Please explain SNL to a Brit.
We just don’t get it. The sketches are too long and not funny to us...apart from the Weekend Update one liners. What are we missing? 🤯

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It’s a sketch comedy show made by Lorne Michaels. It’s basically like watching a sporting event for comedy. Comedians of all types across the country fight for slots on the show because it’s one of the best comedy jobs.

They write a bunch of funny sketches like Monty Python did and do it live. Some are longer than others. And comedy is usually cultural. British comedy is tough to get for some Americans. There’s a lot of satire in both, which usually takes a deep understanding of something.

Does that help?

likehelpful

I’m so surprised at how many of you have referenced peep show. I didn’t know it was available that easily. David Mitchell is so drily funny. You might also like Alan Partridge.

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You’re not missing anything. It hasn’t been funny for a very long time.

likesmartfunny

SNL writing / cast is and has always been focused for the High School / Early College audience. You’re favorite years will be different. Yes, now the HS / College kids have a million other things to watch and sources to get their funny but it’s still topical and sources some of the best comedy writers in the country.

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Only if you explain Mr. Bean...

likefunny

Haha I can’t.

likefunny

Is every sketch gold? Of course not. But this whole “SNL hasn’t been funny for 10 years/20 years/30 years!” thing always seems a bit overkill to me. Off the top of my head, I think the “Cheetos Pitch Meeting” sketch was a great send-up of the ad industry. And that Tom Hanks Black Jeopardy sketch was 👌

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Go back and watch some “classic” SNL and see if you actually laugh at the jokes (as opposed to the nostalgia).

The Sara Lee social media bit was amazing

Mega thanks to everyone who replied helpfully. Seems my mates and I are not the only ones who don’t get SNL despite us loving loads of American shows. Sounds like it’s a big cultural institution and families grew up with watching it I guess. Just as you probably don’t understand why we Brits eat soft boiled eggs out of raised cups at breakfast, or Bonfire Night, or putting an X at the end of a text, there are some things we’re just different on 🙂
I’ve posted a list below if anyone wants to try some distinctly British, sarcastic comedy 🔻
(Oh, and of you’re one of the ragey bros who got *triggered* by a stranger on the internet saying a tv show wasn’t funny, and resorted to lashing out with personal insults, well kids, maybe you shouldn’t work in advertising. Grow a thicker skin. By the way, we have gorgeous white, straight teeth, baby)

Right! Here’s some stuff to watch!! 🇬🇧

Subversive/ weird:
• Green Wing (British Scrubs)
• Smack The Pony (90’s sketch show based on funny insights about women’s lives)
• Peep Show
• The Fast Show (90’s sketch clip show)
• Big Train (a young Simon Pegg!)
• Spaced (Plot is like Big Bang Theory but its comedy is kind of like Hot Fuzz)

Sitcoms:
• Friday Night Dinner (two men return home to their Jewish mum and dad’s home for their Friday night family meal. One of the best I binge imo. If you saw Chernobyl on HBO, the engineer who caused it plays the dad in this - he’s a comedy actor)
• Outnumbered (I suppose Modern Family-ish)
• The Inbetweeners (4 high school boys being gross and figuring out life)
• FLEABAG!
• Extras (Ricky Gervais’ best work)

Other series
• This Way Up (a lot like Fleabag)
• Catastrophe (woman meets an American man, has a one night stand, gets knocked up, they try make it work)
• The Derry Girls. This is big here. (Group of teenage girls navigate life, school and growing up whilst living through The Troubles. You may need subtitles. This is my accent and it’s very strong!)
• The Thick of It (British Veep)

Deadpan/ spoof:
• Brass Eye (spoof of a current affairs show)
• Nathan Barley (parody of media and ad people!)
• W1A or 2012 (parody of working for the BBC as they try to publicise the Olympics. Lots of awkward corporate moments)
• Cunk On Britain (a mockumentary where the presenter pretends not to know about basic things like money, and manages to lure experts like professors into ridiculous interviews)
• Newswipe (usually comes out every December, and is by the writer of Black Mirror. It’s a daft, fast look back at the year in world news)

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likefunny

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No waaayyyyy!!! A Brit here. I LOVE IT!!!! It’s hilarious! It’s old school comedy! Classic. Classy. Authentic. It’s my dream to get tickets to the show.

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The thing you are missing is a sense of humor.

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This is true, as humans, we're all connected... through our sewer pipes.

likeupliftingsmart

I mean, it’s not terribly funny as a whole. There’s a few sketches and lines that people like, but most episodes are sheer filler.

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Some of the filmed sketches, I get. I love the insightful ones like Back Home Ballers, Californians and Your Hometown, and Kate M’s impersonations are super, but a lot of the sketches I’m like “ehhhhh how is this funny?”
Seems like a lot of screeching, over acting and forced laughter.
Also lol at how many nerves I touched asking this. Chill out fishes, I didn’t burn a flag.

likefunny

Context with American social commentary. The sketches are mostly based around things relevant with American nostalgia and culture that people can connect with. If it doesn’t resonate or you don’t pick up on what it’s relating to it probably falls flat. It is based very much in parody/irony though which I figured was in the British comedy wheelhouse, but I have my American beer goggles on. Also not every sketch/episode is a home run, but there’s some funny shit in there.

likesmart

Imagine working in the current state of advertising and still having the audacity to talk shit about how SNL hasn’t been funny in years.

likefunny

How so?

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Kylo Ren “Undercover Boss” was the funniest thing they have done in a very long time.

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Well, you are British...

likefunny

One of the original tag lines was “the not ready for prime time players”, and it’s very true. It’s supposed to be a little raw, unrefined,, taking chances - so a lot of, in fact, most of the sketches wind up missing, but every now and then something really hits.

likesmart

It’s not that funny and it really never has been except in brief flashes.

The talent on the show is almost universally excellent but writing and producing a sketch comedy show in one week that is broadly appealing to many different tv audiences (and which doesn’t offend the network or its advertisers) is probably an impossible challenge. When the show has been funny it’s almost always due to the extraordinary talents of a few standout performers like Will Ferrell, Kate McKinnon or Eddie Murphy - people who can be funny in almost literally anything, regardless of the quality of the material.

likesmart

Well, we don’t get Monty python or most British humor, or is it humour, either.

likefunny

You speak untruths AD1

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Hah! You hit the nail on the head, OP. WHY ARE DO THE SKETCHES GO ON FOR SO LOOOONG

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Go back and rewatch the “you like a da juice” skit from the Sandler/Mike Myers era in the 90s, they acknowledged the skit is too long. I find that funny!

Ok, you know how it’s kind of funny that British people are known for having bad teeth? And the food is kind of bad? And the weather is almost always dreary? And they obsess over a super rich, out of touch family for no reason? Sorry, what’s the question?

likefunny

Honey, I think it’s time for your nap

funnylike

Also, this year, they’ve really invested in building cool sets and pieces with their musical guests. It’s amazing that it is live.

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I’m still shook af that you wrote Peep Show. Why on earth would you continue to discuss anything other than that show on this thread?

US-based British person here: do you remember Saturday Live on Channel 4 in the late 80s? It was a direct import of the SNL format to the UK. And it introduced Ben Elton, Fry & Laurie, and Harry Enfield.

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