Rob Schneider Knew 'Saturday Night Live' Was Done For When This Skit Aired: 'I Literally Prayed, Please Have a Joke at the End'
So many epitaphs have been written for “Saturday Night Live” that the show feels like it’s been on a death-watch since the mid-1980s.
It’s had its ups and downs since then, as the show is wont to do. However, the latest down period has lasted the better part of a decade at least; “SNL” is hardly alone among comedians or comedy shows aiming for applause from the woke set as opposed to actual laughs, but it may be the worst offender — and, if the trend continues, that pandering will end up being what finished the show off.
If “SNL” can’t course-correct, former cast member Rob Schneider thinks he’s identified the exact moment when the show was done for — and while I’m not always in agreement with the comedic stylings of the man behind the films “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo” and “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo,” I’d concur that he’s pinpointed the moment at which the words “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!” became a threat, not an end to the cold open.
In a clip tweeted by Glenn Beck on Sunday, Schneider talked about “the moment he knew Saturday Night Live was ‘OVER.'”
“I hate to crap on my old show,” Schneider, head held in hand, told Beck.
“But … when Hillary Clinton lost — which is understandable, that she would lose, not exactly the most likable person in the room — and then when Kate McKinnon went out there on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in that cold opening,” that was the moment he knew things were irredeemable.
Let’s go back to that moment: Nov. 12, 2016. “SNL” was airing its first episode since Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump. Not only had libs lost the election, we’d also lost Leonard Cohen, the Montreal-based songwriter best known for the song “Hallelujah,” a bleak meditation on faith.
Everyone knew Kate McKinnon — who impersonates Hillary on the show — would be featured in the cold open. I’m not sure many counted on this, however:
There have been many covers of “Hallelujah” over the years. The best-known one at the time this aired was Rufus Wainright’s, thanks to the fact it was included in the movie “Shrek.”
Now, Kate McKinnon’s is probably the one we remember best, although not for reasons anyone would wish upon Mr. Cohen’s most sublime work.
“I literally prayed, please have a joke at the end,” Schneider told Beck. “Don’t do this. Please don’t go down there.
“And there was no joke at the end. And I went, ‘It’s over.'”
Comedy legend @RobSchneider tells me the moment he knew Saturday Night Live was “OVER”: “I literally prayed, PLEASE have a joke at the end…” pic.twitter.com/Eyqh3GFnUG
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) August 29, 2022
To be fair, the truth of the entirety of Schneider’s claim depends on what one means by “joke.” If the laughter is unintentional, then yes, I got plenty of chuckles out of this one — and still do. Sure, it was a tribute to Cohen, a personal favorite of mine who had just passed away. However, to quote another far-less tolerable Canadian artist, I’m the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral, I suppose.
In terms of an actual joke — one intended to make some kind of jocund point about the results of the 2016 election — it was the tip-off that “SNL” isn’t really about jokes any more.
Instead, the show spends 90 minutes every Saturday night convincing people of a certain sociopolitical mindset that they are absolutely, positively, totally a) right and b) winning the war for American culture. It applauds them, and they applaud back.
When America lobs a brick through their bubble, as it did in November of 2016, how do they respond? They have a funeral of sorts for the Hillarista dream. The pantsuit may be gone, but it won’t be forgotten — and tears would be shed before the venerated Mrs. Clinton was guided by Charon into the boat which ferried her across the River Styx of political ambition.
Yes, that may be farcical, but it ain’t comical — and it’s not like “SNL” has regained its footing. Consider a skit from last season’s Christmas show in which teachers put on “a free-form hip-hop live Nativity,” complete with a twerking baby Jesus and Joseph “enter[ing] with a pimp walk.” If you need to ask what any of that is, consider your ignorance a stroke of luck and inquire no further.
However, that’s what passes as actual comedy when “SNL” isn’t mourning the Democrats losing a presidential election. I’d bet Rob Schneider is still praying for a joke at the end or in the middle or anywhere he can get it. Some prayers remained unanswered for a reason, however.
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