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TitleSaturday Night Live, Hollywood Comedy, and American Culture: From Chevy Chase to Tina Fey
Author
LanguageEnglish
File Size4.4 MB
Total Pages239
Table of Contents
                            Cover
Half-Title
Title
Copyright
Contents
List of Figures
Acknowledgments
Introduction
One: “I’m Chevy Chase and You, You’re Merely a Statistic”: Self-reference and Stardom on Saturday Night Live
Two: “I’ll Write You a Note Saying You’re Too Well to Attend”: National Lampoon’s Animal House Takes Saturday Night Live to Hollywood
Three: “But the Kids Love Us”: The Development of Bill Murray’s Star Persona from Saturday Night Live to Ghostbusters
Four: “I Don’t Even Like Myself”: The Revision and Retreat of Saturday Night Live Stars after Ghostbusters
Five: “Age Is a Tough One for Me”: Selling Saturday Night Live in the 1980s
Six: “I Still Know How to Party”: Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, and Generational Change on Saturday Night Live
Seven: “A Colourful, Emotional, Working Class Hero”? The Development of Adam Sandler’s Fictional and Extra-fictional Personas
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Saturday Night Live, Hollywood Comedy,

and American Culture

Page 119

The Revision and Retreat of SNL 113

While none of these films approached the levels of success of Animal
House and Ghostbusters, they continued to find substantial audiences. As
a result, representations of baby boom experience continued to form a
major strand of Hollywood comedy into the 1990s. In the next chapter,
I show that, over the following decade, subsequent SNL casts rein-
forced rather than challenged this emphasis. During the 1980s, only
two major film stars, Eddie Murphy and Billy Crystal, were produced
by the show. Both fit into the same trends, and appealed to many of
the same audience groups as their predecessors, The Not Ready for
Primetime Players.

Page 120

C H A P T E R F I V E

“Age Is a Tough One for Me”: Selling

Saturday Night Live in the 1980s

For his monologue beginning the final episode of SNL’s fifth season
on May 24, 1980, host Buck Henry announced that the show would
be returning for a sixth year, but with an entirely new cast. He then
proceeded to introduce the new team, one of whom proudly sported
a jumper with “I’m Lee Mayman and you’re not” emblazoned on the
front. All of them, Henry insisted, would be preparing by spending
the summer at NBC’s comedy camp in upstate New York. Neither the
identities of the replacement cast, nor their program of training was
genuine, merely providing a source of humor for Henry’s monologue,
yet the awkward, overtly corporate tone of the presentation accurately
ref lected the dilemma facing NBC in the summer of 1980.

As I have argued, regardless of the actual views of the network’s exec-
utives, SNL had originally succeeded in presenting itself as challenging
the established televisual order. It was in this context that backstage
aspects of the show, including the personas of the cast as creators and
trailblazers, became instrumental to its success. In turn, Belushi, Chase,
Aykroyd, and Murray were able to repeat their television achievements
in a series of hit films. After five seasons, however, the trail had been
well and truly blazed. In May 1980, Variety revealed SNL was NBC’s
most profitable show not in primetime.1 As an established franchise,
SNL’s outsider image became difficult to justify, gradually leading to
changes in the show’s focus and its relationship with viewers.

This chapter considers the different ways in which SNL was posi-
tioned and sold during the 1980s and the resulting impact these deci-
sions had on the careers of cast members. In contrast to the glut of

Page 238

Index 233

Cast stardom, 5–6, 20–21, 35–36,

38–39, 63–65, 68, 70, 76, 78, 81,

97, 112–113, 115–116, 119–120,

128, 136, 140, 153–154, 156–157,

160, 161, 171, 181–182,

194–195

Creation, 24–27

Critical reception, 19–20, 30, 35,

116–117, 127–128, 136–137, 140,

142, 151–152, 160, 192

Film, infl uence on, 1–4, 17, 41–42, 43,

47–48, 57, 59, 61, 64–65, 72–74,

82, 85, 88–89, 91–92, 95, 112–113,

120, 121, 128, 129, 137, 144–145,

146, 155–159, 159–160, 161, 163,

166, 172–173, 185, 188–191

Format, 2, 25, 33, 117–118

Generation X, representation, 8, 17,

134, 139–140, 141–142, 152–153,

160, 188, 192–193

Guest hosts, 28, 32, 33, 35, 37–38, 44,

67, 81, 98, 115, 119, 126, 127, 142,

150, 182

Live broadcast, 26, 127, 150–151

Millennial Generation, 188, 195

NBC, position within, 24, 28, 29–30,

39, 72–73, 98, 115, 117, 146, 152,

187–188, 189

Network television, relationship to, 17,

19–20, 28–30, 107, 115–116, 118,

138, 139–140, 187–188, 196

New York location, 26, 58–59, 69, 88,

115

“Weekend Update,” 34, 66, 116, 118,

119, 127, 135, 136, 147–148, 149,

195

White male bias, 60–61, 64–65, 68, 85,

89, 116–119, 150, 158, 191, 193

Writing of, 25, 60, 116, 117, 124, 150

Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell,

26–27

Schlosser, Herb, 24

Schneider, Rob, 146, 150, 154, 181–182,

184

Scrooged, 98, 99–102, 103, 105, 106, 109

Second City, 25, 26, 46, 48, 65, 125, 126,

147

Second City TV, 126–127, 128

Seems Like Old Times, 41, 45, 60

Sellers, Peter, 42

Semi-Tough, 43

Shakes the Clown, 155

Shampoo, 43, 44–45

Shannon, Molly, 194

Shapiro, Al, 166

Shearer, Harry, 68, 127

Shore, Pauly, 155

Short, Martin, 94, 127, 128, 134, 136, 192

Silverman, Fred, 29

Silver Streak, 44

Simmons, Matty, 46, 48

Simon, Neil, 42, 45, 60

Simon, Paul, 31, 38

Smigel, Robert, 154

Smokey and the Bandit, 43

Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, 22–23,

26, 118

Snyder, Tom, 36–37

Soap, 126

So I Married an Axe Murderer, 145, 193

Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, The, 107

Sorkin, Aaron, 187–188

Space Jam, 112

Spade, David, 140, 146–147, 150, 154,

160, 181

Spanglish, 168

Spielberg, Steven, 1, 3, 59

Spies Like Us, 1, 94, 95, 98, 193

Spillman, Miskel, 37

Starr, Ringo, 127

Star Wars, 82

Steel, Dawn, 99

Stephenson, Pamela, 127

Stiller, Ben, 141, 152

Streisand, Barbra, 42

Stripes, 57, 61, 63–5, 77–81, 82, 84–87, 98,

100, 103, 107, 109, 121

Stuart Saves His Family, 146

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, 187

Sugarland Express, The, 44–45

Page 239

Index234

Superman, 83

Superstar, 194

Sunshine Boys, The, 42

Sutherland, Donald, 48

Sweeney, Julia, 146

Sweeney, Terry, 134

Take the Money and Run, 43

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky

Bobby, 194

They’re All Gonna Laugh at You, 140,

153–155, 156

30 Rock, 187–188, 195–196

This is Spinal Tap, 127

Thompson, Kenan, 194

Three Amigos, The, 94, 124, 128

Three Men and a Baby, 133, 191

Throw Momma from the Train, 129–130

Titone, Jackie, 181

Tomlin, Lily, 20, 25, 38, 191

Tonight Show, The, 24, 26, 28

Tootsie, 81–82

Trading Places, 82, 95, 120–121, 122, 124,

130

Train, Planes and Automobiles, 133

Turturro, John, 182

2000 Year-Old Man, The, 43

UHF, 137

Uncle Buck, 133

Up in Smoke, 57–58

Vampire in Brooklyn, A, 125

Vance, Danitra, 134

Waterboy, The, 161, 166–167, 169, 172,

175, 182

Wayne’s World, 138, 140, 142–145, 146,

155, 159, 160, 193

Wayne’s World 2, 145, 193

Weathers, Carl, 182

Weaver, Sigourney, 85

Wedding Singer, The, 165–166, 169, 171,

172–173, 182, 184

What About Bob?, 103–105, 106, 111

What’s Up, Doc?, 42

What the Hell Happened to Me?, 166

When Harry Met Sally . . . , 129, 130–131, 132

Where the Buff alo Roam, 60

Wholly Moses, 60

Wilder, Gene, 44

Williams, Robin, 61, 133

Wilson, Bridgette, 156, 157

Winkler, Henry, 167, 172, 182

Wise Guys, 125

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, 167–168,

184

Young Frankenstein, 43

Your Show of Shows, 20

Zappa, Frank, 38

Zemeckis, Robert, 59

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