Monday, May 18, 2009


This Saturday we went to the dress rehearsal of Saturday Night Live. It was a great show. Will Ferrel hosted. Green Day was the musical guest. Tons of guest appearances (Tom Hanks, Norm MacDonald, Amy Poehler). But you know that if you watched the broadcast.

I've been watching SNL since 1982 but that night I saw a very different show than I'd ever seen before. I'd expected quick costume changes and the house band to cover most of the commercial breaks. But I was stunned by how they use that space. Walls went up in one corner as others were being taken down. Every inch is used over and over again. Weekend Update uses the same space as the monologue. The crew there is the most well oiled machine I've ever seen.

The dress rehearsal is two hours. Although the sets and costumes are all equally polished they know that three or four of these sketches are going to disappear. Even in this economy, the budget has that much wiggle room. Comedy needs more than it needs. Because a lot of it isn't going to survive.

Drucker gave us a tour after the taping. The halls were tight and filled with people as famous as you get and as unknown as me. I almost ran into Sean Penn turning a corner. This is a place that 35 years later is still in the center of show business.

I don't know that I'll ever work there. I don't know that I'll ever be back. Yet, I understood it. In the end, it's all still comedy. The warm-up is the same as hosting a bringer at a club. The sketches are the same as an improv group at The P.I.T. Jokes bomb, tags save sinking punchlines. It's as good as you get and as professional as can be but it's not a different animal.

Here's possibly the best sketch from the night:


Anonymous said...

I went to a one too..... with The Rock as host, I didn't crack a smile once...the players laughed harder at themselves than the audience laughed at them....maybe I'm out of touch, no, I am out of touch but I laugh harder at Sponge Bob...(take your pick of kid cartoons) than that cast....

Renee said...

This season has been one of the stronger ones; it was really cool to see the "old-timers" come back to join in too...they fit right in and picked up the energy! I think that is whay people like Steve Martin and Will Ferrell are such good hosts; they have done it before! They also work well with the cast, which makes for a good show!

I was impressed with how great the sets and make-up are. It looks like some of the most elaborate sets were for schetches that were cut!
Also, so see folks with their "handlers" like the one hard-working woman who had to run off each scene leading Will Ferrell to this next eloborate costume, they can fit a lot of people in that tiny space! I thought stewardesses had to have a good sence of no-personal space!
The show was good and the experience a great one!
Thanks Drucker!