New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Comic Relief

There have been numerous television shows that are virtually synonymous with New York City and have achieved legendary iconic status. Many open with recognizable shots of the city. Some, like the Letterman show, even have images of Manhattan as a backdrop to the set.

New York City has hosted The Tonight Show (with Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson), the Ed Sullivan Show, The Cosby Show, Sex and the City, Law and Order, The Late Show with David Letterman, Seinfeld, The Daily Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, and Saturday Night Live. These shows were not just produced and filmed here but also had New York City as part of its motif.

Saturday Night Live is a New York City-based sketch comedy show that began in 1975, with Lorne Michaels initially as writer/producer and now as executive producer. It achieved such wide cult status that the 3 letter acronym, SNL, soon replaced the name of the show in conversation and became widely adopted. Watching the program, singly or in groups, became de rigeuer for young people. I recall the regular Saturday night ritual. Excusing oneself from a social gathering to make it home to watch SNL was quite socially acceptable. In fact it spoke highly of one's love and dedication to an important part of New York City.

Many of the cast members launched careers in comedy and film after working on the show: Eddie Murphy, Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Chris Rock, Chris Farley, David Spade, Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, et al.
Some of the show's popular sketches also inspired films such as the The Blues Brothers and Wayne's World.

The show's allure has drawn celebrities, who both host the show (starting the opening monologue) and perform in sketches with the cast. The show also features a musical guest. The list of those who have appeared on the show reads like a who's who of the entertainment world, with hundreds of names. The show has had cameo appearances of political figures such as Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

In the early years of the program, New York was troubled, and SNL put a welcome and much needed positive spin on a city mired in financial woes and crime. Then, as now, SNL has provided necessary comic relief :)

About the Photo: Tuesday evening in Washington Square Park, a chess table (resembling those in the chess area of the park) was set up in the fountain plaza for filming of what will be used as an opener in the upcoming SNL season. Bill Hader was the star on the set. Hader is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and cast member of SNL since 2005. He has won both Emmy and Peabody awards and has appeared in over 20 films. So it was very surprising that the filming was being done with so little fanfare. A small audience gathered around the subjects with no interference from the film crew - their only admonition was "no flash photography."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, surprised! there was no big surrounding crowd.