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April 24, 2014

Hey, how about an hour-long Saturday Night Live?

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 17th 2008 4:21PM

SNLThat's the idea from Matthew Gilbert over at Boston.com: reduce the length of Saturday Night Live from 90 minutes to 60 minutes.

Would it help the show? We all know that the weakest part of the show seems to be that last half hour, when the lame sketches air. Regardless of what many people say about the current SNL (including me), there's still a lot of talent on the show and there's a lot of good, funny stuff that comes from it. Unfortunately, all the funny stuff doesn't come from the same episode. I'd say there's usually two really good sketches in an episode (including "Weekend Update"), a couple of "oh, this is a good idea but not for a sketch this long" segments, and several "how did this make it pass the writers room?" disasters. Maybe cutting the show down to an hour, while not perfect, would make the good parts stand out more and really get the show lean and mean again.

There are two problems, of course. Less ads, for one, but as Gilbert says, maybe a better show will get more people tuning in week after week. The other problem is the musical guest. They'd probably only have time for one song now instead of two. If the bands are OK with that, I think it's something NBC and Lorne Michaels should give some thought too (though I bet they have already at some point).

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bdure

A couple of eternal truths of SNL:

1. People always think it was better in the past.

2. Most of the sketches after Update are strange experiments that sometimes work and sometimes don't.

Saying SNL should cut to 60 minutes because then they'll only have the good sketches is like saying Peyton Manning should throw 30 times instead of 50 because then they'll all be complete.

March 23 2008 at 9:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bdure's comment
bdure

Forgot #3 -- People who don't get an SNL sketch assume the problem is with the writing, not the fact that they simply don't get the bit of political or pop culture to which the sketch refers.

That still doesn't explain the reaction to the Amy Adams episode here. I thought the Couples Therapy sketch was great. I'm wondering if the basic problem is that Gen Y doesn't really have a sense of humor. That would explain the obsessions with video games, TV drama and snark.

(Oops ... I'm channeling Grumpy Old Man.)

March 23 2008 at 9:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gwasmm

I agree with Joe. The thing that is different about this show is that they DO NOT KNOW which sketches are going to work. In this type of live comedy, many times the sketch you are SURE is going to go over great bombs, and the sketch you were SURE was filler totally kills. If they cut the show down, they would still have the same ratio of funny sketches to bombs, but overall, there would be fewer good sketches over the course of the season, because you would have unknowingly cut some of them.

March 19 2008 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jake

You've got to remember that for NBC, the motivating factor behind a 90-minute show is 30 minutes' worth of commercials and promos, which they seem to have no trouble filling. Cut it to 60 minutes and you've cut your ad revenues by a third.

March 18 2008 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
david

this is a horrible idea. Why does anyone think that cutting the last half hour of the show will make the first hour better. Are you guys all that invested in CSI that we need to have their syndicated reruns come on 30 minutes earlier??Thats really the only thing that would change

In writing you need to throw a bunch of garbage against the wall just to see what sticks. I am sure alot of SNL's greatest skits started out as last half hour add-ons

March 18 2008 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
david

this is a horrible idea. Why does anyone think that cutting the last half hour of the show will make the first hour better. Are you guys all that invested in CSI that we need to have their syndicated reruns come on 30 minutes earlier??Thats really the only thing that would change

In writing you need to throw a bunch of garbage against the wall just to see what sticks. I am sure alot of SNL's greatest skits started out as last half hour add-ons

March 18 2008 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Max

Fire Seth Myers and offer Tina Fey a truckload of money to come back as head writer. The show has been terrible since she left.

March 18 2008 at 9:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SadOldMan

SNL is still on? Who knew?

March 18 2008 at 8:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

1. Lorne would never go for it.

2. Some of the best sketches of the last five years have come in the last half hour, if not dead last. Two that come to mind: Alec Baldwin's "Always Be Cobbling" and the "There Will Be Blood" parody from a few weeks ago. I also like Samberg's "Jogger from the 1980s" filler.

March 18 2008 at 6:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bash

I think tastes are so completely different that everybody gets 60 minutes worth of comedy from this 90 minute show.

If they cut it I think everybody loses. Look at the reviews here. Stuff that the reviewer hates I totally like and vice versa.

March 17 2008 at 11:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Oreo

I agree, someone said this last week, and it's a good idea.

Just have 3-4 good skits and only have the musical guest play one song badly.

March 17 2008 at 8:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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