The Afterlife

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Several years ago, I discontinued my television service. Evaluating how little I watched TV and comparing it to the dollars it cost to sustain a service I used so little, the decision was easy. Now, I access the programs I prefer the day after they air via the web, and watch them on my schedule. All while pocketing the $70 per month I would have paid if I hadn’t boxed up my flatscreen.

While perusing the available fare on the network web sites, I noticed Rhonda Rousey was hosting Saturday Night Live this past weekend. Although I hadn’t watched SNL in decades, the appeal of Ms. Rousey overcame any hesitation. I switched to full screen on my 24-inch monitor and sat back to enjoy the show.

The first thing I noticed — following the unfunny opening skit — was the amazing number of cast members filling slots once occupied by comedic luminaries such as Belushi, Radner, Chase, and Murray. The cast members appeared to outnumber the live studio audience. It can only surmise NBC has opted for quantity to fill the gap left by an absence of talent.

Following the litany of unknown names that populated the opening, Ms. Rousey appeared in all her glory, looking very fit despite her recent professional setback. What followed was painful to watch. The dialog — one cannot refer to it as “comedic” — ranked alongside a prolonged visitation with members of the Spanish Inquisition. And I’m not speaking of the Monty Python version. The attempts at humor were both not funny and an embarrassment. The fact that alleged “writers” are paid to produce such drivel demonstrates how far our society has fallen.

So, I’m thinking it’s me. I just don’t “get” today’s humor. But then, I realized what SNL proffers is not humor. It’s something else entirely. It is the anti-humor. And yet the audience laughs mindlessly, which is on a par with the caliber of “jokes” provided by the program.

Watching last Saturday’s program — the 10 minutes I could withstand — I felt sad for SNL, NBC, and, most of all, the alumnae who once made Saturday Night Live what it was.

SNL is dead. The Saturday Night Zombie. It just doesn’t know it yet.