Live-Streamed From Your Work, It’s Not Saturday Night

Surveying four decades of criticism chronicling how SNL has lost its edge, Ian Crouch posits that the Internet has sounded the true knell for the show:

The final death of “S.N.L.” … may coincide with the death of live television itself.  “S.N.L.” has faced challenges from other shows in the past, but, now, everything that is funny anywhere, at any time, is a challenge. On television, Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele” and “Inside Amy Schumer” can make the sketches on “S.N.L.” look slapdash and tame; the topical sharpness of John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” often makes Weekend Update seem meek and scattered; and surreal shows like “Drunk History” and “Nathan for You” produce moments of left-field oddity that rarely make it past “S.N.L.” ’s dress rehearsals.

And that’s just what’s on television, never mind the surfeit of great series and amateur comedy creations on the Web. Many of these are carefully shot and meticulously edited, giving them a polish that surpasses what can be managed on a weekly, live stage show. And, like with “S.N.L.,” we can watch them whenever we want. And so, as fewer people arrange their lives to be on the couch on Saturday nights, the limitations of the live form begin to seem less thrilling, and more like a liability.

Coincidentally, the YouTube ad attached to the above video from Key and Peele featured an old SNL duo:

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