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Horizon

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

Horizon

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

Horizon

Saturday Night Live Has Lost Its Comedy Factor

Saturday Night Live Has Lost Its Comedy Factor
Maha Ajmal

Long gone are the days where one could tune into Saturday Night Live on, well, a Saturday night, and expect to genuinely laugh. The show, which has aired since Oct. 11, 1975, was once renowned for its original, humorous skits; now, the show makes up for its lack of funny jokes by selecting popular and attractive celebrities as its rotating hosts. Simply put, SNL has lost its comedy factor. 

When SNL premiered on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) network 49 years ago, the original cast members were given the title of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players as a result of NBC’s competition with another late-night Saturday show; as a result, comedians like Gilda Radner, Dan Akroyd, Chevy Chase, Garrett Morris, Jane Curtin, John Belushi, and Laraine Newman worked diligently to ensure SNL earned its place as the superior late-night show. 

Over its 49 seasons, SNL has introduced a myriad of different comedians into its cast, with standouts including Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell, Bill Hader, Kenan Thompson, Kate McKinnon, and Adam Sandler, just to name a few (and in no particular order). These comedians, including those of the original cast, intended to set the show’s precedent for what it should be today: a series of sketches that incite real laughter out of audience members. 

 However, in recent seasons, most specifically season 47 and onward, the cast members of SNL have become almost unrecognizable outside of the show to the increasingly younger generations who watch it. Moreover, as skits become more centralized around pop culture and current events, as opposed to skit topics that are more timeless, SNL has evoked less laughs from its viewers as compared with past seasons. Senior Mae Dooling has observed this SNL phenomenon over season 49 thus far: “It is becoming clearer each week that SNL is losing its humor. As I watch, I always notice that the skits aren’t the same as they used to be.” 

SNL attempts to mask this declining comedic factor with the implementation of hosts and musical guests who appeal to their younger, mostly high-school aged, viewers. For example, on Dec. 16, 2023, SNL posted on its Instagram (@nbcsnl) that on Jan. 20 Jacob Elordi would host the show and Reneé Rapp would perform. While both of these celebrities are talented in their own right, neither of them is by definition a “comedian.” Although this episode was a hit in terms of viewer engagement, adults fake swooning over “Babygirl Jacob Elordi” is not as much of a knee-slapper as the SNL writers intended. 

Another factor influencing SNL’s recent lack of comedy is the absence of chemistry among cast members. Cast members in previous seasons used to be synonymous with their role on the show and also with the other cast members who were in the same season as them. Despite comedians like Michael Che and Colin Jost visibly working well together with their recurring “Weekend Update” skit, in which the two write jokes for each other, the same cannot be said of other cast members. “I believe that the cast years ago had better chemistry than the new cast members. There are some great skits from SNL, and I just don’t see those same quality [skits] as I used to in the past,” permanent substitute Michael Cerbelli shared. 

While the cast members play a large role in whether the show is funny or not, SNL’s recent flop is most greatly influenced by the quality of the jokes written and the audience they are written for. When SNL first aired in 1975, it was written for the young adults and adults who would watch the show; now it is written for the same age range of viewers, but the jokes are centered around younger generations. A high schooler will watch a Stanley Cup skit with a flat face, maybe an eye roll, but that kid’s parent will laugh at the skit poking fun at his child’s lifestyle. “By the time Gen Z has moved on from a joke, SNL has just started to incorporate it into a skit. I feel like the writers are trying too hard to make the show appeal to younger people when they should be focusing on what they are good at,” Dooling explained. 

Despite the show’s overall lack of comedy, SNL is not entirely a drag. Social studies teacher John Cornicello has been watching SNL for many years and now watches it regularly with his wife. “Even though they have been going through a rough patch, I still think that it is pretty funny. Not every episode/skit is a hit, but on the whole, you can find a good one each week,” Cornicello expressed. As SNL’s humor is currently a work in progress, viewers can hope to soon laugh again as long as the show retires its millennial-centered skits. 

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About the Contributors
Gianna Longo, Managing Editor
Hey there! My name’s Gianna, and I’m a member of the Class of 2025, along with many clubs here at LHS. In my spare time, you can find me on the stage, in the music wing, at my dance studio, or writing and editing for Horizon. Happy reading!
Maha Ajmal, Assistant Editor
Hi! I am a member of the Class of 2026 and an arts and graphics editor for Horizon. I am also a member of the Student Diversity club and the publicist for the Crafting Smiles club. In my free time, I like to paint and read.