Volume 93, Issue 18

Thursday, September 29, 1999


ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

I'll take bland for $200, Alex

Skepticism Inc. not questionable

An open letter to Lorne Michaels

Nails hit it right on the head

Cooper has whip-crackin' good time

Guitar Wolf luckily speak universal language of music

An open letter to Lorne Michaels



Dear Lorne Michaels,

I've stood by you time and time again throughout the years, enjoying the good times and weathering the numerous bad ones. A Night at the Roxbury particularly stands out as one of the lowest points, although Stuart Saves His Family still haunts me late at night.

But you've finally broken me and I don't think I can stand by you anymore. You know the old saying, "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me?" Well, fool me 14 times and I'm a gullible moron.

The last straw came Sunday night. I loaded the VCR with a blank tape, sat down with a big bag of Doritos and settled back to watch what was purported to be a truly monumental 150 minutes of television, complete with hilarious clips, memories of past and present performers and elegiac tributes to cast members no longer with us.

Imagine my dismay when I witnessed the travesty you served up – a veritable lump of crap dressed up on a silver platter.

Countless shots of a bunch of silly celebrities, attending purely for window dressing purposes, took up enormous amounts of time. Billy Crystal's monologue as the star gazing Fernando lasted for an eternity, as he commented on Susan Sarandon's outfit, talked to a couple of baseball pitchers and stupidly engaged the worthless Gary Busey in a conversation, the point of which is still a mystery to me. After all, besides constantly inebriating himself into comas, what good has Busey done for the world?

As well, I know you don't like to remember it, but you weren't a part of the show for roughly eight years. You left us viewers in the lurch and producers Jean Doumanian and Dick Ebersol subjected us to a mediocre collection of sketches which, when not offending countless minority groups and organizations, were horribly unfunny.

Your 25th anniversary special glossed over this era quite heavily, showing an enormous amount of Eddie Murphy clips and not a whole lot else from the early 1980s. What about the Harry Shearers of the world, the Joe Piscopos, Jim Belushis and Anthony Michael Halls whose work was left scattered on the editing room floor? If you cut them, Lorne, do they not bleed?

And the tributes, Lorne, left much to be desired. Could we have not chosen a better clip for the great Phil Hartman than a wannabe My Fair Lady musical number with Jan Hooks?

Hilarious impressions of Frank Sinatra and Bill Clinton could have given a better capsization of Hartman's work to those unfamiliar with him, not to mention his portrayal of "The Anal Retentive Chef," which still sends me into hysterics.

Memorials to Chris Farley and Gilda Radner also left much to be desired, as did the neglect to honor the late writer Michael O'Donoghue.

O'Donoghue's impressions of celebrities such as Mike Douglas and Elvis Presley having 18-inch long steel needles shoved into their eyes, gave SNL a much needed dose of edginess. Yet, he didn't even deserve a token clip?

All told, Lorne, the 25th anniversary spectacular was anything but, concentrating on the more famous stars to have graced its stage, but leaving many of those who contributed to its overall greatness out in the cold.

Maybe you're too busy counting your residuals to realize that SNL only succeeds as a result of the sum of its parts.

I expected more from the man that brought us The Three Amigos. Or maybe I shouldn't have. After all, it did star Chevy Chase.


To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department:
gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1999