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A Modest Proposal for Saturday Night Live: You Don’t Suck, You’re Just Airing the Wrong SNL Tape

Mr Bill from Saturday Night LiveWeb Watch has just finished watching this past weekend’s Saturday Night Live episode starring Gerard Butler.  THIS WEEK’S EPISODE CONTINUED TO PROVE THAT THE SHOW CAN BE FUNNY if they have a host that is versatile.

As is often the case, some of the skits were hit-or-miss.  Opening monologue and the Beauty and the Beast sketch were amusing, as is what usually happens when the cast throws some comedic music into the mix.

We enjoyed Weekend Update as always, and Keenan’s “What’s Up With That” bit was worth the effort the cast put into it (we’ll see that one again, we hope).  Butler may not have been the strongest host they’ve had, but he certainly didn’t embarass himself – and he showed that he was willing to do anything for a laugh.  No complaints about him at all.   The lack of Andy Samberg and an SNL Digital Short is a different issue, but we don’t have time to get into that today.

What was the more interesting thing to note about this week’s SNL is that BUDWEISER BOUGHT ALL OF SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE’S NATIONAL AD SPACE to promote their new Bud Light Golden Wheat beer.  Brilliant marketing move, with commercials that fit a late-night comedy show.  Whether it be Budweiser or some other company in the future – as long as it’s done properly, we welcome this type of creative thinking in the future.

But it was what the commercials were interspersed with that really got Web Watch’s attention, and we don’t recall having seen this in previous weeks’ SNL episodes:  they’re showing behind-the-scenes clips of segments filmed during various SNL dress rehearals over the years.

And the clips were funny.

And here’s the most obvious, glaring thing to note:  the skits that they were highlighting weren’t necessarily all that good when they made it to the final show.  But in dress rehearsal, they looked and sounded absolutely hysterical.

What happens between dress rehearsal and the final show has been documented elsewhere, but we know that skits go through final rewrites and edits, with some being cut from the final taping. 

Here’s our proposal:  Web Watch says why not just air a dress rehearsal episode for once?  The cast is loose and obviously having fun.  The audience is loving every minute.  It brings back memories of “anything can happen on Live TV” – from Laugh-In to Carol Burnett, where there was a sense of danger.  Not knowing who would break character or deviate from the script (if there was one).  Those clips represent the show that we hope we see every week, but it isn’t the show that makes it onto the air.

We understand that today’s SNL needs to stick to a strict schedule with regards to earn advertising dollars and set change timing.  But there’s nothing wrong with throwing out the cue cards or letting the cast ad lib once in a while.  Show the audience why those skits made it to air in the first place.  They must have been funny sometime during the week, and showing dress rehearsal footage just reinforces this.

Too bad we don’t always see it in the final product.  And unfortunately, pulling back the curtain to show us what could have been only makes us wish that’s what we are given in the first place.

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