Sunday, September 14, 2008

Live From New York...Again?

Tina Fey (left) as Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler as Hillary
Clinton opened Saturday Night Live's new season tonight.

Tonight kicked off the 186th season of NBC's Saturday Night Live, the comedy sketch show that began during the early 19th Century as a means of dispelling melancholy and smallpox outbreaks throughout the settlements in the Louisiana Purchase.

Back in those early days, of course, the skits were funnier and the musical guests were better. Eventually, by the late 20th Century, what passed for "funny" was essentially elementary school potty humor. The musical offerings, while occasionally worthwhile, usually attempted to brand the latest pre-fab, cookie-cutter audio artists as "the next big thing." They hardly ever were.

In tonight's installment, Olympic champion/man-fish Michael Phelps guest hosted (only less wooden than most athletes who have appeared on SNL) and Lil' Wayne -- no doubt the younger brother of Big Wayne and their dad, Sizable Wayne -- was the, um, musical guest?

Ready for prime time?: (L to R) -- Lil' Wayne,
Michael Phelps, Amy Poehler. (photo courtesy NBC)

The opening skit featured Amy Poehler in her recurring role as Hillary Clinton and Tina Fey -- the SNL alumna/sitcom impresa (if that's really a word...) -- as her doppelgänger Sarah Palin. It was spot-on in every way. One of the better openings in years...

The show's other skits were fairly strong, with SNL's trademark "Weekend Update" promising a strong season ahead.

Extra: Sad to report that David Foster Wallace, the noted novelist, died at age 46 on Saturday. From the New York Times: "David Foster Wallace, whose darkly ironic novels, essays and short stories garnered him a large following and made him one of the most influential writers of his generation, was found dead in his California home on Friday, after apparently committing suicide, the authorities said.Mr. Wallace, 46, best known for his sprawling 1,079-page novel 'Infinite Jest,' was discovered by his wife, Karen Green, who returned home to find that he had hanged himself, a spokesman for the Claremont, Calif., police said Saturday evening. Mr. Wallace was a professor in the English department at Pomona College in Claremont."

Wallace gave a particularly interesting commencement address at Kenyon College back in 2005 that is worth reading.

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