October 11, 2014 marks the first episode of Saturday Night Live with comedic genius George Carlin hosting.
Saturday Night Live made its live debut on October 11, 1975.
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And hosting was the snarky George Carlin, which the New York Times claims "speaks volumes about his prominence as a comedian that the NBC executives turned to him to host the inaugural show."
Carlin mixed in some of his comedy tour jokes and routine for the opening monologue, covering the difference between football and baseball. For the non-sports orientated, don't worry. It wasn't particularly glowing since Carlin's smart comments were far more entertaining.
Take for example, the ways words are identified in each. Footballs are played in a stadium, while bases are loaded in a park. And baseball games may go on for extra innings in the great fields of space with no humans. Football has great clumps of people on the long field.
Actually, to quote the comedian: "Football is played on an enclosed, rectangular grid, and everyone of them is the same size; baseball is played on an ever-widening angle that reaches to infinity, and every park is different!"
Football clearly won the argument since as it wasn’t “pastoral” grassland for a cow to munch on.
Special guests on the first episode included Andy Kaufman, the Muppets, and Valri Bromfield as Paul Simon and Andrew Duncan toddled through.
But what made the season so important were the cast members. Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtain, Gilda Radner, and Garrett Morris broke every barrier possible in sketch comedy. These are the shoulders that comedians and performers like Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, David Spade, and Amy Poehler stand on.
And Carlin seemed to love the format since he showed up over 130 times in three decades. Comedy suffered a big blow when he died in 2008, and does each time a gifted star dies. Phil Hartman, Belushi, and Chris Farley all contributed catchphrases fans still quote.
The death of good comedians seems to shake the foundation of society. Robin Williams’ death late this summer shocked many because we depend on the performers to provide the much needed levity in a world of constant change and chaos.
And SNL seems to stay on-air, no matter the many changes of cast or reformatting.
This week Jan Hooks died. Known for her work as Carlene on Designing Women, Hooks first portrayed Ivana Trump, Tammy Faye Bakker, and Sinead O'Connor on SNL. Never forgetting her Kathie Lee Gifford. She also worked with phenomenal character geniuses like Hartman, Dana Carvey, and Mike Myers. In a People interview, co-star Kevin Nealon called her "totally amazing as a sketch player." Hooks gave everything to a sketch, pulling in whatever was needed.
"She so immersed herself in her characters, and her timing was amazing. She got it from some crazy stratosphere, and I was so attracted to that talent in her, and I don't think she ever knew how well respected and admired she was for her talent."
Jan Hooks defined the best elements of Saturday Night Live; that element of team player to create skits no one would ever forget—the depth required to bring personas and caricatures to life in a way that resonates with not just a studio audience but an entire nation.
As a sketch show, the show has made history. Providing a plethora of comedic careers and household names. Eddie Murphy didn't start out as a talking donkey in Shrek. And Bill Murray wasn't just someone Lost in Translation a couple years ago. Murphy calling SNL the "Harvard for a comic actor," he admitted "it's like you're moving in slow motion for a couple of years" after leaving Lorne Michaels' brain child.
To host Saturday Night Live is an rite of passage for many entertainers. And fans count the number of times hosted, dissecting the comedic timing required. Jokes based on skits like “Dick in a Box” float around social media and the show consistently trends on all the relevant mediums. SNL is a national talking point.
And tonight Bill Hader will be hosting as Hozier fills in the music guest star slot. Hader'll have a lot to match tonight. After all, it’s hard to book end a great like Carlin. February, 15, 2015 will premiere a three-hour special 40th anniversary episode by the show, but you can't really forget...
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