I’ve written about this before, but I am starting to get really worried about Saturday Night Live. SNL has been part of my routine since it first went on the air in the fall of 1975 (40 years…God!) with an incredible cast that included Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Jane Curtin. Bill Murray joined the cast in year two. It was magic and it was madness. There were the Coneheads, featuring Aykroyd and Curtin as two oversexed pointy-headed aliens. There were the wild and crazy Festrunk Brothers, (Aykroyd and Murray) recent emigres from Eastern Europe; the Killer Bees, Rosanne Rosannadana and Baba Wawa (Gilda Radner) and Gumby (Eddie Murphy). My favorite was Nick the Lounge Singer– a brilliant creation by Bill Murray. In its four decades, the show has always managed to revive itself after its stars went on to great movie careers (Murray, Aykroyd, Murphy, Wiig, and Ferrell) or to obscurity—remember Kevin Nealon or Joe Piscopo? But with the 2015 season already heading into reruns, it has been a long time between genuine laughs. Much has been written about the Donald Trump episode and how terrible it was, and it was awful—there wasn’t a single laugh-out-loud moment in it. It looked like–to use a Don Imus expression—a hostage tape. It wasn’t just Trump–after all he is not a comedian or at least not consciously so—there was no humour in the sketches that did not include Trump. To this observer the rot has been setting in for a while. Last month I tuned in to the show hosted by Matthew McConaughey thinking they can’t fail to have some fun with this guy, (I tape it now and watch it on Sundays—no more staying up as in the hedonistic 70’s) but the result was only a slight improvement over the Trump debacle. Kate McKinnon with her savage takeoff on Justin Bieber is the only reliable laugh getter still on the show. I suppose it’s unfair to expect a show to still be fresh after 40 years, but SNL is a cultural icon and producer Lorne Michaels is a Canadian, for heaven’s sake –two good reasons to get it together one more time.
In the aforementioned McConaighey SNL episode the musical guest was Adele—the British pop sensation. Watching her one is struck, of course, with the amazing quality of her singing voice and the moody, introspective lyrics. It’s easy to imagine her cool bearing carries over into real life—but not so. On You Tube there is an extended interview with Adele on the British version of the show 60 Minutes; and in that interview Adele is funny, unaffected, down to earth and warm. But most incredible after listening to her precise phrasing as she sings, is her down home Cockney accent, where the “th” sound is never heard—‘muvver’ (close female relative) ‘bruvver’ (male sibling), I ‘fink’ (a mental process), and so on. Quite amazing. Brilliant young performer.
It’s hard to believe but with our October edition, the Bay Observer completed 7 years of publication, thanks to our loyal readers and advertisers and the faith of some investors who made it all possible. They all have proven that print still works. Thanks to everyone associated with this venture, and a happy holiday and healthy and prosperous 2016 to all!