GORDON: …AAAAND LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS, IT’S WEDNESDAY NIGHT! Welcome one and all to this delayed installment of Gordon and Evan Talk. Our subject for tonight: How can we fix SNL.
EVAN: [And Toronto! . . .] Because, well, let’s face it. Saturday Night Live is not as good as it could be.
GORDON: Which is a real shame, considering the talent it produced during it’s early years. Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Andy Kaufman, Steve Martin- I could go on and on until I hit the early 90s.
EVAN: To be fair, I haven’t really watched a lot of the older SNL episodes, and certainly not that far back, but I’ve seen enough glimmers of goodness to know how good the show can be.
And yeah, now that you mention it, SNL used to be a factory that just cranked out the comedy talent. What happened?
GORDON: I really can’t say- I never watched the series religiously enough to be able to point to any specific point or change; I only know that unless you like Adam Sandler (I don’t), by the early 90s the show just wasn’t good anymore- barring the creation of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, for which we give thanks.
EVAN: And that we do. How about this: before we go forward to how it could be better, what do we like about it now? And there’s gotta be at least one thing.
GORDON: Like “What’s Up With That?” or “Celebrity Jeopardy.” The first time was hilarious. The fortieth time, not so much. I also like Steffan, just for the total surrealism, and the commercials can be pretty good. But those are few and far between.
EVAN: I personally love “What’s Up With That,” and it gets funnier each time for me. Kenan’s enthusiasm compounded by Sudeikis’ dancing and grinning gets me every time. I also, and I know there aren’t a lot who agree with me on this, really like Weekend Update.
And I feel like the Minnesota early morning hip-hop show has a lot of potential.
GORDON: I felt these things may have been funny the first time- heck, the first few times- but I really, really can’t stand ‘em now. Minnesota early morning hip-hop radio is funny, but there are only so many times you can say the northern edge of the midwest is cold. I feel like they’re going to take it and run it into the ground, like all their other popular skits.
EVAN: So that seems to be a large problem, here. The skits that are funny don’t show up as much as we’d like to, and they continually run the risk of wringing all the life out of them when they are hits.
GORDON: Is that the fault of the writers?
EVAN: Probably a little, yeah.
GORDON: I also feel that it has the same problems The Simpsons do. Each episode becomes more about showcasing which celebrity and “we-want-to-be-Mumford-and-Sons-so-bad-it-hurts” musical guests.
EVAN: I think that to critique the show we have to leave the musical guests out of it. At this point in time they’re actually leaving that choice up to the fans.
GORDON: Fair enough. But the celebrities. Seems to me that when the show started back in the 70s, the “celebrity” guests were really just there to introduce the show and do a bit of stand-up. Everything else was dedicated to the cast performing skits.
EVAN: The hosts, you mean?
GORDON: Exactly. See- even I get confused about their intent.
EVAN: If you don’t mind me directing this conversation once again, how about comparing SNL to another skit-based show: Key & Peele.
GORDON: Go on…
EVAN: Key & Peele, and I think we can both agree on this, is hilarious.
Not only that, but it’s just two guys who, presumably, do quite a bit of their own writing as well.
GORDON: No doubt.
EVAN: So how could SNL learn from Key & Peele?
GORDON: Maintain a semblance of relevance to the modern world.
Key & Peele is satirical, sarcastic. I watch the show and laugh at it when they take shots at stuff that’s relevant- like fighters trash talking each other prior to a fight.
When’s the last time you watched a show that looked even remotely like “What’s Up With That?” How many of us even know what the Laurence Welk show was?
EVAN: See, I’d say that one of the problems with SNL is that they feel compelled to “stay relevant.” So many of their skits are based on the current news, whatever’s hot right now.
Ex. Lance Armstrong doping, that one guy who got scammed by the fake girlfriend, etc.
GORDON: I wouldn’t say those weren’t funny in and of themselves- I just thought they were lousy as a cold open, and got rehashed in the Weekend Update. Kinda proves the whole “If it’s funny we’ll do it until it isn’t and then for a while longer” strategy SNL employs these days.
EVAN: I think what I like about Key & Peele is that they’re okay with breaking away from current events a little more.
GORDON: Well, we could debate which the more current until the cows come home. Our topic was “how do we fix SNL?”
EVAN: Okay, Way to Fix SNL #1: Don’t drive jokes into the ground. If a skit is recurring, do it maybe four or fives times a year, max.
GORDON: #2: Not every celebrity is funny. Stick with ones who are, and keep their appearances down to the monologue and a few key skits.
EVAN: #3: Find a way to replace Andy Samberg’s Digital Shorts. I know that nothing will truly take their place, but they were what revitalized the show after so many years.
GORDON: #4: Instead of dragging in celebrities who are already popular, go back to giving new comedians a chance- become the talent producing machine that you were in the 70s and 80s.
EVAN: Ooh, I like that one a lot. There’s definitely a conflict between hot fresh names drawing in viewers [Joseph Gordon Levitt], and looking for lesser celebrities, maybe from TV instead of movies [Krysten Ritter from Don't Trust The B----- In Apartment 23].
I’m not super impressed with the new guy they brought on, but I really like two of the newer girls [Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong].
GORDON: I agree, for the most part. I simply wish they would actually take some people from the pool- nay, ocean- of raw talent the internet has created.
EVAN: THERE YOU GO. You, sir, are a genius.
EVAN: That’s what we really need.
GORDON: That it is.
EVAN: I mean, the fact that Donald Glover made it from Derrick Comedy, a YouTube comedy show, to being a star on Community and other shows says a lot-
GORDON: That it does.
EVAN: And SNL could be that way of getting this talent out there.
GORDON: Absolutely. Would you watch a show like that? I would. I would watch the crap out of that show.
EVAN: I would watch it all the time without stopping.
GORDON: People would die.
EVAN: Yes they would.
Now that you’ve wrapped up this conversation with that masterful suggestion, though, what are we talking about next week?
GORDON: I’d like to talk about guns and gun control.
EVAN: Heh. Heh heh heh. Okay.
My recommendation is . . . um . . . have you watched a lot of Christian movies?
GORDON: I’ve seen a couple. But it’s okay, I’m better now.
EVAN: I kind of want to talk about that. How Christian media is so substandard and it’s the fault of Christians themselves.
Yours is better, though. I am probably going to vote for it.
GORDON: And I like railing on things- I’ll probably vote for yours.
EVAN: Thanks for reading, you guys, and sorry again for how late this is in coming. As always, this has been Evan and Gordon Talk, be sure to vote below for what you’d like us to discuss next.