Friday, February 12, 2010


Some of you may have noticed that, of late, Saturday Night Live lacks a certain, well, funniness. Recently, while watching a particularly humorless episode of the show, we came to an epiphany: almost every sketch would be improved by either a literal or proverbial punch in the face.

SNL relies heavily on characters that repeat a certain phrase or behavior. Sometimes, this trick works, but more often than not, whatever humor is originally present quickly fades and I want to tear my eyes out.

A perfect example is a recent sketch in which Kristen Wiig, playing one of her usual obnoxious characters, begs everyone in the room, “Don’t make me sing” despite the fact that she is clearly dying to sing. While she brutishly tries to make up words to music she doesn’t know, she continues to repeat her protestations. Here’s a link to the clip, you’ll see what I mean: . By the end of the sketch, everyone in the room clearly wants to punch Kristen Wiig’s character in the face. BUT NO ONE DOES IT!

And how hilarious would that be? Instead of a sketch trailing off, as this one does, with a slightly altered version of the same joke, one character should just get fed up and punch someone (preferably Kristen Wiig) in the face. It would be surprising, and refreshing, and if you’ll pardon the pun, add a much needed punch to SNL’s currently pretty flat show.

Comedy is all about surprise and shock, and SNL totally lacks that. So do a lot of comedy shows these days. Repetition done right can be humorous, but done predictably…well, it’s predictable.

Moral: Don’t be afraid of a punch in the face. It could save everything.

If you're watching SNL this week, see if a figurative or literal 'punch in the face' can save one of the many floundering sketches.

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