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First Episode of SNL

By Tony Hicks
Thursday, July 3rd, 2008 at 6:13 pm in Uncategorized.

Because I’m always right on top of things (five days later) I figured I should mention something about last Saturday’s re-run of the first “Saturday Night Live” ever, hosted by George Carlin. The network ran it in tribute to Carlin, the comedic genius who died earlier that week.

I’d never seen it before … and now I know why. Oh my dear lord it was horrible. There was nothing NOTHING funny about it. They had no idea what to do – going back and forth between skits so unfunny they made you squirm, to Carlin doing OK stand-up, to two musical guests – Janis Ian and Billy Preston – who were easily the best thing on the show.

I found two things quite amazing while watching this terrible trainwreck:

One – How bad all that talent in the same room could be. They could’ve easily done nothing but improv with better results than what they wrote for that show.

Two – How quickly they turned it around the same season. Because the first season of “SNL” ended up being brilliant. I don’t know – maybe the drugs had to kick in or something.

Granted, it was a brave new concept in 1975 (or was it ’76?). They needed to throw the idea out there and refine as they went. It’s just so amazing it turned out to be such a ground-breaking show and pipeline for so many genius comedians. Because – wow – was that first show bad. I’m not exaggerating when I say it may have been the most unfunny thing (that was supposed to be funny) in the history of television. I’m surprised the network gave them the chance to fix it.

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One Response to “First Episode of SNL”

  1. Patrick Says:

    I agree. It makes even the current show look good.

    I did laugh at Andy Kaufman though and it was interesting to see Belushi looking young and clear-eyed.