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.

Joe Rogan’s Hatred Of SNL Is A Tell


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Because everything is fucked, we find ourselves in a situation where Joe Rogan is the voice for millions of mostly white mostly men who feel disenfranchise. What’s interesting is Rogan is a gateway drug to the fascist MAGA New Right. One of his quirk is he’s not exactly a fan of Saturday Night Live.

So, he brings on all these washed up, has been comics who also hate SNL. Rogan often asks leading questions about SNL in hopes that people will agree with him and shit on SNL.

It seems like this probably comes from Rogan’s secret longing to have been on SNL at some point in the past. SNL is a sink-or-swim workplace and this is something that is latched on by Rogan whenever he criticizes the show.

But the key thing is, Rogan’s hatred of SNL is a prism for us his overall worldview. Rogan is a standup comic who was a minor player on Newsradio decades ago. It’s just he’s lucky that he’s able to hide who he is by wrapping everything in an earnest masculinity that really appeals to bros who think they’re at risk of being canceled by “the woke cancel culture mob.”

Yet, I think we need to step back and appricate who Rogan really is. I would suggest that the best equivalent would be Jon Stewart at his height. Both men love the power they have, but whenever there’s any blowback on stray comment he makes, he falls back to “but I’m a comic!” as a defense.

Anyway, I dunno. The whole situation is annoying.

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.

How SNL Should Open This Weekend


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Given that The Tonight Show choked on Monday night when it came to addressing The Slap, I have every reason to believe that SNL will be similarly subdued on the subject.

And, yet, this is a great opportunity for some historic TV on the part of SNL. Here’s what I would do for the snow’s cold open:

We open with Lorne Michaels standing next to Chris Rock. The entire cast of SNL stands behind them. The two crack some jokes and Michaels gives Rock some words of advice and maybe a hug.

Then they all say “Live, From New York, It’s Saturday Night!”

The other option is the same open, but they give Rock a five minute set to address what happened.

I would be pretty amazed if anything like this happened, however.

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.

Kenan Thompson Could Save CNN’s 9 p.m. Primetime Slot


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I get why CNN is so obsessed with hard news interviews at 9 p.m. on weekdays. I get it. The soft interviews at that time slot that were the backbone of CNN from its inception, just isn’t how CNN views itself these days.

But given how shitty Chris Cuomo was at that hour, for this old fart at least, it would be nice to sit down and watch someone like SNL’s Kenan Thompson just be himself and have a laid back, friendly chat about the days news.

Thompson has been with SNL for about 20 years now and it’s unlikely he would leave the Peacock Network for any reason, but, ideally, this would be his show’s format five nights a week:

It would open with a cold open that Thompson produced with some SNL-like players about the day’s news. It would open the show and set its tone. Then the rest of the show would be three or so very casual, soft interviews that were very Larry King in nature.

Thompson is, in real life, a very soft spoken guy and I think audiences would love watching him learn about the days news with them. It would be a relaxing change of pace from the We’re All Going To Die tempo of most primetime cable nets primetime line ups.

But, lulz, what do I know.

Parasocial Cat People: Of The John Mulaney & Olivia Munn Discourse


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Not since the “Cat Person” discourse have we seen everyone have a hot take on a pop news event. It’s just about the right time of year for it, so here we are. First, let me say I wish the couple the best and I expect them to have a very hot, very funny child.

The way things are going, there should be a “SNL Babies” cartoon on the show about the hilarious hijinks of SNL cast members high-profile babies. Rug Rats meets Ambiguously Gay Duo, if you will.

But back to today’s baby daddy discourse.

Baby Daddy and his girl.

From what I’ve read, Olivia Munn is not some sort of crazed stalker woman who got pregnant to keep Mulvaney locked into her life for 18 years. Something about that particular Barstool Sports hot take is kind of…uh…racist? Seems to me, Munn sort of had love at first sight and when the opportunity came, it happend. Mulvaney seems very happy and so what’s the problem? Munn dates A-list Hollywood men and Mulvaney is, maybe, a solid B-. So it seems like a win-win for everyone.

A guy she really digs is now her baby daddy and Mulvaney has a preemo ladyfriend in his life for the foreseeable future. They’re both really funny and everyone’s happy so…what’s the big deal? And in passing, I would note that Mulvaney’s interview on Late Night was dark, funny and cathartic. Made for great TV, if nothing else.

Some of the intensity of this discourse, of course, comes from how a lot of people have become invested in Mulvaney’s public persona. “Parasocial” is a term I’ve seen a lot for this particular situation. I can’t think of a single living celebrity I have a parasocial relationship with. I’m the main character in my story, or at least try to be, for better or worse.

Though, to be fair, as I’ve grown older, I have come to believe that the reason why parasocial relationships exists with some celebrities is it’s kind of how our reality is constructed. It’s no different than the Greeks looking up the stars and thinking up stories about the goings-on on Mount Olympus. All those stories likely said more about real life sexual shenanigan than what was going on in the heavens.

But I will again note that all this Mulvaney drama happened just after he swooped in to give SNL bad boy Pete Davidson some avuncular guidance. It seems as though maybe instead looking into the abyss of Davidson’s life and seeing it as a warning, Mulvaney said, “I’d like to try that out!”

I find myself liking Munn more because of all of this. She seems like a lot of fun. It’s a great story to tell, in the sense that Mulvaney gives nerds like me hope that one day they can snag a beautiful, funny woman who one got nailed by Christ Pine!

I guess this was the fun little story I was looking forward to this year. Now back to my hysterical “doom shit” about the prospect of a civil war in January 2025.