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During a segment of last night’s 40-year anniversary special of NBC’s Saturday Night Live the show played tribute to the city that it lives and breathes, none other than New York. Every episode the show begins after a cold open and seven little words that we’ve come to memorize: “Live from New York… It’s Saturday Night Live”. So to play homage to Big Apple, the special set aside a few minutes to show a montage of how NYC is such an important part of the show. Watch below:
To introduce the montage, of course, former SNL host Robert De Niro took the stage. De Niro, who is a Manhattan native is more widely recognized as the heavy-accented New Yorkers he plays on the big screen, so it was only natural that he confess his love for the great city. As he continues on about how much the series has meant to him, and New York City, he added that SNL and NYC are exactly how he likes his Saturday nights, asking “Anybody got a problem with that?”
And with that, the montage began, and showcasing some of the greatest skits throughout the history of series that use the city as it’s real-life set. From the early years of the show to the the recent skits, overall the montage reminded us how much New York City affects SNL, and it definitely works the other way as well. But most impressive, no matter how popular SNL has become, even internationally, it still puts on sketches that hit close to home as a New Yorker. I can remember most recently, when NYC passed a new marijuana policy that basically said that possession is fine, but smoking isn’t, SNL took the time to ridicule the absurdity, and it was one of the more hilarious sketches of the year.
As a New York City native, I’ve seen it first hand. Whether you’re a tourist or new to the city, fans of the show know, that being in NYC you’ve at least once camped outside the NBC Studios building overnight, hoping to get the stand-by tickets they distribute at 7 a.m. Saturday morning. Then as you start to live in the city longer, if you are a comedy fan whatsoever, and go to UCB and other comedy theaters, you start to notice recurring acts. And when you see them finally make it to SNL, it is a reminder that comedy is the blood flowing through all of New York City. It makes total sense since we are all bitter pessimists, who like to make fun of tourists who don’t know how to walk on the right side of the street, and yell at taxi drivers who almost hit you as you try to jaywalk. It’s a wonderful gritty city, and it’s the only place a show like SNL could come from.