1. 1st Look 02/07/15: “40 Years of Laughs” a week before the SNL 40 event this program takes a look back at the show and it’s cast members and what to expect on the TC Special in one weeks time. Includes interviews with cast members Paul Shaffer along with and Kevin Nealon, Jay Pharoah, Rob Schneider, Taran Killam, and David Alan Grier. Also interviewed are new cast members: Cecily Strong along with Aldy Bryant and also included are Bobby Moynihn and Kate McKinnon. COMPLETE SHOW NO COMMERCIALS
2. SNL 40 Red Carpet Live 02/15/15: Stars of the show and cast members are interviewed along with creator Lorne Michaels. Interviews include but not limited to Alec Baldwin, Sarah Palin, Eddie Murphy, Seth Myers, Dan Aykroyd with James Belushi, Melissa McCarthy, Jim Carrey with Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Mike Myers, Dave Chappelle, Robert DeNiro, Billy Crystal, Molly Shannon, Kristen Wiig with Maya Rudolph, Andy Samberg, Martin Short, Betty White, Chevy Chase, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Bon Jovi and closing segment with Kanye West. COMPLETE SHOW NO COMMERCIALS
3. ‘SNL’ 40th Anniversary Special 02/15/15 COMPLETE SHOW NO COMMERCIALS
What — no cold open?! The first minutes of the three-and-a-half-hour Saturday Night Live anniversary extravaganza, in which a genial but hardly surprising intro by Jimmy Fallon and Just Timberlake name-checked dozens of famous sketches without doing much more, set the tone for a program that would be one part creativity to three parts awards-show self-congratulation. Longtime fans of the trailblazing comedy show would be comforted by references to favorite bits, but practically nothing newsworthy happened during a broadcast that had been shrouded in secrecy and self-importance for weeks.
Studio 8H was a friends-and-family zone tonight, with an audience composed of former castmembers, hosts and friends of the show. Rather than having a single emcee, producers trotted out a slew of veterans — not just in the 10-car pileup of an opening “monologue,” where frequent hosts Steve Martin and Tom Hanks vied with less experienced colleagues, but throughout the show. Over the course of the evening, presenters including Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson would read stiff, short speeches that reminded us of this or that aspect of the show’s cultural impact, be it SNL’s abiding political-satire bent (cue a montage of iconic presidential impersonations) or its incorporation of athletes into skits that sometimes made fun of them.
Many noted the high-school-reunion vibe prevailing at 30 Rock this week, as Not Ready for Prime Timers young and old pulled familiar skits out of mothballs for our enjoyment. Some played better than others. A Jeopardy parody early on promised great things, with Will Ferrell’s Alex Trebeksuffering through celebrity misbehavior both time-tested and (with Kate McKinnon playing Justin Bieber) au courant. But The Californians was more pedestrian, despite the novelty of seeing Bradley Cooper make Out with Betty White; the skit might have merited inclusion in a regular week’s broadcast, but was out of place here.
In a show that made a couple of very soft jabs at SNL’s weaknesses in the diversity department, an all-female “Weekend Update” was refreshing: Three women sat behind the anchor desk — Tina Fey,Amy Poehler and Jane Curtin. But aside from Curtin’s sharp jabs at Fox News, the trio had little to do but introduce a few celebrity guests, one of whom (Melissa McCarthy, paying homage to an oldChris Farley character) was among the night’s best meetings of old and new.
Other inter-generational moments yielded much less entertainment. When a handful of male “Weekend Update” anchors introduced Chevy Chase, or when Chris Rock paid extended tribute to Eddie Murphy (“Eddie saved SNL,” Rock said), fans braced for flashes of brilliance. But in both cases, the comedian in question walked down the steps, made remarks to the effect of “I’m great, thanks for noticing,” and left without doing anything funny at all.
While Chase and Murphy refused to bring any gifts to the party, Bill Murray earned his keep, reprising his Nick Ocean lounge-singer character with a riotous “Love Theme From Jaws.” Dan Aykroyd’s return to the Bass-O-Matic, while equally welcome, didn’t come off quite as well. (And did the show really need to include The Blues Brothers, an act that should have ended in 1982 with John Belushi’s death?)
Music played a smaller role here than early rumors suggested. Paul McCartney’s straightforward “Maybe I’m Amazed” was interesting mostly for being introduced by Keith Richards; a mediocre “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” cover by Miley Cyrus mostly made one think wistfully of old appearances by Paul Simon. (Simon popped up a few times here, and offered a lovely “Still Crazy After All These Years” at the program’s end.) A performance by Kanye West, which started with the singer lying flat on the stage, was a rare moment of visual excitement in the program, drawing heavily on the staging of concerts The xx gave last year at New York’s Park Avenue Armory. But if the anniversary show’s actual musical numbers didn’t rank among the series’ best, the intro did: Martin Short and Maya Rudolph (doing a killer Beyonce impression) didn’t just tell us how funny SNL can be, they showed us.
In between the many montages of old sketches, which rarely spent more than a second or two showing any single skit, the show made precious few stabs at present-tense humor. References to Bill Cosby and Brian Williams were fleeting, as if producers disliked anything that shifted focus away from the history of comic achievement being etched in stone here. But that history is well enshrined by video releases of the series’ groundbreaking early years, and is poorly served by victory laps.
4. 1st Look 02/07/15: After Party for SNL’s 40th Anniversary Celebration. Highlights from the special along with red carpet interviews from celebrities and cast members: Jay Pharoah, Fred Armisen, Taran Killam, Victoria Jackson, Jon Lovitz, Sarah Palin, Martin Short, Dave Chappelle, Robert DeNiro, Tom Arnold and more. Later in the program Crew members Eric Justian and Tom Broecker of the Costume Department are interviewed about there role on SNL behind the scenes along with SNL’s Wally Feresten The Cue Card person for the last 25 years. COMPLETE SHOW NO COMMERCIALS
5. The Today Show 02/16/15: Report on the nights festivities at the SNL 40 TV Special. A review including various highlights from the show. Later in the program an interview with Edward Norton on his sketch as “Stephan” on SNL 40.