Film Review: SNL Rightly Touts Its Influence in ‘Live From New York!’

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CHICAGO – Love, hate or maintain indifference to it, the TV dinosaur “Saturday Night Live” has and will continue to influence American culture as long as it may reign. To celebrate its 40th Anniversary, filmmaker Bao Nguyen takes a fresh look at the iconic television show in “Live From New York!” Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

To put the era in perspective, when I saw the first very first episode (October of 1975) I didn’t understand parts of it – it was unlike anything this teenager (at the time) from small-town Indiana had ever seen. A joke about two men doing a parody of the Geritol ads at the time – “my wife, I think I’ll keep her” – was light years ahead of that situation being a reality. And that is how Bao Nguyen approaches this documentary, with an eye towards how SNL broke barriers, and how it maintains a jaundiced view of the cultures, news and the world. It’s not so much a history of the show – although there is much of it to explore – as a timeline of their truth, and how it affected us, from the confused 1975 boy in Indiana to maybe another teenager, a budding young comedy geek sharing a sketch on their iPad in 2015.

On October 11th, 1975, “Saturday Night Live” made its debut, with the late great George Carlin as host, and veteran Canadian television guru Lorne Michaels as producer. It was a mishmash of bizarre sketch comedy – the Chicago based “The Second City” was highly represented in John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Danny Aykroyd – and off-the-grid acts. The first Weekend Update premiered that night as well, with anchor Chevy Chase.

That format expressed itself and evolved through 40 years. Weekend Update – a skewering of contemporary news and newscasters – continues to be on the show, and that strange mishmash has become a slickly produced (still by Lorne Michaels) variety show that hits, misses and keeps flailing, but continues to line up the sacred cows, and point out that they are just mammals.

”Live from New York!” has a limited release, including Chicago, starting on June 12th. Featuring interviews with Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman, Garrett Morris, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Dana Carvey, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Andy Samberg, Rudy Giuliani and Lorne Michaels. Not Rated

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Live from New York!”

Live from New York!
‘Live from New York!,’ It’s a Documentary About ‘Saturday Night Live’
Photo credit: Abramorama

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Live from New York!”

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