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SNL: Who should stay and who should go

by Richard Keller, posted Jul 27th 2006 10:09AM

Saturday Night Live -- Who would you chose?With the recent departures of Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch from Saturday Night Live, and the announcement of (wink, wink) budget cuts by executive producer Lorne Michaels, one begins to ponder what SNL will look like once the bloodletting is complete. So, my dear TV Squad fans, I pose a question to you: if you were in Mr. Michaels' seat who would stay and who would go?

Would you keep some of the tenured players like Darrell Hammond and Horatio Sanz as well as some of the new talent like Andy Samberg and fill the rest of the cast with newbies who would play for low pay? This could help keep some of the old audience base as well as bring in some younger viewers. Or, would you scrap it all and start fresh, like they did back in 1980 and then again in 1985? There could be a lot of hit or misses here, especially in the first run with the new ensemble, but their could also be hidden gold as well.

Personally, I feel that you could load the cast with A-list talent but still suck if the writing isn't up to par (see the 1985-1986 season of SNL). So, I would get rid of all the writers (who are some of the cast members) and bring in a bunch of hungry people who are willing to take risks, be a bit irreverent, and not rely on send-ups of talk shows and digital shorts of cats with lasers to get the laughs and the audience.

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Ryan

How about hiring Neal Brennan (chappelle show) as the new head writer- after that I agree with a complete overhaul of the cast , this show always did it's best when it was NEW preformers to try and make a mark.It seems to be every 10 years that the show has the right chemistry and breakout cast. Memo to Lorne- these were the not ready for prime time players remember?Why not hire more cutting edge talent and take some risks push the envelope
1st- for weekend update you should hire anybody off the daily show for the job
2nd- remind people your LIVE do jokes that reflect topics of the day
3- hire members of the Groundlings (ie Phil Hartman) who have a base in improve
4-TURN OFF ALL the teleprompters, it really isn't as funny if we know your reading it off the screen(guests included)
5- include more online(ie. fan particpation) by using the internet effectivly(remember how that narnia sketch took off)
thanks for listing i would like to see the show go out with a bang , not a whimper

September 02 2006 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Julio Diaz

I'm a life-long SNL fan and I think that Tina Fey leaving the show marks the end of an era. More than anyone since Will Ferrell, she's put a stamp on the show that made it her own (and really, she was part of the success of the Ferrell era, too - Ferrell joined the show in '95 and she joined the writing staff in '97).

I guess I'm in the minority of folks on this board, because I think the show was in one of its best era in the years Fey was on the writing staff.

I fear that we're going to go through another of the fallow periods, especially given word of "budget cuts" and "retooling." That trick almost never works.

If a new group of voices from within the show is to arise, it should be the Andy Samberg/Lonely Island crew. "Lazy Sunday" was a legitimate sensation and everything that group touched seemed gold, especially the "digital shorts." Make these guys the head writers. (Sorry, Seth Myers.)

I actually really like just about the entire current cast, which also puts me among the minority. But if it's a fresh look that's needed, the obvious place to start cutting is with the longest-standing cast members. That means that if the rumors of four ousters are true, it'd be Darrell Hammond, Maya Rudolph, Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell that would be on the way out. That would be really tough, especially losing Parnell's rap skillz, the very funny Rudolph and the fantastic all-around utility player Hammond, but Maya seems to have a movie career ahead of her (and she's already lost most of the people she played best against on the show), and I've no doubt the others would go on to great successes.

The remaining cast is Fred Armisen, Will Forte, Seth Meyers, Finesse Mitchell, Amy Poehler, Kenan Thompson, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis and Kristen Wiig. That's 10 members, but it's also ridiculously male-dominated, with only two women. Poehler and Wiig are two of the best players on the show and there's no way I'd get rid of them. But I think we need to add at least two more women, including at least one woman of color (Finesse and Kenan can't play ALL the African-American women, assuming they both stay). So that's at least two guys that need to be cut.

I really like all of those guys, but again, we're going with a fresh look. So, if we look again to the first-in, first-out theory, the next three longest-standing male cast members are Seth Myers, Will Forte and Fred Armisen. The latter two are already starting to pick up movie roles, too. It's tough for me to say this, 'cause I'd really miss all three, but I think these are the ones that would go.

That leaves you with returning cast members Finesse Mitchell, Amy Poehler (who would be the senior cast member, and who I would keep on Weekend Update and add a male co-anchor), Kenan Thompson, Bill Hader, Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis and Kristen Wiig, all of whom would be stars. Then add two new females and one new male as "featured players."

Who would the new cast members be? Not sure, but I'd like the guy to be someone they poach from "The Daily Show," and have him co-host Update. Maybe not even a current "Daily Show" cast member -- what's Mo Rocca doing these days? Or Bob Wiltfong?

As for the women, I don't know who I'd pick for the woman of color, but I think a good choice for the other one would be another "Daily Show" alumnus, Lauren Weedman.

I'd keep the occasional TV Funhouse, but keep it very occasional so it's a treat when it comes up, rather than filler. There were a couple of good ones this season (the Dennis Haysbert-hosted look at black cartoon characters, for example), but also some clunkers. And I've never been a big fan of the "Fun with Real Audio" TVFs, so I'd pass on those. Maybe one or two new "Ambiguously Gay Duo" segments per season, and say, five or six original concepts. So that's a max of 8 TVFs, or less than half the season.

August 28 2006 at 3:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PO

If NBC wants to make lots of money off of SNL, then they should put each of the first five seasons-for sure-on DVD, plus other seasons, too...then, they wouldn't have to make budget cuts because they would have revenue...also, put out DVD's of all of the music acts performances by the decade.

Great idea the other people who posted had about the music...either cut that second song and make the show one hour, or do a half hour of music. The viewing public has lost touch with groups performing before a live audience on a 'variety' type of show with the age of videos...who doesn't like watching the great bodies in all of those videos, however, enough is enough...In the 70's, for those of you who weren't a part of that decade, The Midnight Special was a fabulous show where you could watch groups perform.

Also, most of those groups that are on there--too much rap and hip hop...I mute the show during these parts.

Who should stay? I am flexible on this one, but I really like Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader.

August 14 2006 at 1:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Justin

Keep:
Amy Poehler
Darrell Hammond
Fred Armisen
Maya Rudolph
Seth Meyers
Will Forte
Bill Hader
Andy Samberg
Jason Sudeikis
Kristen Wiig

Gone:
Chris Parnell - probably gonna leave anyway
Tina Fey (already leaving)
Rachel Dratch (already leaving)
Horatio Sanz - probably gonna leave anyway
Kenan - has shown no growth in usefulness
Finesse - has shwon no growth in usefulness

Hire:
A really funny black comedian. Rehire Tim Meadows.
Another female cast member to replace Rachel

Cast of 12.

August 07 2006 at 9:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brandon

Stay: AMY POEHLER, andy samberg, horatio sanz, seth myers, bill hader
Go: KENAN THOMPSON, chris parnell - funny, but never fit, finesse mitchell
Come in: Jason Mantzoukas, Peter Gwinn, Marcy Jarreau
Sad that: Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch are leaving

My 2 cents: Amy Poehler is the greatest improviser and comedienne i know of, snl is nothing without her grace. ALL YOU HATAS of horatio sanz - back off, the guys a genius. OH and the hatas of tina - she is a genius too, but i can't wait to see 30 rock. CHECK OUT jason mantzoukas (funny and worthy - but may be too busy now), peter gwinn (hystercial and VERY worthy - but may be too old and has other jobs), marcy jarreau (hysterical, brand-spankin new, and they prolly need a woman) - they perform in NYC most of the time, at the UCB and the Magnet theaters.

August 01 2006 at 6:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SeanTubbs

It is time for another rebuilding year like 1984-1985. That year, they brought in heavy-hitters from all over and had a star-studded year. It only lasted for one year, but brought people back to the show. Martin Short, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Billy Crystal. It was funny.

To do so, they should cherry-pick some folks from other successful comedy shows. Raid the Daily Show. Raid Reno 9/11. Pay Dave Chapelle a lot of money to work on an ensemble. Even hire back someone like Dana Carvey who really can't do anything else, but might inject some necessary wisdom.

SNL needs to stay on the air. It's too much of a legacy, and it would be a shame for it to stop. If I were them, I'd expand it to two hours, and do music from 1:00 to 1:30. At the very least, they should sell the music performances on iTunes.


July 30 2006 at 7:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Erin

I'm just so PUMPED that Tina Fey is leaving!!! Ever since she became head writer the show has sucked. So now that she's gone, they should get rid of Horatio Sanz (He thinks he's Chris Farley.... and he's not even like 1/99th as cool has Farley), and we could start to have a show. Basically they could fire everyone but Sandburg and we might have a show.... Just my suggestion.

July 29 2006 at 1:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Niklas

Finesse has to go.

July 28 2006 at 2:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Borat

"Funny, the only people that insult it are old men."
Probably because they remember that SNL used to be funny? I can't believe that there actually is someone who supports Horatio. Almost everyone I know who has watched SNL agrees that Horatio is the worst part of the show. Please tell me you are not a fan of the "I'm Carol!!" character!

The only great sketch show in recent times was Chappelle's Show. Too bad that show is dead now.

July 28 2006 at 12:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Vanessa

Oh, I agree, blame the writers. The cast just acts out whatever they are handed. Whoever wrote that surfer sketch in the Steve Martin episode needs to be shot. That goes in my worst sketch ever category.

July 27 2006 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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