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Canadian talent makes Saturday Night Live a success

By Michael Worthman
I. J. Samson Junior High
St. John's, Newfoundland

Saturday Night Live is an example of Canadian achievement. It has made us laugh, cry, go insane, and experience emotions that are not even made up yet. Saturday Night Live is one of the longest running television shows ever to be aired... and it's Canadian.

"Canadian makes it in the Big Apple" is the impression I get from the show. Saturday Night Live is considered a legend of entertainment in some people's eye's and was created by a somewhat of a Canadian, legendary man: Lorne Michaels.

It all started back in 1974 with Michaels and his dream. He had a dream, some Canadian and American actors, some great ideas, and a lot of wit. He threw this together to make a masterpiece. He wanted to create the ultimate variety show, one which was creative and different. He brought his great idea to NBC studios in New York and soon his dream became sweet reality. He had the budget and the support to start up a variety show that would stun the world in its creativity and inspire many young actors and comedians.

It was said by many people, and even Michaels himself that the first show was over-thought.

"There were six months leading up to the very first show, and there were six days leading up to the second show," he said.

The first show consisted of two musical groups, a Muppets segment, an Alan Brooks film, and many other sketches. Michaels, and the cast and crew, were taking on an enormous amount. They had the ingredients, but they didn't have the recipe. After the first few shows, everything straightened out and Saturday Night Live became a very popular show. An international smash hit show was beginning to form.

After the first season, Saturday Night Live was on a brilliant beat. Nothing could stop the great cast of Dan Akroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Lauraune Newman, and Garret Morris. They had some really great sketches and pieces.


One of my favorite sketches was the "Land Shark" with Chevy Chase. The land shark skit was about an intelligent shark that walked on land and murdered housewives in their homes by disguising itself. I found this piece to be brilliant. My favorite part in this sketch in the first Land Shark sketch was when the shark went after his second female victim. The lady replied to the knock with, " Who is it?"

Landshark: "Plumber."

Lady: I didn't hire a plumber. Who is it!?"

Landshark: "Flowers."

Lady: "What... for who"

Landshark: "Plumber"

Lady:"... you're.. that crazy shark aren't you?''

Landshark: " No maam, I am just a dolphin.. will you let me in please?"

Lady: "A dolphin! Ok!"

This sketch was just one in a many few that Saturday Night Live had going for it in the beginning. It was a show with a lot of wit. The show was more popular than ever and continued to be original.

From 1980 and on, there were many other great inspirations such as Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscipo, Dana Carvey, Adam Sandler, Phil Hartman, Chris Farley, Mike Myers, Norm McDonald, and now Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell. There were also many great skits.

My favorite Saturday Night Live skit of all time is the "Roxbury Guys" which was recently made into a movie called "A Night at the Roxbury". This skit starred, Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell, and featured at times, Jim Carrey, Phil Hartman, and Jeff Goldblum, as well as Pamela Anderson Lee. The skit is about the Butubi brothers, two guys trying to get into a hip club. They are two wild head-banging guys and only listen to the song, "What is Love?" by Haddaway. Throughout the whole sketch they never stop banging their head to the side, (unless, like in one episode, the radio shuts off for less than two seconds.) I basically watch Saturday Night Live to see this skit.

Lorne Michaels was becoming successful in other things too. He had created a foundation for many forms of entertainment and seemed a hero to some young Canadian actors. Over the years, Saturday Night Live was steady and smashing and served as a building block for many popular stars.

I am somewhat of an amateur actor myself, and Lorne Michaels has inspired me and others who recognize his accomplishments. To realize that Lorne Michaels made it big and did what he loved makes me feel I can do the same thing and by watching Saturday Night Live, I realize that I can accomplish my goals. I think that Lorne Michaels is an example that Canadian people can achieve such heights.

Lorne Michaels went on to produce other shows and movies as well. Another show which he produced and I loved was Kids In The Hall. Kids In The Hall was started up by five young Canadian men. This was another of Michaels' masterpieces. It aired on CBC and HBO from 1988 to 1995 and you can still watch reruns of it on CBC or the comedy network. Michaels, and the five cast members, Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Scott Thompson, Mark McKinney, and Bruce McCulloch, were all Canadian and wanted to put off an edgy show that was right here, at home, in good old Canada, instead of in the States. These actors and writers were very witty and were another example of Canadian achievement. A lot of Canada, (well those who watched CBC often), watched the show and it became very popular and know as a show with edge. I found this to be true for the sketches would make me laugh from the gut every time. My favorite sketches were "STEPS" and the Kevin MacDonald goes crazy sketches.

STEPS, had its own unique way of presenting gay pride. It featured three different types of homosexual men sitting on steps to a cafe‚ on Gay Pride Day. One man was a bubbly person, the other a big, tough person, and another a geeky, political businessman. They all showed their homosexuality in a different type of way. This sketch was funny and surprisingly non-offensive or controversial.

There are certain sketches where Kevin MacDonald, my favorite Kid in the Hall, went crazy and showed his wild and brilliant side. He is the member of the group with the most spirit. My favorite sketch is when he decides to grow to grow a beard on vacation. Then he goes back to work acting strangely because the beard is taking him over. Finally, the beard makes him totally crazy and he jumps over a rail and dies. His wife comes and identifies him five or ten minutes later and the beard is gone!

All Canadians know that if a show or movie starts with " Lorne Michaels Presents", you're in for a lot good laughs and inspiration too. Saturday Night Live still comes on at 1:00 PM (NF Time -- 11:30 EST) and everybody should try to watch it. With a mixture of comedy, music, and good times, Saturday Night Live and Lorne Michaels have had a great impact on the world for the past twenty five years.


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