Saturday Night Live (season 34)
|Saturday Night Live (season 34)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||22|
|Original release||September 13, 2008– May 16, 2009|
This season is notable for its take on the 2008 presidential election, which saw the show's ratings rapidly increase and a number of award nominations.
This season consisted of 22 episodes rather than the usual 20, in an attempt to compensate for episodes lost during the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. This made it the longest season since the show's second season. The season premiere date of September 13 was earlier than the premiere date for previous seasons, which typically have started during the final weekend of September or in early October.
The show was nominated for many awards including Emmy Awards, a Peabody award and nomination for Comedy/Variety (Including Talk) Series at the Writers Guild of America Awards 2009. After gaining so much media coverage and high seasonal ratings, rival sketch show Mad TV ended in 2009 after its fourteenth season due to low ratings and a dip in quality brought on by budget constraints and mediocre writing.
SNL received much media coverage for the show's take on the 2008 presidential election, causing ratings to increase rapidly. The season premiere opened with Tina Fey playing Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin (alongside a pregnant Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton) in a "non-partisan message on sexism". The phrase "I can see Russia from my house!" was coined by Fey during this sketch. The episode was the show's highest-rated season premiere since the 2001–02 season and is the second most-watched SNL episode ever. A month later, the show drew its highest ratings in over 14 years when the real Sarah Palin appeared. SNL had 17 million viewers during its first half-hour.
Before the start of the season the cast remained mostly unchanged except for the addition of Bobby Moynihan. Moynihan (like Casey Wilson in the previous season) came to SNL as a performer with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater; in season 33, Moynihan and Wilson were among the group of Upright Citizens Brigade performers SNL auditioned mid-season while the show was looking for a new cast member to join after the writers' strike in early 2008. Moynihan did not make the cut in his season 33 audition, but instead ended up being invited back for another audition shortly before this season started. Wilson remained a featured player.
Midway through the season, cast member Amy Poehler went on maternity leave after giving birth to her son hours before the October 25, 2008 episode, hosted by Jon Hamm. Poehler returned on December 6, 2008 in the John Malkovich hosted episode and made her final appearance as a cast member the following week on the Hugh Laurie hosted episode on December 13, 2008. She announced that it would be her final show at the end of Weekend Update.
Shortly after Poehler went on maternity leave, the show added two new female cast members to fill the void. Michaela Watkins (of The Groundlings in Los Angeles) and Abby Elliott (daughter of former SNL cast member Chris Elliott) joined the show as featured players on November 15, 2008.
This season would also be the last for longtime cast member Darrell Hammond, the last remaining cast member from the 1990s, who had been on the show for a record 14 seasons. Featured players Michaela Watkins and Casey Wilson were both let go after this season.
bold denotes Weekend Update anchor
|Host||Musical guest(s)||Original air date|
|637||1||Michael Phelps||Lil Wayne||September 13, 2008|
Tina Fey appears as Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler appears as Hillary Clinton in A Nonpartisan Message from Governor Sarah Palin & Senator Hillary Clinton.
Bobby Moynihan's first episode as a cast member.
At the end of the episode, before the goodnights, a dedication screen was put up for producer/agent Bernie Brillstein, who died a month before this episode aired. Brillstein helped in getting Saturday Night Live picked up as a TV series.Senator Barack Obama was scheduled to make a second cameo appearance in this episode. However, Obama canceled his appearance due to the results of Hurricane Ike.
|638||2||James Franco||Kings of Leon||September 20, 2008|
Cameron Diaz makes a guest appearance, reprising her role as Kiki Deamore in the recurring sketch "The Cougar Den".Sex on Fire" and "Use Somebody".
|639||3||Anna Faris||Duffy||September 27, 2008|
|Mercy" and "Stepping Stone".|
|640||4||Anne Hathaway||The Killers||October 4, 2008|
An edited version of the sketch parodying the economic bailout was posted on NBC.com, removing references to Herbert and Marion Sandler's (played by Darrell Hammond and Casey Wilson, respectively) corrupt activities and removing the graphic labeling the couple as "people who should be shot." Lorne Michaels admitted he did not know the Sandlers were a real couple, and that he believed they were simply characters written for the sketch. The Netflix version of this episode includes the scene with the Sandlers, but edited it to remove the "People Who Should Be Shot" lower-third and cut the part where Herbert Sandler thanks Barney Frank for letting them get away with what they did to Wachovia Bank.Andy Samberg plays Mark Wahlberg in a sketch where Wahlberg talks to animals, which is referenced by Wahlberg in the following episode.
|641||5||Josh Brolin||Adele||October 18, 2008|
Tina Fey returned again as Sarah Palin, and was joined by Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin and the real Sarah Palin making guest appearances in the cold opening. Wahlberg also appeared in a brief sketch making amends with Andy Samberg, referring to a sketch from the previous episode. Sarah Palin also appeared on "Weekend Update".Noah Baumbach.
|642||6||Jon Hamm||Coldplay||October 25, 2008|
Amy Poehler did not appear due to giving birth hours before this episode aired.Maya Rudolph appears as Michelle Obama in the Obama Variety Hour sketch.
|643||7||Ben Affleck||David Cook||November 1, 2008|
Ratings: 13 million viewers
John and Cindy McCain appear as themselves and Tina Fey makes an appearance as Sarah Palin in the cold opening. The episode aired only three days before the 2008 presidential election. This was the last time Fey impersonated Palin as a guest on the show, although she would resume the character on the episodes she hosted in the two next seasons. McCain also appeared in "Weekend Update".
Seth Meyers anchored "Weekend Update" by himself.
David Cook performs "Light On" and "Declaration".This episode marks the first appearance of Bill Hader's Stefon character, though he wouldn't be a Weekend Update character until next season's episode hosted by Gabourey Sidibe. Also, Kenan Thompson debuts his Grady Wilson character.
|644||8||Paul Rudd||Beyoncé||November 15, 2008|
|Justin Timberlake makes a cameo during Weekend Update and in the "Single Ladies" sketch as one of the three backup dancers.|
|645||9||Tim McGraw||Ludacris & T-Pain||November 22, 2008|
|Justin Timberlake was originally scheduled to be the host and musical guest for this episode, but he had to cancel at the last minute, as he explained in the previous episode.|
|646||10||John Malkovich||T.I.||December 6, 2008|
|James Franco was around the SNL set throughout the entire week, shooting a documentary feature. Franco wanted initially some footage for a class project of his, but after realizing the access he was granted to the set, he decided to make a full documentary on the entire process the cast and crew go through in order to prepare for an SNL episode.|
|647||11||Hugh Laurie||Kanye West||December 13, 2008|
Amy Poehler's final episode as a castmember.
Maya Rudolph performs in a "Bronx Beat" sketch with Amy Poehler.David Paterson openly complained about Fred Armisen's portrayal of him, stating that his impression was insensitive to the blind and visually impaired (Paterson would later appear with Armisen on the premiere episode of season 36)
|648||12||Neil Patrick Harris||Taylor Swift||January 10, 2009|
Liza Minnelli appears in a sketch.RENT. Harris played the same character in the Los Angeles production of RENT in 1997. In the same sketch Fred Armisen, a former drummer for the Blue Man Group, plays the center blue man.
|649||13||Rosario Dawson||Fleet Foxes||January 17, 2009|
|Fleet Foxes performs "Mykonos" and "Blue Ridge Mountains".|
|650||14||Steve Martin||Jason Mraz||January 31, 2009|
Steve Martin (15th time as host) performed "Late for School" on his banjo from his new album "The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo".Richard Dean Anderson who played MacGyver on the TV series reprised his role in three MacGruber Pepsi ads as a helper to MacGruber.
|651||15||Bradley Cooper||TV on the Radio||February 7, 2009|
James Lipton makes a cameo during the monologue.
TV on the Radio performs "Golden Age" and "Dancing Choose".Drew Barrymore appears during the closing credits.
|652||16||Alec Baldwin||Jonas Brothers||February 14, 2009|
Jack McBrayer makes a guest appearance in the opening monologue.
Cameron Diaz once again reprises her role as Kiki Deamore in the recurring sketch "The Cougar Den".
|653||17||Dwayne Johnson||Ray LaMontagne||March 7, 2009|
Ray LaMontagne performs "You Are the Best Thing" and "Trouble".Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel appeared as Irving Hillman and Jessica Rabbit in "Weekend Update".
|654||18||Tracy Morgan||Kelly Clarkson||March 14, 2009|
|Brian Fellow's Safari Planet and as Astronaut Jones.|
|655||19||Seth Rogen||Phoenix||April 4, 2009|
Seth Rogen reprises his impression of Rowlf the Dog from his first appearance on SNL.Rogen appears in the SNL Digital Short for the music video of The Lonely Island's "Like a Boss". Rogen replaced Akiva Schaffer's vocals; however, Akiva Schaffer did make an appearance as the gun dealer. Fellow Lonely Island member, Jorma Taccone also makes an appearance in the video delivering a harassment lawsuit to Andy Samberg.
|656||20||Zac Efron||Yeah Yeah Yeahs||April 11, 2009|
|Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform "Zero" and "Maps".|
|657||21||Justin Timberlake||Ciara||May 9, 2009|
|658||22||Will Ferrell||Green Day||May 16, 2009|
Amy Poehler returned to co-anchor Weekend Update, and she accompanied Will Ferrell on a triangle for "Goodnight Saigon".
Maya Rudolph reprised her character Glenda Goodwin in the funeral sketch and sang with Will Ferrell for "Goodnight Saigon."MADtv. Coincidentally, Artie Lange cameoed on that episode.
|Title||Original air date|
|"2008 Presidential Bash"||November 3, 2008|
|The special was hosted by Amy Poehler while impersonating Hillary Clinton. Sketches included "There Can Be Only One," "CBS Evening News," "Ask President Carter," "Clinton's Qualities," "Reagan the Mastermind," "Weekend Update," "Stockdale's Joyride," "Bush's Endorsement," "Vice Presidential Debate 2008," "CNN Univision Democratic Debate 2008," "ABC Campaign '88," "2nd Presidential Debate 2008," "Debate '76," "Bush's Good Health," "The Bush Daughters," "Lip-Locked Gores," "Clinton Halloween Party," "The Democratics Candidates Debate 2008," "Clinton's Response," "First Presidential Debate 2000," a Weekend Update Political Commentary, and a special rap by Amy Poehler. This special featured cameos from Sen. John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin.|
|"Sports Extra 2009"||January 4, 2009|
|Sketches included "Mangled National Anthem," "Schmitts' Gay," "United Way (II), "Read to Achieve," "Yankee Wives," "Daily Affirmation," "Locker Room Motivation," "Derek Jeter's Taco Hole," "AFC Championship," "Waikiki Hockey," "Big Bernard," "Sportscenter," "Fernando's Hideaway," "Touchdown," "Lillehammer '94," "The Charles Barkley Show," "Battle of the Sexes II," "Super Bowl Gambling Memories," "Sexual Harassment and You," "Church Chat," "Dole & Rodman in '96," "Little Chocolate Donuts," "Swim Team Motivation," and Weekend Update Commentaries.|
|"Just Game Shows"||March 8, 2009|
|SNL's latest collection of some of their best game show parodies.|
|"Just Commercials"||March 8, 2009|
|Another collection of some of SNL's greatest commercial parodies.|
|"The Best of Amy Poehler"||April 18, 2009|
|Sketches included: A Non-Partisan Message From Sarah Palin & Hillary Clinton, Bronx Beat, Valtrex, Kaitlin and Rick Buy an Instrument, "Body Fuzion" (Digital Short), The Not So Great Adventures of the Down and Out Dollar, The Dakota Fanning Show, Weekend Update, Amy Loves Justin, Turlington's Lower Back Tattoo Remover, The Bush Daughters, I'm No Angel, Scarlett Johansson's monologue, Celebrity Jeopardy, Michael Jackson in a Roller Coaster, American Idol, The Democratic Candidates Debate, Rock of Love 2, plus clips from Walken Family Reunion, Avril Lavigne visits Weekend Update, Regis and Kelly, Barbie's Dream House, Senator Barbara Boxer, Hugo Chavez Political Roundup, Appalachian Emergency Room, Fierce: The Hot Mess Make-Over Show, Nancy Grace, Wizard of Oz, Anderson Cooper 360 and The Sarah Palin Rap.|
|"Just Shorts"||May 17, 2009|
|Andy Samberg hosted this 2-hour retrospective of some of SNL's best short films including "Lazy Sunday", "Dick in a Box", "White Like Me", "Synchronized Swimmers", "La Dolce Gilda", "Don't Look Back in Anger" and more.|
Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday
Saturday Night Live aired three special prime time half-hour episodes on Thursdays starting October 9. These specials, entitled Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday, focused on the United States presidential election.
|Title||Original air date|
|"Episode 1"||October 9, 2008|
|Bill Murray (as Himself) and Chris Parnell (as moderator Tom Brokaw) make guest appearances in the cold opening.|
|"Episode 2"||October 16, 2008|
|Chris Parnell guest appears, playing debate moderator Bob Schieffer.|
|"Episode 3"||October 23, 2008|
|Will Ferrell reprises his role as President George W. Bush and Tina Fey once again appeared as Gov. Sarah Palin in the cold opening.|
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