There aren’t many shows that can say they’ve been going on for 45 seasons. In fact, there is only one: “Saturday Night Live.” And while the cast of this late-night, live television show has changed plenty of times over the years, there is one thing that has remained the same: its ability to make us laugh.
Each episode of “Saturday Night Live” maintains a similar recipe but with enough variety each week to keep it interesting. There are live sketches — some embracing political satire, some mocking celebrities and pop culture and some that are unexplainably random and hilarious. There are digital shorts, often parodies of movie trailers or commercials that can operate beyond the constraints of a live set and push the comedic boundaries even further. There is a “weekend update” segment, with hosts poking fun at current headlines with witty one-liners. And of course, there is a celebrity host leading the way alongside a different musical guest each week.
Right now, “Saturday Night Live” is in its 45th season, and the sketches are as fresh as ever. As of the date of this article, only three episodes have aired in the season, but they have proven that the show is still delivering some of its highest-caliber writing and performances. Woody Harrelson, of “Zombieland” and “The Hunger Games” fame, was the season’s first host, with Billie Eilish as the musical guest. The heat of the political season gave SNL writers no shortage of material to work with, and special guests Alec Baldwin, Larry David and Maya Rudolph were in tow to deliver gut-busting appearances as Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris.
The following episode saw Phoebe Waller-Bridge as the celebrity host, fresh off of her multiple-Emmy win for her BBC show “Fleabag.” Following many memorable skits and digital shorts, including a parody of “Love Island,” Taylor Swift sang new songs “Lover” and “False God” in her live performance as musical guest.
David Harbour, known most prominently for his role as Jim Hopper in “Stranger Things,” was the host for episode three of the season, and his performance did not disappoint. Perhaps the most notable bit of the episode was a digital short called “Grouch,” which was a nearly shot-for-shot parody of the “Joker” trailer, with Oscar the Grouch from “Sesame Street” in the title role. This short proved that SNL writers have not lost their knack for turning seemingly absurd ideas into hilarious comedy. Camila Cabello performed “Cry for Me” and “Easy” as the musical guest.
This weekend was a “bye” weekend for “Saturday Night Live,” but be sure to tune in tonight, Oct. 26, for Chance the Rapper’s turn at being both the host and the musical guest. This one should be good.