Is It Time For a Change At 'SNL'?

This week's Entertainment Weekly included an article about the current state of Saturday Night Live, in which Ken Tucker argued that Tina Fey's ever popular impression of Sarah Palin is hurting more than helping the show. As the rest of the show becomes increasingly unfunny, Tucker concludes that "now more than ever, [SNL] needs more hit bits that can be sliced and posted everywhere, instantly, to maintain cultural significance." What's interesting is that an election year is supposed to be prime for the show. With all of the characters that have come out of this election, they have done an excellent job so far. But the problem doesn't rest there. The majority of the show after the political sketch of the week is starting to feel increasingly sour. People tend to find faults with the show itself, claiming that it is failing to match the glory days when each sketch was a national treasure in itself. However, in my opinion, our culture has adapted itself to the point that we can no longer get our kicks out of sheer...goofiness. We've come to expect a brand of smart, wry humor that doesn't seem to fit with the format of Saturday Night Live anymore. One of the rare exceptions to this is the Weekend Update segment. While the anchors seem to be constantly changing (Amy Poehler, one of the current anchors, will leave for good once she goes on maternity leave), it always seems to find it's way back to cultural relevance. In other words, to answer Ken Tucker's original question, that's where the funny is after 11:45. This past Thursday, the first in a series of three Weekend Update Thursdays premiered on NBC. It encompassed all of the good parts of the current SNL while condensing down to a more consumable format and remaining evenly funny throughout. This begs the question: is SNL ready to change their format after all these years? Or should they keep the old one intact, but try to skim down the inane, irrelevant sketches?
picture from telegraph.co.uk

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