, Kenan Thompson is probably the best pick to get the gig but for one thing — he just comes across as way too nice. Even though he’s been at the show about 20 years, does he have it in him to herd the cats of SNL? I could see him being given a largely ceremonial role as “Executive Producer” at the show — he would do the “Lorne Michaels”-type gags the show has had since the beginning, while someone else would actually knock heads behind the scenes to get the show done every week.

While Tina Fey would be ideal, maybe the allure of Hollywood would remain too strong for her to spend all her time running SNL? As such, the one person who could do the job for the next 20 or 30 years is Seth Meyers.

Seth Meyers, the future of SNL?

He’s doing a great job at Late Night, but he’s sort of languishing there. Why not give him the job he was born to do — run SNL? That would open up the Late Night gig and you could put a woman or minority or minority woman in the slot to placate “woke” Twitter. I think he already has some producing experience with Documentary Now! Or not. Not sure about that.

Anyway, we’ll see I guess.

John Mulvaney, Olivia Munn & SNL As Celebrity Dating Service


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The news that John Mulaney is Oliva Munn’s new baby daddy has got me thinking about how old this whole imbroglio has me feeling. Though, given Munn is 41, I think it’s safe to say what happened was she wanted a baby and she “accidently on purpose” get pregnant while she still could. (You go, girl.)

Anyway. I feel old because when I was growing up, SNL was just a TV show. Yes, I remember in the late 70s staying up way, way, way past my bedtime to watch the original Not Ready For Primetime Players, but otherwise, this business of Lorne Michaels becoming a celebrity matchmaker leaves me scratching my head.

What the what?

What about my old cultural friend would lead it to be some sort of celebrity dating service? All I can think of is a LOT of celebrities like having a direct link to the show given how culturally important it is now and how pretty much every celebrity alive passes through its doors at some point in their career.

And, for some reason, SNL’s behind the scenes office politics is legitimately interesting. I have no idea why, but I think some of it has to do with it’s interesting to hear the wild behavior of the show’s larger-than-life cast members.

Though, in passing, it’s so interesting that Great Britain doesn’t have an SNL-like show. Or, put another way, there’s no live show in the UK that is so good that it has become a cultural touchstone for global English speakers.

That’s A Pretty Big Ask, Lorne



by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Apparently, Lorne Michaels is asking his current group of Not Ready For Primetime Players to sign three year contracts so they will all be there for the big 50th Anniversary season — when, presumably, Michaels with retire.

That’s a pretty big ask, in my opinion.

A sizable chunk of the SNL players have been on the show for a long, long time. I understand that Michaels wants to end his time with the show on a high note, but…really? I dunno. The last show of the season last year definitely seemed to indicate that almost everyone on the show was about to leave.

But, who knows.

All I do know is once Michaels leaves, the entire show is going to be throw into a severe crisis for no other reason than TV execs usually screw up a good thing because they’re metrics are all out of whack compared to the audiences.

Lorne Michaels Plans On Retiring In 2025: Who’s Likely To Succeed Him?


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Lorne Michaels gave an interview recently where he said 50-ish years at SNL was enough. The show first aired in 1975, so it’s reasonable to assume he’s going to retire in 2025. (He DID step away from the show for a few years in the 80s, so I guess he has some wiggle room if he wants to hang on longer.)

So, who is going to replace him? I keep writing about this because I love SNL and Michaels is such a specific-type person that it’s difficult to imagine anyone doing the show in the same way he has over the decades. But, here goes. I’m going to try to be a bit more detailed in this post than I have in my previous half-assed posts on this subject.

Tina Fey
Fey seems like the tough-as-nails broad who could keep the post-Michaels SNL humming along as if nothing had happened. And, yet, should would probably be a transitional figure. She has a Hollywood career and running SNL would be a career topper for her. She knows the show inside and out and, despite a weird tone deafness sometimes on race, her comic sensibilities are pitch-perfect for modern America.

Amy Poehler
She’s another bad ass bitch who would strike fear into the hearts of the young comics who are the heart-and-soul of the show. She did well working with Broad City and, as such, is probably a pretty good manager.

Seth Meyers
He’s young and knows SNL really well, so he might see running SNL as a real step up from languishing in late night TV. I mean, it’s not like he’s going to take over the Tonight Show — Jimmy Fallon has that gig wrapped up until the sun goes dark. Meyers seems like the “cool dad” who could step in to SNL longer term and remake it into something more modern.

Kenan Thompson
He’s perfect to take over running the show but for one thing: he just seems too nice. He would be a perfect person to replace Michaels in those skits where he hams it up, but I find it difficult to imagine Thompson being able to herd the cats of SNL each week. But he definitely knows the show, having been there 20 years. So, I dunno?

Wildcard: Lin Manuel Miranda
Usually, when TV execs find themselves in the position of replacing a legendary figure like Lorne Michaels, they do something really weird that makes no sense. So, it’s easy to imagine someone young and talented like Miranda being tapped to replace Michaels. I think he would do a great job, but he does have a burgeoning Hollywood career, so, who knows.

Wildcard: Phoebe Waller-Bridge
But for her being British and having a huge Hollywood career ahead of her, I would say Waller-Bridge would be the perfect person to run SNL because she’s young, hip and could really take the show to the next level. But, I think this suggestion has more to do with me stanning her than any real possibility of it happening.

Wildcard: Someone We Don’t Know Who Knows The Show
Since SNL has been on for 50 years, there are probably many, many people who could take over for Michaels and the show would continue on as if he never left. It’s just they’re not name-brand people, they’re behind the scenes types who just have worked there long enough — and are strong enough managers — that they could take over without anything really changing.