By JoAnn Snavely
Saturday Night Live’s first episode of 2021 aired this past Saturday. With a star-studded cast, celebrity special guests, and more, Saturday Night Live is combining pop culture and humor to educate those who don’t want to be educated.
Saturday Night Live has been a staple in pop-culture since it first aired in the mid70s, dubbing some of the most iconic skits such as “Wayne’s World”, “Debbie Downer”, and “Macgruber”. It has also been the starting point for many of today’s most successful comedians with names like Adam Sandler, Will Ferrel, Bill Hader, John Mulaney, and Chris Rock being some of their most notable alumni. SNL has collected a large fan base from every demographic with a whopping 8.2 million average viewers per episode. With this large of a fan base and viewership comes a lot of responsibility and influence, and SNL has not only taken that challenge, but used it to their advantage, taking every episode to update and educate viewers on news by using satire to introduce everything going on in the crazy world we live in today.
At the opening of almost every episode they take any major events that happened in politics and recreate them by taking these events, exaggerating them a bit, and turning them into skits that not only summarize what happened, but also make it enjoyable. Then later in the episode, after the first musical performance, Michael Che and Colin Jost team up for their Weekend Update. This is a segment on SNL that takes news stories from the week and explains them while obviously making jokes. So much of today’s news is so negative and hard to hear that many people just simply avoid watching it, and when those same people tune into Saturday Night Live to see all of these things going on in the world turned into comedy, it takes those who don’t want to be educated and educates them while adding a satirical kick. The great thing about taking these news stories that can be so negative and making jokes about them is…instead of viewers tuning out of what they’re being told to avoid this steady flow of negative news, they can instead find a way to laugh even if the news isn’t necessarily good. Many people take this humor and are able to use it to cope with all of the things going on in the world in order to stay up to date without being overwhelmed by the negatives. This is a really good thing, although it can be seen as a negative. Some may see making jokes about important news or about people in power is cold-hearted and almost disrespectful, but sometimes making heavy things more light-hearted can make it easier to swallow.
Saturday Night Live is stepping up to the challenge of informing those who don’t want to be informed, and arguably doing it better than most. Instead of making nasty remarks about one specific political party, SNL brings a moderately neutral stance on most political issues, not holding back on what to or not to say. Tuning into SNL once a week might be easier to get news especially in today’s extremely heated political and social climate.