If you’ve ever checked out a comment thread in the Internet discussing “Saturday Night Live,” you’re probably familiar with a very common chorus among the show’s many dissenters. Indeed, if you scan through our very own weekly recaps, invariably there’s almost always one or two “hilarious” comments to this effect:
“This show’s still on?”
“Funniest thing about SNL is that there are still people who watch SNL.”
“Why are people still watching this show?”
“I now feel pity for those who still watch this dumb show.”
“I hate to say it, but who cares?”
It’s not just on this site, either. It’s a universal sentiment. In fact, last night as I was scanning our site’s recap threads to compile the above list of quotes, Eric D. Snider, a noted movie writer with a beard and a quick wit, tweeted out this: “To people who love to say SNL isn’t funny anymore: Then why do you still watch it? And if you don’t watch it, then how do you know?” Given the creepy timing of this tweet, I quickly looked behind me to ensure that Mr. Snider was not standing over my shoulder. I was quite relieved to find only the usual miniature version of myself with a pitchfork wearing a devil costume standing on my clavicle.
The mini-devil me whispered into my ear, “Why are you writing about this show? Who cares?”
“Why is it that the very people who complain about how stale ‘SNL’ has become,” I responded, “are the same ones that repeat that line week after week after week? Is that some sort of cute irony? Or can you just not think of anything more pointless to say?”
It’s as though the people who do not like “Saturday Night Live” are taking cues from the show’s writing staff when it comes to lack of originality in their biting quips. It reminds me that, in college, I worked as a cashier at a grocery story in Arkansas, and on 32 occasions a day, someone would come through my aisle with a product missing its price tag. And each and every time it happened, the customer would say, as though they were the first person to ever come up with this brilliant bon mot, “I guess that must means it’s free, huh?” and then laugh hysterically at their own joke while exposing their lack of teeth. The people who ask, “Who cares?” when it comes to “SNL” remind me of those customers, give or take a missing tooth. Why do you care enough to comment about who cares? Who cares about you not caring?
No one, really.
What’s dumber than watching “SNL” week after week? I tell you! Taking the time to passive-aggressively ask, “Why are people still watching this show?” when what they really mean is, “I am not the sort of pathetic loser that would waste a Saturday night watching a television show noted for its mediocrity, but I am the sort of pathetic loser who would take the time to condescend to those people on an Internet comment thread at 9:30 on a Sunday morning.” Congratulations, you win at Internet life.
Look: I don’t believe in the maxim, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all,” for if I did, I would have very little to contribute to both this site and daily conversation. And while I do very much enjoy speaking ill of others, I draw the line at barging into someone else’s conversation to say, “Why do you care about what it is you are talking about? Are you some kind of idiot?” A statement like that smacks of insecurity, parental neglect, or general social retardation.
Still, I suppose the question does deserve an answer. Why do I care about “Saturday Night Live”? It’s certainly not because it’s particularly relevant nor is it because I find the show amusing. That is rarely the case. Nor is it because I simply like to complain, although that is true, too, and “SNL” often gives me a reason. But I rarely need another reason to complain — an excuse to complain about something is like sunshine: An almost daily occurrence, and why does it have to be so goddamn bright?
The reason I care enough about “Saturday Night Live” to watch it is because I have an affection for the show, because it’s been on for as long as I’ve been alive, because it’s always there, except during the summer and seemingly every other week during the regular season. Because it’s still one of the few shows that can launch a comic talent every once in a while. Because there’s a decent episode or two each season. Because there are four or five truly inspired sketches each year. Because I like to see famous people fail, live on television, and manage to pull themselves back together often only to fail again in the next sketch. “Saturday Night Live” can make rubble of even the most talented actors and comedians, and I love to watch train wrecks, especially those that can humanize otherwise perfect human beings, like Jon Hamm. Because, on the rare occasion when “SNL” does say something politically or culturally relevant, I like to see it firsthand. Because Seth Meyers occasionally makes a funny. Because I love Abby Elliot. Because Jay Pharoah does a decent impersonation every once in a while. Because I like Kristen Wig, even though I don’t really like her on the show very much anymore. Because when Jason Sudeikis makes fun of feminine hygiene products in the context of a fake sports show, I often laugh. Because Stefon has grown on me.
But mostly, I watch “Saturday Night Live” because I’m a pathetic loser who has nothing better to do on a Saturday night. But at least I’m not as pathetic as the losers who complain about how other losers utilize their time on Saturday nights. Really, who cares about those people?