View Full Version : MADtv or SNL?

03-22-2002, 12:43 PM
I'd have to say that MAD has my favour these days. I used to be such a HUGE SNL fan from 1979 (when I discovered it by accident) until about 1989. After that I thought the sketches were a bit boring and the cast members not that talented. It seemed to have lost a lot of its edge as well. I tuned into SNL the other night just to catch my girl KYLIE and was dumbstruck at how awful the show was again.

The humour on MAD is really edgy and they take a lot of risks. It echoes a lot of the experimental humour of the original SNL cast. I love some of the characters on MAD as well. Ms. Swan, Antonia, Stuart, Rusty and Debra Wilson's spot on imitation of Whintey Houston are among the best in recent history. I find these characters to be as funny and developed as SNL characters were in the early days. New cast member Stephanie Weir, as homely as she is, is a fantastic addition to the cast. What that girl can do with her face is amazing (if not frightening).

Because of this, I tune in every Saturday night at 23h and whenever I can catch the reruns.

03-22-2002, 01:06 PM
Yeah, Mad TV is better overall nowadays IMO. The main thing that it has over SNL is (usually) BREVITY. They'll make a sketch with one joke in it 30 seconds long, instead of making every thought from every brainstorming session into an 8 minute "sketch"(more like a wall sized mural in many ways). The simpsons have referenced this trend a few times, and when a form of comedy is such an easy target for parody, it really makes ya wonder. I like the fake movie ads/trailers on Mad. And I laugh every time I recall "Clintfeld"(I despised seinfeld, and thought that particular take on the rigid formatting was brilliant)

03-22-2002, 01:32 PM
Great thread idea JEDIpartnr

Agreed! MADtv is the funnier, more entertaining show, in my opinion. SNL, in my opinion, has been getting progressively worse for several years. Being a boring old fart, I'm usually home on Saturday nights. I usually watch MADtv, surfing to SNL during MAD's commercials, then trying to tolerate the last 1/2-hour of SNL(which has traditionally been their lamest segment, I've always thought) after MADtv ends, and sometimes I've just had to switch it off because it was so bad.

It really makes me sad to see SNL get so pathetic. I've been watching since the first show of the first season, which I think was either 1976 or 77, based on where I was living at that time. I remember hating Bill Murray for no good reason other than he joined the cast as Chevy Chase was leaving, which was not at all Murray's fault. I lived in LA when Belushi died at the Chateau Marmont, and I was just totally grief-stricken when a co-worker told me of it. Over the years, and the cast changes, I think they've had maybe two other ensembles that were as entertaining as the original season cast, but there have been years and years of sub-par writing and acting. This latest guy, the heavyset one whose trademark character just acts stoned and gigggles all the time - what's up with that? This is the pinnacle of nearly thirty years of comic evolution? Gimme a break.

MADtv, as you said, takes more risks (maybe they can, due to the historically lax-er censors at FOX?). I don't like every sketch or recurring character on MADtv, but on balance, I enjoy more of their product than SNL. Lorne Michaels really ought to consider wrapping the show, or handing it over to another team for a total reworking. New studio, new set, replace every single person associated with the production. Maybe move it to Chicago or LA?

(just my thoughts... )

Mandalorian Candidat
03-22-2002, 05:03 PM
I have just the opposite opinion. When MADTV first came out it was definitely way funnier than SNL. Since then all the OG cast has left except for Wilson and what is left sure isn't that funny, except for Will Sasso. Ms. Swan is now just a sad shell of a skit with the same predictable situations. While they do have pretty funny stuff, most of it is really raunchy which shows that the writers are running out of ideas and are getting desperate.

SNL has gotten better IMO the past few seasons except for this one. For some reason nothing is really that great. Even the cartoons have been LAME. Every so often SNL seems to resurrect itself so I'm hoping another cast purge is coming soon.

03-22-2002, 06:50 PM
ManCan, as I was reading your post, I wondered if the overall drop in humor quality (IMO) can be, at least in part, tied to the lingering feelings of seriousness we're all having since last September, and through this ongoing war.

The fact is, SNL started after Vietnam was over, and Desert Storm went pretty damn fast and well for America, so there wasn't any undercurrent of sorrow connected to it, that I ever perceived. But Sept. 11th left an open wound in my heart, and I'd venture to guess it did in others, as well. Could it be that, especially the SNL writers - with their obvious super-close ties to the tragedy, are still having some difficulty finding their funny-bone again?

I also agree that MADtv has slid a bit recently, but as I said before, on balance and IMO, it is the funnier of the two shows these days.

I also wonder if the average viewer's tastes in humor are evolving faster (or just in a different direction) than the content of these shows. I have to admit that, as I get older, I'm more put-off by vulgar and/or sexually explicit comedy on free TV. Not because I don't find it amusing, but I just keep thinking about my teenage son seeing it, and I feel that is inappropriate. I've given my kids the best direction in life that I'm capable of, so I'm pretty trusting of their ability to make good choices about what they view and enjoy, but I still get uncomfortable with the networks' constant lowering of standards of decency. I also wonder if more and more Americans are wisening-up to the fact that the entertainment industry is NOT representative of the mainstream in the way they portray values and lifestyles, and that the industry is consciously activist in trying to move the mainstream to the left. I hope that is true, but I'm skeptical, based on what I've seen of the reasoning abilities of some folks. I am not saying I think there should be some puritanical shift to restrict free speech. I was laughing my butt off at South Park a couple nights ago, with that "IT" vehicle the teacher invented (it's less painful than air travel! That was dead-on!). But I think that the networks should take their obligation to respect the public airwaves (which are essentially a public trust) more seriously.

The easy counter-argument is "if you don't like it, change the channel," or "it's your job as a parent to screen your kids' viewing." That's fine, and I accept that responsibility, but you can't even watch "The Price is Right" in the morning on a snow-day with your first-grader, without being blindsided by a commercial promo for a primetime newsmagazine about Priests Who Molest Children, or a sitcom with an overtly sexual sound bite. I'll happily address those issues with my kids. They are important. But I'd like to be the one to decide the time and place to do so.

Okay, this turned into another Soapbox Derby by Swafman. Damn, I'm sorry about that.

Again, maybe we're just not fully back in our humorous mood since last Septmeber?

03-22-2002, 09:49 PM
Kylie Minogue was AWESOME last week :D

Hmmm, I don't know that I have a favorite here. I like some SNL sketches but the ones I don't like . . . well, I really don't like. As for MadTV, there's some great stuff, my favorite being their Sopranos episodes, edited for Pax :)

I haven't given up on SNL yet, I like some of the current cast members so I stick with it to catch some good bits. I usually record the show and watch it on Sundays, so it's not like I need to sit throguh an hour and a half of it. MadTV I do not watch nearly as often, but I'm sure I'm missing a lot.

Lord Malakite
03-22-2002, 10:14 PM
I still watch SNL for the cartoons and news reports they show, but thats about it.

Dar' Argol
03-22-2002, 10:28 PM
I USE to be a HUGE SNL fan. Back when I was in high scool(90-94) when Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Dennis Miller and the ilk were on. My friends and I met at someones house every Sat night and luaghed our butts off! Then people started to leave and it was still ok. Then more left and , ok, it still kinda funny. Now I have not watched it in 3 years. I think the only original member from when I watched is Tim Medows(if he's still there). I am now a hugh MADTV fan. They have the fomula that SNL once had. Their stuff is FUNNY!!! I think one of the other problems SNL suffers is commercials. I remember 3-4 skits b/4 a commercial, even more sometimes. And the skits were decent in length. Now it seems that after every 2 minute skit there's 5 minutes of commercials. This really annoys me. That's why I switched. Maybe if their writting was better, the jokes were actually FUNNY, and the commercials were alot I'd go back. I feal IMO that they have really gone down hill! But, until my pipe dream comes true and GL askes me to be in the next SW movie:

"You are watching MADTTVVVVV . . . . . . . . . . MAD!

03-22-2002, 11:56 PM
For me, these days this thread's question is like choosing between cow flop and horse crap. However, given a choice, I think both shows have pretty weak casts and production teams, but SNL uses a rotating cast of celebrities in acting situations they're not used to, so that's somewhat interesting to me.

I tuned in for Jon Stewart recently because he's funny and I wanted to see how he did with the live format and with a different style of comedy (I thought he stayed true to the material, but said material was far beneath the quality he deserves).

03-23-2002, 03:20 PM
SNL!!! Madtv has had a few funny things on there but, SNL is much better.

03-23-2002, 03:50 PM
I like both of them, but I think SNL is better. Will Ferrell, Jimmy Falon, and Horatio Sanz are a riot.

03-24-2002, 12:02 AM
Jimmy Fallon is doing a show here next month, I can't wait! :D

03-24-2002, 11:56 PM
. . .by preferring snl to madtv, and diggin jon stewart ;)
snl or madtv? like there's any question? even if we limit the discussion to the current cast? will ferrell? chris parnell? maya rudolph's donatella versace? no contest, snl makes madtv its sad beeyotch :evil:

swaffy: "the entertainment industry is NOT representative of the mainstream"
-well of course not, which is why the mainstream Patronizes (in both senses of the term) the entertainment industry. cuz watching mainstreamers is as boring as all get-out. entertainers & other artists are freaks who don't function well in regular society, so they retreat into subsocieties that are seamier, freer and more vivid than regular society. and regular society depends on them to keep from dyin of boredom, just as artists depend on the material competence of regular society. but to expect artists to be "representative of the mainstream" would be like expecting investment bankers or marines to be liberal.
dar'gol's take on it is at least refreshing, cuz usually the trashers of current snl are baby-boom farts who say "it's sucked ever since belushi left", by which they really mean they haven't stayed up that late since then and take an overly-rosy view of the culture of their youth. they conveniently forget that plenty of skits from '75-'80 were less than classic. if anything, the show's output is more consistent over the last decade. but because snl can never again embody the galvanizing zeitgeist it did in the 70s, all its decent work since is ignored or dismissed.
by nature live sketch comedy turns out an uneven result. goin down in flames is an ever-present possibility, which is part of the excitement. to expect every show, every host or every sketch to hit is silly. it's about the unpredictable output of fascinating sensibilities performing under pressure, not a machine-like batting average.
in having the final say on which writers, performers & skits are used, lorne michaels, the unifying sensibility behind snl, has proven his taste in comedy to me for 25 years. even the show's failures- which in the end are his failures- hold interest for me. it's fascinating to see a sketch bomb the way only an snl sketch can, cuz you can see the process, what they were trying to do, why they failed, that maybe they knew it was gonna fail, and so decided to fail with style :cool:
and madtv? i've only tuned in a coupla times, and like b5 it never had a spark that caught me. there was no stylin' sensibility behind what i saw, no justified confidence, no exhilarating recklessness. i loved mad magazine when i was 11, but it's pretty ham-handed & corny compared to what makes me laugh now.
the essence of humor is precision & nerve. when there is no sensibility there is no nerve, cuz if a comedian lacks the sensibility to be a little revolted by what an azzz he's makin of himself to get a laugh, then we don't sense that self-revulsion behind his eyes, and there's no reason to be swept away by the nerve of his contortions.
and contrary to what above might lead you to believe, i think snl's been in a general slump for about a year now :p but i'm in for the long haul & am takin the long view, so i'll keep the faith, & when they roar back i'll be the first to recognize it :)

03-25-2002, 01:11 AM
MADtv vs. SNL (http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Lot/2750/intro.html)

usually the trashers of current snl are baby-boom farts who say "it's sucked ever since john belushi left", by which they really mean they haven't stayed up that late since then


VT, I respect your opinion and you make a very good point about snl being live vs. MADtv being taped, and the inherent difference that can have on what we see in a particular sketch. I also know that I definitely hold snl to a higher standard of expectations to be entertained than I do MADtv. I think it's reasonable to have a higher expectation from a producer with more than a quarter-century of experience in his niche, than relative newcomer MADtv.

I think Farrell, Meadows and Fallon are great. I like the chemistry between Fallon and Tina Fey in the news segments. Hammond's Clinton is dead-on, but irrelevant now. The remaining cast is dead weight, in my opinion.

With a more solid cast and writing, snl could be (and has in past years been) like the old saying about sex being like pizza: "when it's good, it's great, and when it's bad, it's still pretty darn good*." But lately, when snl is bad, it's just BAD.

I'll say again, I think snl needs a Major top-down change, perhaps in one of the ways I cited in my previous post.

*btw, that saying about sex & pizza may be amusing, but whoever originated it never had truly, sincerely bad sex. Because when sex is Really bad, it's a truly awful, awful thing.

03-25-2002, 01:26 AM
Is it just me or is Tracy Morgan even worth being on SNL? I never find anything he does hilarious. I think that he's only there because the producers don't want to catch slack for having an all white cast.

Mandalorian Candidat
03-25-2002, 05:33 PM
What really has been bugging me lately about SNL is the amount of repeats. I don't think that show puts out more than 20 a year. I don't know about anybody else, but lately I can stand to watch the reruns (from the same year). They may be somewhat funny the first time, but the second time! Forget it. I watch BBThorton last Sat up until the Nick Burns sketch just because I hadn't seen anything up to that point before. As soon as "old stuff" came on I just went to bed.

BTW, that monologue about SlingBlade was pretty funny, MMHMM.

master jedi
03-25-2002, 07:03 PM
Since I can't stand anybody on madtv i'll go with SNL.

03-25-2002, 09:34 PM
i havent watched mad tv in a long while, but just a few days ago i watched some of snl, i would have to say that snl is funnier...

03-25-2002, 11:42 PM
OUCH, swaffy? why ouch, what's with an ouch? you ain't of baby-boomer age- or did i hit too close to the mark regardless? :o

"it's reasonable to have a higher expectation from a producer with more than a quarter-century of experience in his niche, than relative newcomer"
-not sure i agree: South Park and Beavis were two that killed me right outta the gate. in addition to being precise & nervy, they benefitted from riding a shock of the new that longer-running shows didn't. so it's hard for me to say who has the advantage here, experience or freshness. so instead, i say results are what count :) it's not Just the live vs taped factor that makes the diff but you're right, lorne shrewdly realize it's a crucial part of the magic formula.
though it's been years, i still sometimes think fallon was picked cuz he resembles mike myers, only more attractive to teenyboppers (the lucky bastidge even dated parker posey for a while) ;) speakin of attractive, i got dibs on yummy tina fey :kiss:
sd: i agree that morgan was distractingly bad his first coupla years. he's gotten better (his maya angelou makes me howl :D ), but you're right that cuz of the smaller pool of black comedic talent from which to draw, there's usually been some affirmative action there, cuz snl's only alternatives would be to either avoid satirizing black subjects entirely or practice blackface which, given its historical minstrel connotations, would be too controversial as a longterm option (even though they have used it successfully to a limited degree, such as with jan hooks as oprah and darrell hammond as jesse jackson :) ). and since counting on an eddie murphy-wattage talent to walk in the door every year isn't realistic, snl's only real choice has been to patiently nurture minority talent that might (and Usually does) grow into something more.
you are correct mc: snl does 20 new shows a year. which is a smaller number than most weekly fiction tv (26 per year- so each ep can be rerun once). hence the frequent repackagings "snl xmas special", "snl sports special", "snl greatest hits 2000-2001" in addition to the ubiquitous reruns. but look at it this way: they put out 20 ninety minute shows a year. meanwhile, your fave sitcom puts out 26 half-hours per year, and your fave hour-long drama, 26 hours. before subtracting commercials for each, that comes to 30 original snl hours, 26 original drama hours and only 13 sitcom hours. on balance, i'd say the snl troupers earn their time off :)
ne (now eating): some french-fried pertaters, mmHHMMMM :happy:

Mandalorian Candidat
03-26-2002, 09:46 AM
VT, I see your point about the amount of time vs. # of episodes. I would be willing to have more new shows than that last half-an-hour, which is usually crappy anways. Still, I hate turning on the TV with my mouth watering for a new show and having reruns with lame-o Chevy Chase come on.

03-26-2002, 11:40 AM
I like SNL better. My only thing is that some of the skits drag on. But I do have my favorite SNL guys, Will Ferrell and Mya Rudolph are among my favorites.

03-26-2002, 12:13 PM
VT, did you see that J Stewart sketch with the party for the newscasters ? And how Tina Fey came in, but she was moping because she was supposed to be Ashleigh Bansfield ? So she walked out because she shouldn't be doing sketches . . . awesome! You'll have to put up a good fight to keep your dibs on her :D

03-26-2002, 02:58 PM
both MADtv and SNL might do well to hire some of these (http://www.theonion.com/onion3123/hawkingexo.html) writers....

03-27-2002, 01:13 AM
VT, I believe most TV series have either 13 or 22 episodes per season order depending on how much faith the network has in the series. This doesn't count for cable as much, since cablers do things so differently from networks and regular syndicated shows (Earth: Final Conflict, VIP, and Mutant X, for example of regular syndicated shows) - Comedy Central only gets 8 eps of South Park per season now, but that's because that's all the producers want to do, CC would buy 3 times that in a heartbeat, supposedly.

03-27-2002, 01:29 AM
Swafman, that's a great suggestion :) It was sad when The Onion left Madison, WI. Oh well, we still have access to them through the web :cool:

03-27-2002, 01:54 AM
If you wrote for The Onion or SNL or MADtv, what would you find funny?
John Tesh Reveals He Has S&M Fantasies About Bob Costas (http://www.miami.com/mld/miami/entertainment/2935466.htm)