“And live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”
Those iconic words are what open every episode of Saturday Night Live and now six new people are going to have the opportunity to say them. This season, SNL has brought in six featured players as a result of the departure of Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis and later this season Seth Meyers, the head writer. This is following the addition of three new full-time cast members last season after more former cast members left.
To many of us, it feels like an almost entirely new cast and new era of SNL. With six out of the 10 members of the current cast having joined within the last three years, most of the cast that our generation knew is gone.
But, with every new era comes one common theme: criticism.
The newer members of the cast will obviously still be getting into the swing of things, even with their already impressive comedy backgrounds to help them. Not only will they have the stress of being on a show that is watched live across the country, but they have the added pressure of filling the holes left by the incredibly talented players from the past.
Their timing will probably be a little rough and the jokes themselves might fall flat, but we, as the viewers, need to stop proclaiming every season that has an influx of new cast members as “the worst season ever,” and need to start cutting them some slack instead.
What these people do is difficult. They are the best of the best and they have to prove that every week. The planning for one live show on Saturday night is a grueling, weeklong process that requires sacrifice and is a strain on creativity.
It's important to remember, especially at Virginia Tech where engineering and other sciences are so prestigious, that just because something doesn’t relate to math or science doesn’t mean it’s not difficult.
There seems to be a general mentality that excelling in math and sciences is what makes a person “smart,” but that is not always the case. You may be able to do complicated math problems in your head, but someone else could write a 5-minute sketch 30 minutes before show time and actually produce something entertaining. Both are entirely impressive tasks that take practice and intelligence to accomplish. And they are equally difficult.
People find it easy to criticize things like art and writing because it seems simple to them, but it’s not. For people who rely on creativity for their profession, it can feel like you have to force material and ideas just to continue doing your job.
Creative types can’t gather their material from experiments or studies; it all has to come from within.
To be on the level of comedians and writers on SNL requires the same amount of skill, practice and brainpower as any other demanding profession, if not more.
Intelligence can come in all shapes and sizes and we can’t just glorify one kind.
This new season of SNL may be rough and uncoordinated, but before we scoff at how “bad” it has become, we all need to ask ourselves: “Could we do what they do?”