Many of us here at FSR are big fans of Saturday Night Live and have been for most our lives. In my case, I started watching around the 11th season and while I skipped a few years between then and now, it’s always seemed a staple of my existence. Currently the sketch comedy show is in its 40th year, and one of the many things happening for the occasion is the feature documentary titled Live From New York!, which is opening the Tribeca Film Festival next week. Ahead of its premiere, the first trailer has dropped, and you can watch it right up there at the top of this post.
The doc is directed by Bao Nguyen, who was approparitely a camera operator on SNL vet Mike Myers’s directorial debut from last year, the doc Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordo. Myers is now one of the many talking heads appearing in Live From New York!, as are plenty of faces who’ve graced Studio 8H over the past four decades. They include former writers like Conan O’Brien, former breakouts like Adam Sandler and Bill Murray, recurring hosts such as Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin and, as we see in the trailer, former NYC mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
How much of the doc will be insightful information and how much will just be memorable clips from the show’s history is hard to tell from this first look, but it does seem weighted toward the latter. That could just be due to what sells fans on something like this. Besides, we just got a lot of that homage in the SNL 40th Anniversary Special back in February. As for the goods on the history, the 2003 book “Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests” remains a worthwhile read.
Documentaries and discussions about comedy can be a tough endeavor, but I’m always interested in attempts to break humor down and analyze it. I’m hoping there’s at least some of that going on in this film. We’ll find out when our Tribeca coverage begins in a matter of days.