It’s Live and From New York, But Is It New?

“New York’s hottest new club is called, ‘Copycat.’ And it has everything: Glow sticks, red bouncy balls, women dressed like Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, Spud Webb and a Ground Mine.

What’s a Ground Mine?

It’s when someone watches a funny sketch by The Groundlings and they say ‘mine!'”

There have been reports this week that sketch giants Saturday Night Live (SNL) stole a Tina Turner routine they performed last weekend from the famed Los Angeles sketch comedy group The Groundlings. After watching the skits side-by-side, it seems virtually indisputable that SNL didn’t lift the sketch. In normal circumstances, it could possibly be a coincidence. Well, actually, not true. But the reason why this is such a big deal right now is that SNL (celebrating its 40th anniversary) has been barely treading water the past couple years. This creative comedy problem has been exacerbated by the departures of Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen, Nasim Pedrad and head writer/Weekend Update anchor Seth Meyers.

Plus, the co-creator of Stefon and veteran SNL writer John Mulaney left the show to write and star in his Sunday night FOX sitcom Mulaney with SNL alum Pedrad.

Despite the major cast shakeup following the end of last season, SNL still has some quality performers, like Kenan Thompson, Jay Pharoah, Taran Killam, Vanessa Bayer, Bobby Moynihan and Aidy Bryant. However, Weekend Update newcomer Michael Che is far too amused by his own jokes and the cast (in a broad sense) is lacking that special spark that fans tune in for on a late Saturday night. The expectation for gut-busting laughs is at a very low, low level. The writing has also been geared more towards flat-out opinions with an agenda about certain topics and people instead of playful, cleverly disguised comedic jabs at anybody and everybody.

Fortunately, impressionist extraordinaire Bill Hader is hosting this Saturday night with musical guest Hozier. This means (in 99.99% likelihood) a return of Stefon to the Weekend Update desk. Thank goodness! And it also means that the sketches including Hader should be laugh-out-loud hilarious, with a possible surprise guest star or two (cough-cough, his movie co-star Kristen Wiig…)?

Unfortunately, such a quick return from Hader indicates that SNL is trying to rejuvenate its audience with a past favorite. To be fair, Hader did just release a critically acclaimed drama, The Skeleton Twins, so the booking is legit and appropriate timing wise. However, like the sketch scandal, it just appears like SNL wants to stop treading water for a couple hours and instead climb into Samberg’s nearby boat with its recently departed cast members for some relaxed laughs for a change.

And judging by SNL’s current struggles, they have to be hoping that 40 turns out to be the new 30.

(P.S. Look for Saturday Night Live to lampoon itself over the scandal with The Groundlings this weekend)

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Posted on October 8, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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