Saturday Night Live (also known simply as SNL) is an American late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show created by Lorne Michaels and developed by Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title NBC's Saturday Night. The show's comedy sketches, which often parody contemporary culture and politics, are performed by a large and varying cast of repertory and newer cast members. Each episode is hosted by a celebrity guest, who usually delivers the opening monologue and performs in sketches with the cast as with featured performances by a musical guest. An episode normally begins with a cold open sketch that ends with someone breaking character and proclaiming, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!", properly beginning the show.
In 1980, Michaels left the series to explore other opportunities. He was replaced by Jean Doumanian, who was replaced by Ebersol after a season of bad reviews. Ebersol ran the show until 1985. Since Michaels' return, he has held the job of show-runner. Many SNL cast members have found national stardom while appearing on the show, and achieved success in film and television, both in front of and behind the camera. Others associated with the show, such as writers, have gone on to successful careers creating, writing, and starring in television and film.
Broadcast from Studio 8H at NBC's headquarters in the Comcast Building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, SNL has aired 897 episodes since its debut, and began its forty-sixth season on October 3, 2020, making it one of the longest-running network television programs in the United States. The show format has been developed and recreated in several countries, meeting with different levels of success. Successful sketches have seen life outside the show as feature films including The Blues Brothers (1980) and Wayne's World (1992). The show has been marketed in other ways, including home media releases of "best of" and whole seasons, and books and documentaries about behind-the-scenes activities of running and developing the show.
Throughout four decades on air, Saturday Night Live has received a number of awards, including 71 Primetime Emmy Awards, four Writers Guild of America Awards, and two Peabody Awards. In 2000, it was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. It was ranked tenth in TV Guide's "50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time" list, and in 2007 it was listed as one of Time "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME." As of 2018, the show had received 252 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, the most received by any television program. The live aspect of the show has resulted in several controversies and acts of censorship, with mistakes and intentional acts of sabotage by performers as well as guests.
In this vintage SNL sketch from 1975, an employer (Chevy Chase) interviewing a man (Richard Pryor) for a job asks him to take a word association test. [Season 1, 1975]