I have made it a point to Tivo (or DVR, or whatever you’d call it if you don’t actually have a Tivo brand digital recorder) every episode of Saturday Night Live this year. I haven’t watched it regularly for years, but I think that had mainly to do with Horatio Sanz than anything else. I feel like Horatio Sanz was on the show for 52 years- was he not?
Anyway, I started tuning in for election satire and what not, but now that the election is over, why am I still in? True, I still usually fast-forward through most of the show, checking in on the opening, the monologue, any fake commercial, the musical guest (first song only), and then the news. Oh, and occasionally one of Andy Samberg’s Digital Shorts, which are hit or miss (Jizzed in My Pants was good, Space Olympics not so much). I like Bill Hader, and Darryl Hammond’s McCain was the only reason to wish he won the election.
But the show still seems overstuffed- too many comedians, not enough of them special enough to make it onto the high bar set by my favorite performers on the show. So… here is my SNL Dream Team. I limited myself to eight cast members (the original show had seven, I believe, so look at the generosity!) taken from any era of the show, living or dead. Steve Martin doesn’t count, either, since he was never an official cast member.
1. Phil Hartman- If for no other reason, Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. But you need a guy like Phil to do the yeoman work- he could bring comedy to the typical straight man role, thusly making your scene that much better. A great utility player.
2. Dan Aykroyd- Caveat- I want the Aykroyd from 1975-1985. I want the ultra-fast technospeak that he brought to every scene he was in, and later to The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters. He just seems like an insanely smart, weird guy, and, well, I want that on my Dream Team.
3. Jan Hooks- One of the most underrated women on the show. Check her out in her Sweeney Sisters scenes… she’s unbelievable. She was like Hartman in that she made every scene she was in better and more believable.
4. Chris Farley- There may have been no one with more natural ‘funny’ in their soul. This guy didn’t need a well-written scene- he just delivered.
5. Dana Carvey- I believe he may have been custom designed for SNL, or shows like it. His Dana Carvey Show was pretty subversive as well, but the Master of Disguise? Not so much. But any guy who gave me Grumpy Old Man, Hans and Franz, Garth Algar, Johnny Carson (and Carsenio), and a spot on John Travolta imitation has to be on my team.
6. Bill Murray- I think this one needs no explanation.
7. Eddie Murphy- Again, Eddie Murphy from 1983-4. The funny one. Because “Wookin’ pa nub’ is about as funny as it gets.
8. Gilda Radner- there were some other women I was considering, but she had a sweetness which was a nice match to what was going on at the time.
There you go- chime in with agreements or the other.