SNL is as mainstream as you can get. It has to be broad. It needs to be funny to 15-year olds and 50-year olds. To people in Nebraska and on the coasts. A lot of what flies at an alt show in Brooklyn or at UCB would never be "got" by this kind of huge, mainstream audience.
It's strange when you live in NYC and see these people perform elsewhere. The improv at ASSCAT is often way funnier than what you see on SNL skits. Two of the funniest standups around (Mulaney and Hannibal) write for SNL, yet hardly anything on the show is as funny as their standup. My take on why that's so: Being funny to 200 people in the same room is way different than being funny to 30 million people all over the country.
Hipster-cool and cutting edge isn't a possibility in that context. (Maybe the original SNL achieved that, but the landscape's changed a lot since then.) So SNL consciously shoots for skating the line between mildly subversive and acceptable to the mainstream.
Like I said, I get where the disappointment comes from. I don't really laugh when I watch the show. But I also get that it's not targeted at me. And I respect the difficulty of the dive being attempted.
So next time someone bitches about the lame job Lorne Michaels does, think about the mission he's trying to accomplish. It ain't an easy one.
As for Slategate: Who the fuck cares?
Labels: about standup
Permalink | 9/28/2009