Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night!

The history behind the iconic television comedy


Photo courtesy

Cast members pose together for the season 47 press photo.

Riley Regnier, Entertainment Editor

For 47 seasons and counting, NBC’s comedy-style sketch series “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) has brought laughter into the homes of America for almost 50 years. Through 159 cast members, over 880 episodes and countless hosts, this television show has become one of the longest-running programs in television history.

Tip Phetbourom (11) grew up watching the show with her brother and really enjoys the current cast.

“It’s a definitely a comfort show for me because it’s very lighthearted and funny,” Phetbourom said.

First established in October of 1975, comedian George Carlin hosted the debut episode of SNL. The original cast of seven was comprised of Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris and Chevy Chase. These cast members were introduced by the show’s creators, Dick Ebersol and Lorne Michaels. At the end of the debut episode, Chase delivered the famous line for the first time, yelling “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” The show started as a variety series used to fill the network’s empty time slot, but quickly formed its own rhythm with sketches and musical guests becoming one of America’s favorite programs.

Lydia Easler (12) is a huge fan of the comedy franchise and tunes in every Saturday.

“I love the weekend update segment with Michael Che and Collin Jost. They are just so naturally funny, and it’s so entertaining,” Easler said.

On May 24, 1980, American audiences said goodbye to the last four remaining members of the original cast after four full seasons together, forever leaving a historical mark on the show. After the departure of the original cast, new members have come and gone, each bringing something new to the table. Kate McKinnon, Tina Fey, Chris Farley and Fred Armisen have been notable characters in more recent years, all warranting Primetime Emmy Award nominations for their performances on the show. The show itself has been nominated for 242 Emmys and won 54, which is more than any other show in history.

Today the show is a very carefully balanced dance of chaos as they master their time slot, quick changes, wardrobe, places and the famous que cards. Writers, prop masters, makeup artists and the actors themselves work together seven days a week to deliver a new show. From its iconic sketches to its political satire, the show has over five million weekly watchers and continues to appeal to new viewers.

Jenna Pittman (12) loves the dynamic of the show and the energy it brings.

“I have watched SNL for so long and have seen so many cast members. My personal favorite is Pete Davidson,” Pittman said. “He fits in well with the cast and delivers his jokes effortlessly.”