Saturday Night Live has always been an inconsistent show. Every year, people complain that it used to be so funny back when XYZ were on the cast. Yet, back when XYZ were on the cast, folks were saying the same thing about UVW, and so on. I remember reading someone’s explanation for this phenomenon—perhaps it was Jonah Goldberg—but whoever it was wrote that skit shows like S.N.L. are usually not very funny, though some of each episode’s skits may make you grin. However, every now and then, one of the skits will be golden, and it is those hilarious few that are memorable. Hence, whenever we consider a particular era in S.N.L. history, we consider the great skits that come readily to our minds, judge them to be representative of the whole era, and thus conclude that the era was better than our current era. Really, the analysis is simply Descartes and Hume applied to our estimation of comedy television.
Of the current cast, I think that Kristen Wiig is brilliant. She deserves to be in N.B.C.‘s comedienne hall of fame. One of my favorite skits of hers is the following “Carpool” skit with Alec Baldwin, a political loon but nonetheless a chap with great comic talent.
Of the various types of humor, I like the insightful and mocking the most (just ahead of the absurd). Our hypersensitive, unforgiving, and socially awkward age in which people seek gratification from being offended deserves such mockery. Speaking of which, Stuff White People Like has a delightful entry on “Being Offended”—funny and oh so horribly true.