Why Can't Online Have Its Own 'Saturday Night Live'?

by , Jan 2, 2014, 1:00 PM
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You can say or do virtually anything—make that just plain everything—online, a fact that leads to videos of beheadings and beatings and sexual assault to vicious bullying and homophobic rants, but also to some perfectly edgy comedy.

Laugh or Die ain’t the half of it.  

But last month, Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” gave a fond goodbye to John Oliver, who is off to do his own show for HBO; CNN talks about creating its own topical comedy vehicle, and I think, “That’s good that’s a perfect place for it" and then I think,  “That’s bad, Jeff Zucker, who is missing a crucial comedy chromosome, it seems, would be the person who decides to put it on the cable network." So that could be dangerous.

But at a time that news moves rapidly and people have moved into psycho-political silos (see “Duck Dynasty,” for example) there’s hardly a place better than online for a daily/weekly  version of “Saturday Night Live” or “Daily Show. ”It’s a worldwide platform, unfettered by censors or advertisers (who don’t seem to care).

“SNL” is now a crispy 40  years or so, and while a venerable institution, it is also a show that for at least 20 random years has presented seasons that viewers thought were bad enough to doom it forever.  My point:  It’s really pretty well-liked, but not thoroughly loved. You can’t say, about “SNL,” that it “can't do wrong,” because pretty clearly, it can.

(I note today that China will begin airing best-of clips of “Saturday Night Live” there; you’d think they might be afraid to show how the Western world belittles and berates its leaders. Perhaps, however, Chinese officials weren’t so afraid “SNL” was so counter-cultural after all.)   

But obviously, "SNL", or a format like “That Was the Week That Was” used a long time ago,  could be a potent 10 or 15 minute daily franchise online.

Online video does have the Onion Network, which is, for my money, just about perfect. But like Colbert—also perfect—it’s not totally about a real world but a bent, invented version. Online, particularly because it’s being consumed in ever great quantities on mobile devices is waiting for its Carson/Letterman/Conan/ Fallon/Handler, and someday, maybe this year, it will get him/her.

pj@mediapost.com

4 comments on "Why Can't Online Have Its Own 'Saturday Night Live'?".

  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited
    commented on: January 2, 2014 at 1:42 p.m.
    I pay, you pay or someone else pays. Who pays their multi-million dollar incomes ?
  2. Chuck Lantz from 2007ac.com, 2013ac.com network
    commented on: January 2, 2014 at 4 p.m.
    SNL online? Just what the 'Net needs, ... even more failed attempts at humor.
  3. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC
    commented on: January 2, 2014 at 4:19 p.m.
    P.J., I did what you are suggesting in online sweepstakes with Sweepstakestoday.com and the TV game shows. After 10 years, and working 7 days a week, We are a success. Simply, we converted the Fortune 1,000 companies sweeps and contest to a form of online entertainment. We could make it work financially. I am not sure what you are suggesting can be done with online comedy and make it financially.
  4. rod knight from SatyrINTERGALACTIC
    commented on: January 7, 2014 at 1:15 p.m.
    This is a great question.... The time will come... actually should I say ... the time is coming BWAHAHAHA. Seriously, I reckon it all boils down to funding. Once those hurdles are crossed, the floodGATES shall open.

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