Microphone on a stage under lights

What do we know about Saturday Night Live behind the scenes? What is it like to perform on SNL?

Saturday Night Live involves hard work, creativity, and complex dynamics between recurring stars and guest performers. A recent episode of the podcast Fly on the Wall offers a glimpse into this world.

Consider these insights from a Fly on the Wall interview between Dana Carvey, David Spade, and Bobby Moynihan.

About Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live (SNL), a legendary American television show, premiered in 1975 and has since captivated audiences with its live sketch comedy, political satire, and variety format. A cultural institution and breeding ground for comedic talent, SNL features a revolving cast of comedians who deliver hysterical sketches, parodies, and musical performances. Renowned for its sharp wit and astute commentary on contemporary American culture and politics, SNL has maintained its relevance for decades. A look at Saturday Night Live behind the scenes reveals why this show has been so successful.

At the core of SNL‘s success is its emphasis on the creative process in comedy and performance. Collaborating writers and performers craft distinctive characters that resonate with viewers and have become iconic in popular culture, as seen with Chevy Chase’s Gerald Ford impression and Eddie Murphy’s memorable Gumby skits. The live element adds to SNL‘s allure, with the energy of audience reactions creating an electric atmosphere that heightens the episode’s excitement.

SNL has been a launching pad for comedic stars like Tina Fey and Will Ferrell, propelling them to success in film and television. Its influence extends beyond individual triumphs, shaping popular culture and comedy trends through satirical takes on current events and social issues. As SNL continues to produce new seasons and introduce fresh talent, the show will evolve alongside evolving cultural landscapes, providing a platform for emerging comedic voices and addressing pressing social issues through humor and satire.

What It’s Like to Be on Saturday Night Live

In a recent episode of the podcast Fly on the Wall, hosts Dana Carvey and David Spade discuss their experiences appearing on SNL with regular cast member Bobby Moynihan. Several themes emerged: nostalgia for pre-pandemic times and longing for old traditions, reflecting a shared sentiment among many individuals yearning for a return to normalcy. Additionally, the podcast delved into resilience and perseverance in pursuing a career in comedy, showcasing anecdotes from working on SNL as well as personal growth beyond the show.

The hosts and guest discuss their difficulties working with some established performers on SNL and strategizing in Lorne Michael’s office. They also reminisce about having Lorne Micheal’s as their “dad boss.”

Moynihan recounts distinct instances such as occupying Chris Farley’s previous spot during read-throughs and navigating the frenetic environment backstage during costume changes. 

Staying faithful to his eccentric humor, Moynihan, in conjunction with Cecily Strong, once crafted a sketch. It revolves around McDonald’s employees bracing for termination. They designed the skit to incorporate as many members of the cast as possible, comically chastising the remaining employees.

They discuss creating humor by developing comical personas, often taking inspiration from real-life individuals. Carvey’s ‘Proud Daddy’, and another character, ‘must be nice guy’ are great examples of such personas.

Comedians often draw inspiration from current events, social trends, or political figures to create sketches that parody contemporary American culture and politics. SNL has long embraced this approach by incorporating satire into their sketches, using humor as a means to comment on societal issues.

In the 1970s, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd rented a bar in New York City, known as the Blues Bar, where SNL after-parties were frequently held. The duo would play their own live music, and sometimes were joined by famous artists including James Taylor, Keith Richards and Sam Moore.

Saturday Night Live Behind the Scenes: Lots of Hard Work

Becca King

Becca’s love for reading began with mysteries and historical fiction, and it grew into a love for nonfiction history and more. Becca studied journalism as a graduate student at Ohio University while getting their feet wet writing at local newspapers, and now enjoys blogging about all things nonfiction, from science to history to practical advice for daily living.

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