Lorne Michaels SNL Comedy Masterclass : Comedy Feature
There are three types of people in life : Those who like comedy, those who don’t really care about comedy, and comedy nerds. The latter group, which I wholeheartedly fall into and feel no shame about, takes the world of comedy for so much more than simply giggling at a set-up and a punchline.
A comedy nerd will live and breath everything comedy, looking not simply for the moment to laugh – but trying to dissect why the punchline works. What beats, rhythms and styles exists and why… trying to discover the mysteries behind how a sketch about a driving kitten is not as beloved as the fat kid from Two and a Half Men.
Comedy nerds devote their lives to studying and trying to understand how and why an audience will find more joy in seeing Graham Kennedy lose his shit live on air while a dog runs amok on the set, than from a standard knock knock joke (the answer : the mystical and elusive power of the “had to be there” moment).
So when it comes to Saturday Night Live, love or loath is rocky history, comedy nerds across the globe have – at the very least – an undeniable respect for what it represents (no matter how hit-and-miss it’s actual content can be).
It is an institution which has delivered the world more comedy icons than any other place in history : John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, Phil Hartman, Norm MacDonald, Chris Rock, Chevy Chase, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Billy Crystal, Tina Fey, Martin Short and Will Ferrell to name but a few.
It’s an institution that is less than 20 years younger than recognised religions like Scientology. In it’s own way, a church of comedy – where the mytholgies that surround it are far greater and more important than the realities of it… and no less ridiculous.
Lorne Michaels is the man behind it all – a self created “Comedy Guru” (if you’ve read Live From New York, it appears that the “Lorne Michaels” we see is just as much of a purpose built myth as the show itself… but just as important).
He rarely sits down to speak – so this recent Masterclass episode (airing on Oprah’s OWN) is a must watch for any comedy nerd. For most of you, this will waste 45 minutes of your life… for comedy nerds, the next 45 minutes delivers just a few more clues in the quest to understand and unlock the mysteries of comedy.