Saturday Night Live, the Guys, and Me

SNL’s 40th anniversary special reminds me: I’m the generation on its way out.

I’ve never had many girlfriends. For part of high school and virtually all of college, it was me and seven guys. There was Chris B, Chris M, Chris D, Matt M, Matt W, Gerry, Brad, and me. (Most of the time, Matt M’s girlfriend would also join us.)

Friday nights were devoted to food and football games, standards in Small Town South. But Saturday nights belonged to Saturday Night Live.

The guys and I would gather in the den of my parents’ house, Tostitos and Rotel dip in tow. We’d flip on the TV and await Jack Handy’s deep thoughts, the Church Lady’s Satanic cries, and Chris Farley Chippendale’s dance.

And if current SNL wasn’t doing it for us, I’d mosey over to the bookcase and grab a VHS tape of previous SNL episodes we’d taped. I’d pop it into the player.

No worries: Hans and Franz, Wayne’s World, The Continental, and Sprockets would entertain us until midnight. Or until the Rotel dip ran its course.

Those times were fun. Those times were memorable. Those times were routine. We knew where we’d be, whom we’d be with, and what we’d be doing: eating, but mostly laughing.

It’s with great hesitation, then, that I approach Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary special. Reliving our sketches as historical artifacts, flanked by new cast members who mean nothing to me/us, will leave a bad taste in my mouth, I’m afraid. (Morning-after note: for the most part, it did.)

Like the Grammy Awards (which honors music ever more out of my reach), David Letterman’s approaching retirement, and Jon Stewart’s impending exit, this SNL “celebration” reinforces one thing: I’m the generation on its way out (of relevance in popular culture). And I don’t want to go there just yet.

Those were our times. The guys and me.