Forty years of “Saturday Night Live”

By Anubhuti Kumar

via NBC

Absolutely star-studded and expectedly hilarious, NBC’s late night institution “Saturday Night Live” celebrated its 40th birthday this past weekend. Guests included cast members, celebrities, and musicians from decades past and present. Sunday, we saw the best and brightest talents of the entertainment industry from the last four decades. Whenever the camera panned the audience, it was fun just to play “Where’s Waldo” with favorite celebrities.

The show opened with “SNL” alum and Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake doing a take on “The History of Rap” sketch in which they paid tribute to some of “SNL’s” most popular and iconic sketches, catchphrases, and characters. The opener included appearances from Rachel Dratch’s “Debbie Downer” and Molly Shannon’s armpit smelling “Mary Katherine Gallagher.”

Despite disappointment at the fact that live sketches were a minority in this special, the sketches that did happen provided for a majority of the laughs. “The Californians,” a popular sketch, made a reappearance. Starring alumni cast members Kristen Wiig, Fred Armeisen, and Bill Hader, the sketch also included a plethora of guest stars including Taylor Swift, Kerry Washington, and a steamy makeout scene between Bradley Cooper and Betty White.

Weekend Update is another major staple of the show. The women of Weekend Update manned the desk while some of the most beloved walk-on characters made appearances, played by celebrity guest star fans rather than the cast members who originally played them. Bill Hader came in Stefon garb to advise Edward Norton on imitating his impression, only to be dragged away by his Update husband, Seth Meyers, who informed audiences of the latest development in their married life: kids.

Although the lack of sketches was palpable, the prerecorded montages of some of “SNL’s” most recognizable gags and bits was awe inspiring for a young viewer who is only familiar with the most recent seasons of the long running show. Even for older viewers this was probably a little nostalgic.

To celebrate “SNL’s” segue into the modern age, “SNL” has created their own smart phone app. The app is a cache of thousands of clips from all 40 seasons of the show. The app can search clips in categories such as cast member, sketch name, character, episode, and more. It’s a convenient way to waste a few minutes (or hours).

For 40 years, “Saturday Night Live” has honored comedians, actors, and musicians. Here’s to another 40.

Anubhuti Kumar is a contributing writer. Contact her at entertainment@nyunews.com.

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