Sometimes comedy illuminates hard truths with a pointed urgency that other means can’t quite achieve. Sometimes comedy is just funny. This series of posts is mostly about the former instances, but the latter is valuable, too.
I’ve been watching Saturday Night Live long enough that it’s strange for me to see it as an institution, a venerable keeper of showbiz tradition. In truth, the late-night program was never quite as rebellious as it seemed. Even so, the sentimental streak that’s shown up is especially surprising to me. My recollection could be off, but it seems to me that departing cast members weren’t often given the opportunity to take a symbolic final bow. That’s certainly changed, as further demonstrated by this year’s season finale that carved out time specifically for sweet goodbyes to three of the four performers who’ve already announced their time as regulars on the program is at an end (sorry, Kyle Mooney).
If Lorne Michaels can get dewy-eyed, then I suppose I can, too. Among those cashing in their chips at the Studio 8H casino is Kate McKinnon, who is one of the all-time greats and has the Emmys to prove it. Aidy Bryant, whose tenure coincided with McKinnon’s, deserves a similarly exalted place in the pantheon. One of the real pleasures of watching in recent years was the genuine warmth between the two of them whenever they had a shared showcase. I could have shared any of those many sketches in tribute. This is one that came quickly to mind, in part because of their mutual delight in performance. Get together with your best drunken deer friend and rejoice.
Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Laughing Matters” tag.