Editorial Review

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Cover: Saturday Night Live: Shaping TV Comedy and American Culture

They say dying is easy; it’s comedy that’s hard. And writing about comedy is hard as well. Kaplan does a fine job of detailing the history of the iconic TV show Saturday Night Live, introducing some of the cast’s biggest stars over the eras. But chronicling their finest bits—Eddie Murphy’s Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Dana Carvey’s Church Lady, Tiny Fey as Sarah Palin—doesn’t work very well, especially for those readers who’ve never seen them. However, there are other things this book does very well: explaining the show’s social and political impact; introducing the controversies regarding the show’s slowness in hiring writers and performers of color (and the perception of the show as a ‘boys’ club’); and showing how a weekly live television show comes together. The book contains plenty of great photographs that may entice readers to find old clips of memorable moments on YouTube. A bibliography, a quiz, and a list of SNL writers who went on to other things (Al Franken, U.S. senator) concludes.

Products Reviewed

Title  
Saturday Night Live: Shaping TV Comedy and American Culture
  • Available in limited formats
  • Soon! Fall 2020
  • New! Spring 2020
  • New! Fall 2019

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