The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

SNLet Us Cook

This is Generation-Z humor and we are taking over

Humor didn’t die in 2001. Humor has been dying. Amidst a sump of cancel culture and phone addictions, entertainment companies produce anything to stay in the game. Even references to micro trends, which are already “last season” before the show even airs, demoting scripts to promote clicks. A once signature sketch-comedy show of skits and musical numbers has resorted to celebrities and overworked slang. Who cares about politics, Jerry Seinfeld just ordered a pink drink.

“Saturday Night Live” began back in 1975, when Janis Ian could be found everywhere but the album cover of some discounted vinyl. The original concept for “SNL” was a comedy-variety show that featured young comedians, live musical performances, short films by Albert Brooks and segments by Jim Henson featuring atypically adult and abstract characters from “The Muppets” world. Back then, material was derived from movies and performances, fueled by risk and the promise of families tuning in at home. 

Television production in New York was already in decline in the mid-1970s. “The Tonight Show” had departed for Los Angeles two years prior when NBC decided to base the show at their studios in Rockefeller Center. In the heart of New York City, a once mecca of budding entertainment has fully bloomed and sent Times Square reeling. The quiet opposite has become of “SNL.”

Suave and mundane, “SNL” sketch comedy lags, producers coercing audience members posing as the laugh track, into giggling on que. In a way, they laugh out of pity. 

Modern puppetry and computer-generated imagery are no longer dictating media. The youth are the future of entertainment and society, all attention has turned to them. Younger generations have their attention turned to social media. Where the audience goes the entertainers follow. “SNL” has found themselves airing skits like  “Big Dumb Cups” and “Short Kings” to cater towards this uprising generation.

Focusing teen audiences are not limited to television. Radio shows and podcasts have found themselves leaning towards and even relying on social media for technical advantages. Local radio stations like Power 94 focus on trending pop music and upbeat segues. Power 94 promotions manager and program director Cody MacKenzie even noticed advertisement shifts in recent years.

“[Social media promotions are] the biggest difference. 20 years ago radio wasn’t on social media much. Now every promotion is gonna be on social media,” said MacKenzie. “Teasing the event, pics of the event…and clients love seeing themselves on social [media] as well.”

Recovering from the chaos of New Years, “SNL” jumpstarted season 49 with recent star Jacob Elordi. A dead-beat son, king of rock and roll, and fickle oxford boy—now a host. What connects all of his recent roles; Jacob Elordi is hot. Hot and tall. A perfect concoction that holds viewers’ gaze, increasing audience engagement and turning heads toward “SNL.” In many ways The Summit Pinnacle is no better than “Saturday Night Live.” Both dying arts, incorporating trending names into their writing.

Season 48 of “SNL” was set to premiere on October 1st of 2022. But a massive cast exodus raised questions considering how the show would cope with the loss of admired talent. Mostly consisting of fan-favorite personalities, the show had to jumpstart engagement with a little help from some new friends.

“The only people I know who watch Saturday Night Live are my parents and old people. I guess they’re bringing in celebrities that younger people are obsessing over so they then obsess over the skits,” said Summit freshman Tove Skarperued. 

For about 20 episodes every season, “SNL” traditionally ran like a well-oiled machine; dependable, hilarious and always clocking in at 90 minutes. Yet season 49 has scrapped tradition and fully embraced staying afloat amongst dominating media, like TikTok and other apps that provide video reels. Streaming platforms and apps have dominated cable television. Movies can be watched in 90 or so part montages through an anonymous account, or simply “plot” edits.

A common term has surfaced amongst young adults: “for the plot.” Similar to YOLO, except when applied to streaming subpar storylines, the “plot” defines nowhere near some life story. Putting this slang into perspective, one could claim they watched “Saltburn” for the “plot,” a rather prosaic script. Similar to “Saltburn,” everyone from teens to your grandma are watching season 49 of “SNL,” and certainly not because of the writing. “SNL” now targets young audiences, and their weapon? Outdated punch lines and conventional sex icons.

“I’ve always been a huge fan of SNL, but I haven’t followed the latest season as much,” said MacKenzie. “I love when you see screw ups also; it makes you feel like the actors are just normal people. Not much is funnier than when a script goes bad and you see pure improvised comedy.” “SNL” has left their authentic era behind. Although their screen writing excludes the influence of artificial intelligence, the script itself feels dumbed down.

Available on Youtube and Peacock, season 49 was a desperate gasp for air as the comedy ship sinks at NBC Studios. Streaming each episode for more than an hour felt less than entertaining, more leaning toward obligatory research. There is an obvious phenomenon spreading through popular culture known as brain rot–tracing back to TikTok. Endless scrolling and quick consumption are now the only forms of entertainment people pay attention to.

“Teasing the next thing though, and keeping it moving is always big. It is also worth noting that taking too long is a bad thing, and can become an annoyance,” said MacKenzie. “In radio, K.I.S.S. is a big slogan, meaning keep it simple stupid.”

Direct TikTok references blotched nine out of 17 total episodes, a couple nurtured delinquent jokes, as well as a series framed off the back of political news. Each reference felt like a script buffer and an attempt to be cool with the kids. Beside incorporating micro trends, episode material either consisted of upcycled skits that received popular engagement or sexual innuendos towards Elordi.

In a dog eat dog world of entertainment, NBC deserves no shame for renovating sketch comedy. They even deserve kudos for their attempt at keeping up with the times and Kardashians. Yet the latest season contextualizes the reality of sketch comedy in a culture of full tilt consumption. Material such as Elordi and all of his “red flags,” determine the fate of live shows and whether they “eat” or are eaten.

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About the Contributor
Madelyn Walsh
Madelyn Walsh, Crest Editor

Meet Madelyn Walsh, the odd duckling of the notorious Crest Editor Trio. Modern art represents the irony of consumerist society, this girl represents the irony of journalism. An avid writer on and off of the newspaper, creative writing is just one of her many hobbies. A lover of the arts, Walsh spends most of her time dazzling the stage, annihilating all of her posh paint brushes and conceptualizing highly interpretive films. Homework and her Jazz piano progress are the least of her concerns as swotting Italian and Japanese implode her already chaotic mind. With a busy year ahead, she hopes her articles are not only intellectually satisfying but charming as well. She doesn’t just think outside the box, she shreds the limits. Walsh can’t wait to collaborate with the art community and the amazing talents of The Pinnacle.

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    AnonymousFeb 26, 2024 at 2:27 pm

    The future of SNL is tiktok clips with subway surfers or slime videos on the bottom split into 30 parts that you mindlessly consume until you realize the next part isn’t posted yet and check the comments to see everyone chirping the same “chop chop movie boy”