Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary Special

Word’s cannot describe how excited I was for this special, I mean I’ve been watching the show faithfully for at least twelve years and I at one time owned every single Best Of DVD you see in those bargain bins at movie stores. The kickoff seasons in the 1970’s are of course the very best and I assure you they hold up even today, but there have been a long list of hilarious moments over the years featuring some of the best minds in comedy like Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, Will Ferrell, and Tina Fey. So I made myself some spinach dip, opened a bottle of wine, and watched the stars pour out for an anniversary forty years in the making.

After Chevy Chase’s sweaty and nervous interview and Jim Carrey’s awkward zinger to NBC anchor Brian Williams, the show got underway with most suitably Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake doing a show history recap via rap. Then my all time comedy hero Steve Martin took the stage and invited a plethora of SNL guests to challenge him on what makes a good host. I mean, there was Tom Hanks, Billy Crystal, Alec Baldwin, Chris Rock, the list goes on and on. We all knew we were in for a great show.

After a reimagining of the classic Bassomatic sketch, we got a Celebrity Jeopardy holy grail with the triumphant return of Norm MacDonald as Burt Reynolds and Jim Carrey doing his spot on Matthew McConaughey impression. Then came The Californians to slow things down a bit. I don’t know why they insist on doing this sketch, because everyone on Internetland seems to hate it. We did get to see Betty White and Bradley Cooper make out, but was it really worth it?

I have to point out the array of celebrity guest stars that included Jerry Seinfeld, Robert De Niro, Zack Galifanakis, and Louis CK to introduce clips. The best by far was Jack Nicholson who has retired from acting and never makes guest appearances. Good to see he’s still kicking.

My favorite moment of the night was the musical number hosted by Martin Short and Beyonce (Maya Rudolph in her kick ass impression). We got to see the return of Joe Piscapo, Bill Murray, and of course the Blues Brothers (sort of). It was a rapid fire moment that nailed the audience with the best moments with our favorite characters like Adam Sandler’s Operman and Steve Martin’s King Tut. If you don’t know those ones, look them up this instant!

Let’s talk about Eddie Murphy. Chris Rock gave him quite an intro but it fell flat after he said all but two words and failed to properly throw the show to commercial break. I spent the last few days trying to come up with sketches they could have done like Buckwheat in heaven or Gumby on Celebrity Jeopardy but there’s no way he would have ever gone for that. He’s Eddie Murphy and frankly he hasn’t been Eddie Murphy since the mid nineties. So I expected nothing from him and that’s what I got. At least he was there.

How about the music? Gotta love the two Pauls! Both McCartney and Paul Simon sang some classics, but Simon was the clear winner with his always lovely “Still Crazy After All These Years.” Surprisingly it was Miley Cyrus who stole the show oddly singing a Paul Simon cover which she nailed. Then there was Kanye’s egocentric performance, but he was perfect in the Wayne’s World return sketch at the end of the evening where they kept telling him to sit down. Garth kept saying how he thought Beck was better than Beyonce. Bad move when Kanye’s around Garth. Party on.

We got a great tribute to everyone’s favorite Weekend Update and a hilarious digital short with “Andy Sandler” and “Adam Samberg” singing about cast members who break character. It was a nostalgic look back for fans and a crazy star studded evening even for New York. Fans have said there weren’t enough clips or look backs, but I’m very happy for that. We got to see new and old characters and cast members interact and do something new. You’d never say that at a concert, but you would at a comedy show. I think SNL killed it and I hope they keep on going for a long time. Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Written by Ryan Uytdewilligen


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