The history of Saturday Night Live is told in Live from New York!. In 1975, novice producer Lorne Michaels created a late-night sketch comedy series on NBC described as a mix between 60 Minutes and Monty Python. Over the course of the next four decades, Saturday Night Live would evolve to become a cultural institution, which reflected on American pop culture and politics.
Live from New York! has the momentous task of compressing forty years of Saturday Night Live into a 90 minute documentary. One way that the film seeks to accomplish this is a focus on certain aspects of SNL’s cultural impact, rather than a full chronological history. This includes talking about the popular Weekend Update segment, the show’s political satire, and the introduction of the digital shorts. The film also touches upon some of the not so great elements of SNL’s history, such as the fall in quality after Lorne Michael’s brief departure in the early 1980s, as well as the lack of diversity in the mostly white male cast. All throughout the film are interviews with past cast members and hosts, including Chevy Chase, Dana Carvey, Alec Baldwin, and Will Ferrell.
For those already quite familiar with the history of Saturday Night Live, there likely isn’t going to be much new information to be learned from Live in New York!. That said, this is still an incredibly entertaining history of the sketch comedy program, which is full of hilarious clips from show. While some eras of Saturday Night Live were omitted for time reasons, Live from New York! is still a pretty comprehensive look at the show, which even includes a peak behind the scenes. Altogether, Live from New York! should please fans of Saturday Night Live.
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