Saturday Night Live: Comedy's Big League, From The Beginning

By | October 23, 2017

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John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Gilda Radner as bees in the "Bee Hospital" skit, on the first episode of 'Saturday Night Live on October 11, 1975 -- Photo by: Herb Ball/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Saturday Night Live first aired in 1975, bringing us such instant comedy legends as John Belushi, Gilda Radner, and Chevy Chase, and ever since has been the incubator and unquestioned major league of American comedy. Its longevity is unmatched, and the accomplishments of its players -- Eddie Murphy, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Kristin Wiig, Adam Sandler -- are beyond question. Whenever you began watching the show, from the early days up until the present, you remember that cast as your first cast, and you saw a superstar or two beginning to spread their comedic wings and take flight. 

The show was the brainchild of genius producer, Lorne Michaels, and was originally titled NBC’s Saturday Night. More than 40 years later, SNL still begins each week with a short comedy skit, where ultimately one of the cast members breaks character and announces, “Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!” 

Same Time, Same Night, Same Network

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SNL has occupied the same late-night time slot for all these years: 11:30 p.m. on Saturday nights. The show has always been known for being politically and culturally charged and most definitely inappropriate, much to audiences' delight. There was always a regular cast that performed each week, along with celebrity guest stars and musical talent; including an in-house SNL band. Countless successful actors, musicians and writers gained notoriety and realized that one big break thanks to their exposure on the hit show.