How Well Do You Remember These Iconic SNL Characters?
This week, NBC announced a first for Saturday Night Live, capping off what has been an excellent season, ratings-wise, for the 42-season-long show. Starting with season 43, the show will be broadcast live at the same time on both coasts. Rather than being three hours behind on the joke, the west coast will now enjoy whatever Alec Baldwin does with his Trump impression (provided he doesn’t retire it as he has threatened) or whoever the chameleon-like Kate McKinnon will target next along with the East. This news comes on the heels of the announcement that the show is branching out past late night and into primetime with a Daily Show-like Weekend Update. It’s been a glorious year for the show, the best in two decades. But praise it with caution. The show has become a weekly topic of conversation thanks to its Trump attacks (in part because the President himself is paying attention, in part because Jon Stewart‘s replacement on The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, has turned the show towards the path to insignificance), but its also the network and program that last year gave then-candidate Trump the medium to freely drop his pants and defecate on its legacy in service of ratings.
There’s no question that SNL has had extreme highs throughout its tenure, but they have been met with equally severe lows. The darkest periods come right after the best years. After the initial cast left to find stardom elsewhere, they left creator Lorne Michaels with a fledgling show that desperately needed to be refashioned of face cancellation. Since then, in between hits like Eddie Murphy, Phil Hartman, Will Ferrell, and Kristen Wiig, the show has always reverted to panic mode, trying to ride the cultural wave of the next big thing or face irrelevance. Throughout it all, however, it’s managed to create some of the most memorable characters of sketch comedy in history. Never one to not beat a dead horse, most of them recurred as often as possible.
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