Saturday Night Live (SNL) has entered its 42nd season this fall on NBC with simply hilarious material. SNL has illuminated TV screens at 11:30pm on Saturday nights for three decades. With live skits, celebrity hosts, musical guests, and a cast of genius comedians, SNL has accomplished what many TV shows have often failed to do: staying alive. Led by producer Lorne Michaels, SNL has become a cultural staple of American entertainment. Filming live on Saturday nights (hence the name), it brings an original air to entertainment, capturing all the mistakes, genuine laughs, and breaks in character. It has helped mold comedic icons such as Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Chris Farley, and so many more. SNL has a unique ability to transcend the limits of a pixelated screen to appear as if the cast is performing the skit right in front of you, rough around the edges, nothing held back, just like comedy should be. When Lin-Manuel Miranda hosted the show, he told of the many Saturday nights he spent around the TV, laughing with his whole family, dreaming of one day being on this seemingly magical show.
Due to its live filming, SNL is able to keep up with pop culture, especially politics. This 42nd season has centered around raucous imitations of the three 2016 presidential debates featuring Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton, and Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump. While following the events of the debates seamlessly, the two hilariously impersonated the presidential candidates, playing off of their odd idiosyncrasies. With some edgy humor, SNL generates laughs based on campaigns that in reality have generated quite the opposite reactions. Baldwin has brought levity through his portrayal of Donald Trump while McKinnon nails the awkwardness and scripted feel of Hillary Clinton. The mock debates were three ridiculously funny, must-watch videos that will make you laugh until you realize much of the content was directly from the real debates. With other SNL skits ranging from a Family Feud parody to a faux-local news report, returning cast members Leslie Jones, Kenan Thompson, and Beck Bennett always lead the way with their outstanding performances, while newcomers like Melissa Villaseñor look to leave their mark on this venerable show. Also, so far this season, musical guests the Weeknd and Bruno Mars have performed their new songs Starboy and 24K Magic respectively, contributing to the fresh content of this 36 time Emmy Award winning show.
Even if your social life or lack of sleep lead you away from the TV on Saturday nights, SNL has a YouTube page where you can check out the skits. If you have not seen SNL before, I recommend you at least try it out, and if you watch it regularly, well keep enjoying the most unique, longest running live show on television. Comedy has a unique ability to unite, to cheer up, to distract, and to enthrall; SNL does all this and more. Tune in on Saturday nights.