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By Ron Becker, Nick Marx, Matt Sienkiewicz

For over 35 years, "Live from manhattan, it is Saturday Night!" has greeted overdue night–TV audience searching for the easiest in cartoon comedy and well known tune. SNL is the range express that introduced the careers of a mass of comedians together with Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Adam Sandler, between others. Week after week, SNL has produced unforgettable sketches and provocative political satire, adapting to altering occasions whereas staying real to its unique imaginative and prescient of appearing well timed topical humor. With essays that deal with matters starting from race and gender to authorship and comedic functionality, "Saturday evening stay" and American television follows the background of this 36-time Emmy-winning express and its position within the transferring social and media panorama of yankee television.

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The show’s gritty (but not scary) New York setting also provided a backdrop that was distinct from the majority of the period’s prime-­time network fare and marked SNL as belonging to a separate, late-­night space in which raunchy, transgressive, or risky material was more fitting. Of course, the impressions of New York that audiences and critics had during the 1970s were not limited to those of urban decay and crisis. The glamorous New York of the postwar era was also an active component of cultural ideas and memories about the city and were of­ten mobilized to highlight its relatively recent (and seemingly rapid) decline.

11 Yet it was this final factor—the “live” in Saturday Night Live— that may arguably have provided the secret sauce of the show’s initial and ongoing success. T h e M e a n i ng of L i v e By the mid-­1970s, little of network prime-­time television remained live. The vast majority of shows were shot on film, produced for network broadcast by an increasingly concentrated group of Hollywood studios, which retained rights after an initial airing or two so that a successful show could be released into syndication, where the real money was.

The 1975 fiscal crisis there was his­tori­cally bad in terms of its breadth and depth. The city had borrowed for many years and had used questionable accounting practices to hide some of its debts. It was revealed in the spring of 1975 that those debts had grown to $14 billion; New York was simply out of money and was now in serious danger of default. In order to meet payroll, the city was actually taking out short-­term loans (sometimes of only three days’ length) from banks and its own pension funds.

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