Saturday Night Live has been on fire this season and is raking in ratings and viewers they haven't seen in years. Not wishing to lose the momentum as they approach the offseason, the sketch comedy series is trying new and innovative ways to pull in more people for their live airings. With a couple ideas already set in motion, SNL is back in the news again with a weird tactic that might have you questioning flipping the channel with the commercials roll.
Variety tells us that Saturday Night Live will be airing sponsored commercials for Verizon and Apple written by their staff. Not much is known about Apple's ad, but the Verizon commercial is written by Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost and will feature cast member Kenan Thompson. The Verizon commercial will air either during the April 8th or April 15th broadcast of the show and showrunner Lorne Michaels hopes it entices more people to watch the show live. Here's what Michaels had to say about the new tactic, as well as the struggle of getting a live audience, when so many would sooner wait until one of SNL's sketches goes viral on the internet the following day:
Everyone is struggling now in a world where there is so much media. We are all competing for sponsors, and everything is being reinvented. SNL has been reinventing itself from Season 2.
That's true, and while you may still set your DVR so that you can "party on" while Saturday Night Live airs this weekend, it sounds like they're okay with that. The real issue seems to be YouTube, which SNL only finally got on board with four years ago. That's a while to officially use the service, but far later than the other late night shows, which all seemed to jump on board around 2006. You can make the argument that Saturday Night Live was late to the game to modernize, but they've more than made up for it with their decisions as of late.
I say that while understanding that the inspiration for a television show hosting ads within programming is more of a throwback to classic television. That seems to be the headspace Lorne Michaels is in as he starts talking about the culture of advertising today versus back in the day.
Comedy is a big force in the culture, and I don't think there's a lot of over thinking about doing commercials as there was in the late '60s and early 70s. When I grew up, it was like Jack Benny for Jell-O or Bob Hope for Chrysler or Texaco Star Theatre.
Well, if Saturday Night Live was trying to get me to tune in by talking about this new commercial strategy, it certainly worked. Tune in tomorrow night at 11:30 ET to see Louis C.K. attempt to top the monologue of his friend Dave Chappelle. If fancy commercials don't impress you much, then feel free to find somewhere else to spend your time with our midseason premiere guide and summer premiere schedule.