For those of you who have been keeping score, it has been a long time since Saturday Night Live
, once the premier, end all and be all of comedy on television, has held the clout it once demanded. In fact, many of those who grew up on the late night comedy show have long since grown disinterested and weary of sub par casts, guests, and skits. "Saturday Night Live" was declared dead by popular consensus. And yet, after 33 seasons, it is making a new bid with some fresh faces. Sound the alarm - the funniest night of the week is back:Meet the group that's going to Save Saturday Night Live:Amy Poehler
: Poehler is a different kind of Saturday Night Liver. She is one of the few who made her name in comedy before coming to the show. A veteran and founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade, Poehler's greatest comedy work may be seen on Sunday nights at the New UCB theater in Manhatten
, where she leads ASSSSCAT 3000. ASSSSCAT, a rich improv comedy tradition, is free to the public and is a great way to see the SNLers up close and personal, where they develop many of the skits and characters for Saturday Nights. Plus, you never know who's going to show up (guests range from John Krasinski
to Mike Myers
). Trying to name all of Poehler's movie and TV credits is like trying to catch a fly with a paper clip, but the end result is this: Her success and long standing in the comedy community lends a credibility to SNL that hasn't been there in a while. With Poehler, it's not a matter of Saturday Night Live shifts from a way for comedians to launch there career to a culmination of their comedic journey.Darrell Hammond
: He's entering his record setting thirteenth season on Saturday Night Live, and he's not going anywhere any time soon. Perhaps the best impressionist alive, Hammond is notorious for performing as the nations leading politicians both on SNL and at Presidential conventions and Correspondents Dinners. Hammonds impressions leave an endless list of possibilities for political satire and celebrity mockery- two anchors of the SNL experience.
: Young and talented, Samberg is Jimmy Fallon's
charm and Chris Kattan's
craziness, but he's got his own brand and style of comedic timing and talent to boot. Maybe most important, Samberg is backed up by his two friends behind the scenes: Also young comedic geniuses, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone
are constantly shining through Samberg with their writing and directing on SNL. The comedic trio who once joined forces on the failed but hysterical fox sitcom pilot "Awesometown" are responsible for almost every SNL music video you'll see. This fearsome threesome will be bolstering Saturday Nights and infusing a young edginess not seen on the show since the lose cannon John Belushi
went around wielding real samurai swords. Kristen Wiig
: You may think you don't know who Kristen Wiig is, but you've probably seen her all over the place. She practically stole the show in "Knocked up
" as the E! network assistant who kept advising Katherine Heigl's
character to lose some weight. Her career is littered with small, walk on characters who hold memorable moments in comedy movies. You can see her in Walk Hard
to name a few, as well as countless roles in sitcom's like 30 Rock
and The Drew Carey Show
. An improv veteran of Los Angeles' "The Groundlings" (who's alum include Will Ferrell
and Phil Hartman
), she is one of the many new cast members who can be found on Amy Poehler's Upright Citizen's Brigade stage. If you turn on SNL, there is a chance you may mistake her for the host, as she's often in the same amount of sketches. This is a comedian so funny that she can write her own ticket, and she's writing it on Saturday Nights. Her character "Judy Grimes," marks a return of the funny weekend update guest, a staple of the golden days of Saturday Nights.
: Anyone who's in their twenties, which is a huge fading demographic for SNL, will remember Kenan from the Nickelodeon "SNICK" sketch comedy show for kids "All That." Kenan, who played such characters as Baggin Saggin Barry and stared in the spinoff "Kenan and Kel
," is not on Saturday Night Live by accident. He's a proven sketch comedy pro, but most importantly, he will draw a nostalgic viewer to SNL- the 20-30 year old who remembers when Keenan ruled their Saturday Nights, however earlier in the evening, ten years ago.Bill Hader
: In his second season with SNL, Hader was declared "SNL's new secret weapon," by New York Magazine. Hader has some bite with his impersonations, which aren't necessarily spot on but more crazy and with a bit of bite than your usual impressionist (see his Al Pacino
transferring money in his bank accounts.) Hader is featured in the instant teen classic Superbad
as one of the crazy cops who take McLovin for a night on the town. With Hader's lose screw, any sketch is capable of going delightfully over the top.
: Meyers started with SNL seven seasons ago as a strong featured player. One of Amy Poehler's regular favorites on ASSCAT, Meyers is now in his second season as a head writer on the show and has taken Tina Fey's place as Poehler's Co-Anchor on weekend update. This duo may mark the resurrection of the segment that started "comedy news."
Maya Rudolf(eight seasons), Will Forte
and Fred Armesian
, Jason Sudeikis
and Casey Wilson
: In their sixth season on the show, Forte and Armesian represent the comedic strength of the "core" of this SNL group. Along with Maya Rudolf, they have been nicely filling in as "role players" for over half a decade. Third year vet Jason Sudeikis and newcomer Casey Wilson seem to be on track to fit this role as well. Always with SNL, there are the stars and there is a chorus of players. Like all live theater, a show is only as good as its cast of thousands. During the darker years of SNL, some of these players all seemed self absorbed and focused only on building their own personal stardom (see Jimmy Fallon). This group seems to be having fun and bent on making great comedy. Their widespread background in improv theater lends itself to this. So, goodbye dark ages, hello "LIVE FROM NY, IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT!"
Story by James Fagan
Starpulse.com contributing writer