Saturday Night – Through Thick and Thin
For nearly 35 years, what… really? 35 Years – Yep… On saturday nights, you could usually find me in the vicinity of a television. I am one of the few people I know who’ve stuck with the little program comin’ from studio 8H through good times and bad.
I can’t recall the first episode I saw, it was during the first season, and it made a huge impact on me and I would be permanently hooked…
Oh I’m quite certain the majority of the “jokes” flew right over my head those first couple of seasons, didn’t matter, I knew this was something special…. the sheer giddy pleasure they seemed to be having – I can’t explain it, but ask my Mom…it became like a religion for me. The skits, my scripture – I would spout verbatim, entire sketches at the drop of a hat. I also started writing alot of my own sketches – I can recall running some of my routines past my Mom. Thinking back – I’m almost certain I would have been on the honor role my entire academic career if my brain wasn’t so pre-occupied and full of sketches… Even during some of the veeeery lean years, I watched, rarely missing an episode – when most people had no idea who anyone on the show was and couldn’t tell you a member of the cast if there was a gun to their head, still I watched.
Ok some of these folks went on to have fruitful careers but that more than anything was a testament to the power of SNL to rise above mediocre material and make the comedic nuggets stand out even more…. there were some outstanding casts and seasons and some real dogs but when a sketch hit – it transcended all the dreck…. for me at least…. and I would forgive all the crapola I had sat through…
I think, in all seriousness, if I had my life to live over again, I would focus everything I had on getting on to that show. No doubt. That would have been the goal and single driving force. It makes me sad to think of what could have been – single biggest regret of my life, not having the guts to go for it. I suppose the only upside to my not having tried to make the show is that I’m certain of two things, 1. I would have been damn funny and 2. I’d be dead now.
Yep Belushi, Farley and Me – not that I’m comparing myself to those guys – just that I have the same dangerous tendencies towards excess and I can only imagine the temptations that must swirl around you day and night. Having read every single magazine article, all the books by former cast members and anything else I can find gave me a pretty good idea of what went on behind the scenes. Not always pretty but nevertheless still something I would have been delighted to be a part of.
Having done some comedy in school, I could very easily see the ease with which one could slip into having a drink or two before taking the stage, to help calm the nerves and lubricate the old chasis – and as you moved on up the comedic world graduating from alcohol to stronger substances. Occasionally, I feel pressure now to be “ON” and funny, like I’m letting people down if I’m not cracking wise – so I can’t imagine what it’s like when you’re famous.
I remember dragging an old flame of mine all over southern Ontario to see this one particular comic, who I found hysterical, we were at a Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto and one of the comics sat down at our table during the show and I remember making him laugh a bunch. That was a heady feeling, knowing I was making a professional laugh and I knew I could have pursued it, made a go of it, I could have paid my dues and at least been a working comic but I took the safer route and that is what I’ll have to live with forever.
I have to go now, SNL is starting….
Have a Great Day.