‘Saturday Night Live’ to Celebrate 40th Anniversary with Special

Published 1 year ago by

saturday night live logo Saturday Night Live to Celebrate 40th Anniversary with Special

Get ready to feel ancient: Saturday Night Live will celebrate its fortieth year on the air next year, marking the occasion with a surely epic and star-studded three-hour long special that will air on February 15th.

SNL is like fertile patch of land that seems to yield an endless supply of comedy talent, and as such, its alumni list is truly awe-inspiring. While many of those alumni might stop by for the 40th Anniversary special (will Eddie Murphy make his long-awaited return to the show that helped launch his career?), NBC doesn’t seem to have a guest list or a format down yet.

However, NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt seems dedicated to celebrating one of NBC’s most prestigious assets in grand fashion. Here’s what he had to say:

” ‘Saturday Night Live’ is an institution unlike anything else in television history […] The many brilliant ‘Not Ready for Primetime Players’ over the years is a who’s who of film and television comedy for the last two generations. The roster includes everyone from the iconic first cast in 1975 to household names ranging from Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Will Ferrell, and Adam Sandler, to Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, and Seth Meyers — to name only a few.

“This brand, which is still one of the highest-rated comedies on television, was the brainchild of Lorne Michaels, who still presides over the whole enterprise today. This special is just one of the many ways we plan to celebrate ‘SNL’s historic 40th season next year.”

If the 25th Anniversary Special – which aired in 1999 – is any indication, the 40th Anniversary Special may mix in a bit of understandable backslapping and reflection with clips from the past and a couple of  comedy bits that lean heavily on classic characters and nostalgia. But while the show’s awesome history of both broad and risky comedy deserves a victory lap like that, it might also be a missed opportunity.

With Bill Murray, Wiig, Bill Hader, Crystal, Murphy, Fey, and all the rest on hand, what better way could there be to celebrate Saturday Night Live than by allowing these guests to actually be on Saturday Night Live? Why not maximize the talent that will be on hand by turning the celebration into a star-studded reunion show with an emphasis on new material above simply running a clips show with a few familiar faces stopping by on their way to the after-party?

saturday night live archive Saturday Night Live to Celebrate 40th Anniversary with Special

Just dream on the possibilities: Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, and Amy Poehler in one sketch, Steve Martin, Bill Hader and Mike Myers in another. Meanwhile, Bill Murray can do whatever he wants with another handful of cast members from the present and the past.

Not only would such an undertaking recognize the enduring power of comedy’s greatest fraternity and their charmed frat house but, at a time when everyone talks about making “event television,” NBC could use this as a golden opportunity to really get people talking while also allowing the current cast to soak up all of the greatness that they’re following.

Will this ultimately be the way that the Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary Special plays out? We don’t know, but whatever it winds up being, it’ll surely be interesting.


Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary Special will air February 15th, 2015 on NBC. Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays on NBC @11:30pm.

Source: The Wrap

Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
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  1. I’m drooling at the possibilities. I hope NBC will make it a season long Anniversary next year. Not just a 2part special episode.

    Chevy Chase will return

    • Ju Look Marvelous!

  2. I want Mike Myers and Dana Carvey to recreate the Wayne’s World sketch

    Also the Dark Side with Nat X with Chris Rock. (RIP Chris Farley)

    Wake up Wakefield was funny too

    • I’d love to see Eddie Murphy do another Mr. Robinson’s Neighbor skit as well as Dana Carvey in another Church Lady skit.

  3. I’d say “I hope we have some of the original cast and others over the years returning” but then again, I sort of wouldn’t mind if they didn’t because we’ve never had SNL in the UK. We sort of had Saturday Live! which was a similar format but with British comedians of the day (Ben Elton, Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, French & Saunders, etc) but with the occasional guest star (the most memorable of which for me was when Mike Myers and Dana Carvey brought the Wayne and Garth characters over and got me excited for the Wayne’s World movie that followed sometime later).

    Like someone else said, it’d be nice to have a season long celebration since it has been 40 years and there were so many names that came out of that show.

  4. Wish it would include Martin Short as Ed Grimley (best character ever on that show!), and also the guy who played “The Church Lady” (was that Dana Carvey or some such name?). I was not a big fan of the show, but those two were pretty funny at times.

  5. If this was announced just a couple months before hand I’d expect just a typical anniversary celebration but with so much lead time I have high hopes that we could see something special.

    Given the crazy amount of former cast members that can come back you’d hate to say that if just one is a no-show it would damper the festivities but let’s be honest, Eddie Murphy is a must.

    • Who’s to say Lorne Michaels or some of the other people will be around in another 10 years? Why not go all out for the anniversary celebration this time around? It will be special.

  6. Or how ’bout having SNL alums hosting shows throughout the 40th season with walk-ons by their cast mates? Then a big reunion episode at the end of the season. Or at the beginning.

    And at least one episode with Katey Sagal hosting. She’s great and I always wanted to see her on SNL.

    Just my two cents.

  7. 1 word : MACGRUBER

  8. rodney is snorting craters. cracks me up still. from a long time ago

  9. What do you mean it will show on 2/15, a Sunday? Isn’t on at 11:30p Saturday, 2/14?

    • They’re gonna do a Valentine’s Special on Saturday.

  10. There should not be any guests that aren’t 5 times or more. Taylor Swift, 50 Cent, James Franco, etc. have absolutely no business being part of this 40th anniversary special. You don’t think of any of these people when you think of Saturday Night Live.

  11. I wonder how much key way payed for trying to sing on SNL…..

  12. The show was great…just wondering why there wasn’t a robin Williams skit would of made it for me

    • I agree. I liked that it was not just a clip show. They paid tribute to the clips but didn’t spend too much time on them. I liked the live skits, though there were a few awkward moments that didn’t go quiet as planned, like when the bassomatic didn’t start or Eddie Murphy was left stranded on stage when they were suppose to cut to a commercial. But I think all that is forgivable considering the enormity of the show. And it was live TV.
      I thought the mention of Jon Lovitz’s death was the funniest part of the show.
      But what really stole the thunder was the audience. Were they asleep, or were they more concerned about their own role in the show that they forgot they WERE their own audience? When Dan Aykroyd and Lorraine Newman took the stage for the classic Bassomatic skit, the audience was dead silent. No applause, no laughter – nothing. The same with the Californians and Jane Curtain’s return to the Weekend Update desk.