Live from ‘New York’

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If you were watching NBC over the weekend — and, actually, Nielsen numbers from the last few months suggest you probably weren't — you saw the Lorne Michaels version of what Saturday Night Live was like in the nineties, a Sunday-night prime-time clip show of the comedy franchise's Clinton-era highlights. ("Must have been a short show," quipped a New Yorker.) Want the non-hagiographic take on SNL in that era? We bring you back to the March 13, 1995, issue of New York and Chris Smith's cover story, "The Inside Story of the Decline and Fall of Saturday Night Live." Smith spent a month in and around Studio 8H, and he discovered a show with falling ratings, increasing expenses, mediocre writing, a miserable cast, and a detached executive producer in Michaels. "What's really killing SNL," he wrote," is a deep spiritual funk." From the archives, here's his account of that funk.

Comedy Isn't Funny [NYM, 3/13/1995]