This evening NBC celebrated the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live with a live special that easily could be the television event of the year. This was no simple retrospective show with a few old clips as every single cast member and every single host (even if they hosted just once) from the last four decades was invited back to New York City for the celebration. The resulting guest list of people in the audience and those scheduled to perform was a dazzling array of comedy legends, actors, actresses, musicians, athletes, and writers. It took three and a half hours to celebrate the forty years that SNL has been on the air.
Earlier in the day though, as I was reading through some #SNL40 tweets, it suddenly dawned on me how this anniversary made me feel old. The reason being is that I remember watching the SNL 15th anniversary like it was yesterday. I was in junior high at the time and had only really started watching SNL perhaps a year or two previously. I was only familiar with the current cast at the time, people like Dana Carvey and Mike Myers. The special showed me a glimpse of all the shows and cast members from the 70s and early 80s, stuff I’d never seen before. At the time, I’d only seen a fraction of the shows that had aired, missing out on a good twelve to thirteen years of live sketches. I taped the 15th anniversary special and it was so funny, I regularly watched it for about six months after it aired.
Fast-forward to this afternoon and I realized that fifteen had become forty. How did twenty-five years go by so fast? Where did the time go? In that quarter of a century since I taped that special, dozens and dozens of people have come and gone from SNL. Some became rich and world-famous, others went on to live more modest lives. If you were to count up the number of SNL shows I’ve seen, I’ve easily watched more than half of them now, quite a contrast to junior high me, who had just started watching the show.
Lots of things make me feel old these days but it’s a rare thing for a TV show to make me feel that way.