Tag Archive | Saturday Night Live

Photos from Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition!

SNL The Exhibition Signage
All Photos By Gail

It’s funny to think that so many adults have never known a life where NBC’s late night comedy sketch program, Saturday Night Live did not exist, but it’s not so weird considering the show is currently celebrating its 40th year on the air. If you’re even a casual fan of the show and you live anywhere near NYC, you should make a point to see Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition, an independent and ridiculously comprehensive showcase collecting sets, props, photos, costumes, film clips and every type of random ephemera covering the show’s history, from the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players up to today.

SNL Skyline

Just as the exhibit takes chronological journey, let me guide you through some of the highlights with photos I took when I went to see it with Geoffrey last weekend.

Introductory Room

Entry to the exhibit hall is very loosely timed, so that they can send groups in together and create a cohesive, immersive experience. When you first enter, a short history of the show’s highlights plays on the screen seen in the above photo, and you can sit and watch it and get all excited for what  you are about to experience. Consider it a kind of “warm up act” for the exhibit.

Wayne and Garth

If you’ve been to a taping of SNL, you might recall that as you walk into Studio 8H you pass through a hallway lined with photos of the show’s many memorable characters from the past and present, such as Wayne and Garth, or Stefon. They have that here as well.


Just looking at a photo of Bill Hader portraying Stefon, Weekend Update’s Nightlife Correspondent, makes me laugh out loud.

Monday Schedule

There are galleries dedicated to the activities of each of the six days that it takes to produce each show: from pitching sketch ideas to writing and revising the scripts, to set design and building (which takes place in a warehouse in Brooklyn), costume design, rehearsal, the live broadcast, and through to the after show party; there aren’t any details left out of what you’ll learn regarding the behind-the-scenes goings on of SNL.

Lorne Michael's Desk

This is producer Lorne Michaels actual desk from one of his two offices at 30 Rock.

Original Cast

The original Not Ready for Prime Time Players, before Billy Murray joined after the departure of Chevy Chase at the end of season one.

Land Shark
Land Shark Costume

Nick Winters Lounge Singer
Jacket Worn By Bill Murray’s Nick the Lounge Singer

Stuart Smalley
Costume of Stuart Smalley, Originally Portrayed by Al Franken, Now a Senator from Minnesota!

Mock Up of the Writers Room
Mock Up of the Writers Room

The Night’s Schedule for Each Show is Created with Index Cards on a Cork Board, for Easy Changes!

Wayne and Garth
Wayne’s World! Wayne and Garth Costumes Worn by Mike Myers and Dan Carvey

Wayne's World Set

You can take photos of yourself and friends on the Wayne’s World Set. If you are by yourself, an exhibit employee will happily snap one or two for you. Excellent!

Dress Worn By Dooneese, the Girl with the Creepy Voice and Teeny Tiny Hands, Portrayed By Kristin Wiig

Dick in a Box
Dick in a Box

Bobby Moynihan as Yoda
Yoda Cowl Prosthetic Worn by Bobby Moynihan

Racial Tension Headache
Excedrin Racial Tension Headache Formula, Tressant Supreme Hair Color with Crack Cocaine

There’s a large display case filled with the various Fake Products featured in SNL Commercial Parodies over the past 40 — years, many of which I am sure you will remember with a chuckle!

Corn Chip Nail Tips
Chewable Pampers, Short & Curly Pubic Shampoo, Shirt in a Can, Corn Chip Nail Tips

Balz Off
Balz-Off Testosterone Blocker

King Tutt Costume
King Tut Costume Worn By Steve Martin

When the exhibition Treasures of Tutankhamen toured in the 1970s, the US was gripped by Tut-Mania. My parents even took us to see it! Steve Martin parodied the craze when he hosted in April of 1978. At the time, the King Tut sketch was SNL’s most expensive production. It became one of the show’s most iconic sketches and the song was  a million-selling single for Steve Martin, who resurrected the character for the 40th Anniversary Special.

Hans and Franz
Costumes Left to Right: Donatella Versace, Hans and Franz, Stefon

Seeing all of these great costumes from so many memorable characters that Saturday Night has brought into our lives, it is also a poignant reminder that some of the actors and comedians who portrayed them are, sadly, no longer with us.

Matt Foley , Opera Man
Costumes Left to Right: Matt Foley (RIP Chris Farley), Opera Man, (Behind Opera Man) Coneheads, Mary Catherine Gallagher

Sweeney Sisters
Costumes Worn by the Sweeney Sisters (RIP Jan Hooks)

Fire Bad
“Fire Bad!” RIP Phil Hartman

John and Gilda
RIP John and Gilda

Stack of Cue Cards
A Stack of Cue Cards for Just One Show!

Assorted Cue Cards
Assorted Cue Cards. Can You Name the Sketch Each One is From?

Cue Card

This one is my favorite: from Martin Short’s opening monologue for the 4oth Anniversary Special. Hilarious.

Control Room

This is a replica of the studio’s control room, where you can experience a 10 minute virtual recreation of what goes on during the live show! So cool!

Stage with Tina Fay

And here we are in an exact, smaller-scale replica of Studio 8H, where a virtual Tina Fay comes out to give a fun monologue created just for this exhibit! As you can see, the experience is quite immersive and interactive.

Weekend Update Desk Set

Get your photo taken on this old Weekend Update set from some random year in the 1980’s for $20! To be fare, they also superimpose your favorite Weekend Update Anchor into the shot with you! Almost worth it!

Gift Shop Overview

Exit through the gift shop – it is massive!

Californians Mug

Buy some swag, like this mug from The Californians’ sketch, which is insanely right on!

Ambiguously Gay Duo Magnet

Or an Ambiguously Gay Duo Magnet!

As you can see, we had a fantastic time at Saturday Night Live: the Exhibition, which is sponsored by Premier Exhibitions, and Located at 417 5th Avenue New York, NY 10016. Adult tickets are $31 (includes a $2.00 service charge) which you can book at This Link, or buy on site, but you should definitely do some Internet footwork before you pay full price, because I’ve seen significant discounts offered through GoldStar, Gilt, and Groupon. The exhibit is expected to run though the holidays!

Yes, It Exists: Dick in a Box Hard Candy

Dick in a Box
Photo By Gail

This Official Saturday Night Live hard candy will be a sweet surprise for the lady in your life.

1. Cut a hole in a box.
2. Put your junk in that box.
3. Make her open the box.

And that’s the way you do it!

8 Ounces for $9.99 at It’s Sugar!

Yes, It Exists: Colon Blow

Colon Blow
Photo By Gail

During Saturday Night Live‘s Season 15, way back in 1989, the late Phil Hartman starred in one of the series more hilarious commercial parodies for a fictional product called Colon Blow, spoofing the new wave of high fiber cereals. In the spot, Phil is a typical man sitting down to have a bowl of cereal when an off-camera announcer asks him, how many bowls of his regular oat bran cereal would he have to eat to get as much fiber as Colon Blow. It turns out to be something like 30 thousand bowls, which then form a towering pyramid, with Phil perched atop of them all. Priceless.

I took this photo of a box of Colon Blow, perfectly emulating the original fake product package, in the candy emporium, It’s Sugar, located downtown on Broadway in NYC’s Greenwich Village. Actually filled with Nature’s Best crispy energy granola, a 16 ounce box sells for $15.99!

Colon Blow SNL

Phil Hartman (RIP) in original Colon Blow Skit

DVD Review: Darnell Dawkins, Mouth Guitar Legend

Darnell Dawkins DVD Cover
Ross Patterson Stars As Darnell Dawkins

If the cast of Saturday Night Live set out to make a feature-length skit that aspired to be the This is Spinal Tap of the Woodstock generation, they might come up with something similar to Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend. This fairly clever and rather historically accurate (as satires go) ultra-indie Mocumentary traces the remarkable story of “mouth-guitar” legend Darnell Dawkins (played by Ross Patterson, who also wrote the script).

The story goes that Dawkins was a childhood friend of Jimi Hendrix (played by comedian R. Ernie Silva), who ended up filling in for the legendary guitarist at Woodstock after Hendrix missed his flight. Sadly, Dawkins’ disapproving father suppressed much of the filmed footage of Darnell’s performance career from public release – until now. The confusing thing is that, while Dawkins is described as a “Mouth Guitar” legend, he does not actually play the instrument with his mouth (as Hendrix famously did) but, rather, he made the sounds of the guitar with his mouth. So, no guitar playing is actually involved, and “mouth guitar” is somewhat like air guitar, in a way. While it’s probably funnier to not be entirely clear on this until you see the film, I think I am okay with this degree of a spoiler, since it’s easy to figure out pretty early on, and it makes the film’s tagline, “He only spoke with his mouth” seem worth a few extra laughs.

Considering the slim budget on which the film appears to have been made, the filmmakers pulled together a cast with a remarkable number of recognizable faces, including Ray Wise (Laura Palmer’s Dad from Twin Peaks) as Darnell’s Dad, Christine Lakin as Wilhemina, Darnell’s muse, William R. Mapother (Lost, who is also Tom Cruise’s Cousin!), Michael Raymond-James (Rene from True Blood), Curtis Armstrong (Booger from Revenge of The Nerds) and Veteran B Movie Actor Richard Riehle.

Darnell Dawkins Jimi Hendrix
Darnell Dawkins with Jimi Hendrix

Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend, which could be compared to a bare bones budget version Walk Hard, is not a genius film or anything, but it’s pretty funny (funnier than Walk Hard, to be honest) and especially endearing if you’ve seen the Woodstock concert film and know your stuff when it comes to classic sixties acts such as Hendrix, The Jefferson Airplane and other bands of that time. It’s a film that would be fun to watch with a small group of like-minded friends at a house party where you are perhaps drinking and smoking a bit too much and just want to be silly. I enjoyed it.

The disc can be purchased for under $12 on Amazon.com and it’s worth that price just to have it around the house so you can whip it out when your friends who like this kind of film are over and say, “Hey, check out this crazy thing!” Also there’s lots of nudity (read: naked chicks) in it, if that’s something that interests you. Run Time: 87 Minutes.

The Worley Gig Gives Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend 3 out of 5 Stars

RIP Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch

Ed Koch in Manhattan
Image Source

Early this morning (February 1st, 2013), a true icon of New York City passed away when former Mayor Ed Koch succumbed to congestive heart failure at the age of 88. More than any other politician or public figure, Koch personified the New York spirit. Koch was Mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989 and, prior to that, served in the House of Representatives from 1969 to 1977.

Ed Koch’s entertainment ties included a stint as a judge on The People’s Court and as a film critic via his Web show Mayor At The Movies. He also appeared in more than 60 Hollywood films and TV shows as himself, including The First Wives Club, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Sex And The City, Spin City and Saturday Night Live.

The New York Times has a lengthy but utterly fascinating obituary detailing Koch’s impressive life and career at This Link. RIP, Ed!

Remembering John Belushi

John Belushi Laurel Wreath and Toga

On This Date, March 5th in 1982: Actor / Comedian John Belushi died of an accidental drug overdose in the Chateau Marmont Hotel in West Hollywood, California. He was 33 years old. He’s been gone so long now that it’s easy to forget just how gifted and funny John Belushi was, and many people reading this may be too young to remember much at all about John. But you can remember some of his achievements and read about projects he never lived to see completed, at This Link. RIP, John.

Top Of The Rock: A Fun Touristy Thing to Do!

I think it’s safe to say that most people who live in Manhattan don’t do very many traditionally touristy things when they are out on their own. At least that’s true for me. I’ve lived in NYC for over twenty years and, after hitting all of the famous, must-see attractions at least once (RIP The Top Of The World), the most touristy thing I do these days is go to museums. But last night I met up with a former high school classmate of mine and her family, who were enjoying their very first visit to NYC, and when they expressed a desire to hit the “Top Of The Rock” – the observation deck at the top of Rockefeller Center – so they could cross it off their list, I was in just the right mood to go along. I’m really glad I did, because it was a lot of fun!

Adult admission, at $21, is a little pricey if you’re on a budget, but wasn’t a big deal to me. While that meant that my friend and her family had to part with almost $100 (their 12 year-old saved them $7 off the adult admission), I felt like the experience was well worth 21 bucks. We visited at around 10:00 PM, when the temperature (which has been so relentlessly punishing and brutal this summer) had dipped to a merciful 75 degrees. Magnificent views aside, the steady breeze on the building’s roof deck, 70 stories above the street, provided me with first opportunity to possibly even think about wearing a sweater in nearly 3 months – it was wonderful! The deck has three levels you can visit and we spent time on all three. The top most, with its radio towers, has partially obstructed views to the east (Queens) and west (Jersey), but the only slightly less elevated levels give you full 360 degree views of a city that, after dark and with it’s innumerable lights all shining, is surely among the most beautiful in the world. The Empire State Building, lit up in red and green on this night, was simply stunning to behold, and it was hilarious to look down upon the neon billboards and Jumbotron of Times Square, having no problem identifying that area.

“Disco Room” – Not Sure What This is About But It’s Pretty Cool!

For me, my time on the deck was very centering at the end of long and busy week at my office, and it felt like an almost spiritual experience to take in the city that I love so much from a rare vantage point. On the Top of the Rock, I realized how lucky I am to live in what is really a magical place. Even if you aren’t into doing typically touristy things, I recommend you check it out while we still have the warm weather.

Top of The Rock is located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza with an entrance on 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues (it’s the same building that is home to NBC’s Studio 8H, where they tape Saturday Night Live). The last elevator to the top leaves at 11:00 PM, so if you get there shortly before 10:00 PM you’ll have lots of time to enjoy your visit. Visit Top of the Rock’s website at This Link for more information.