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After All These Years—SNL Let Me In!

11 Dec

Do you know what I’ve discovered?   Sometimes it is better to ask forgiveness than permission.  So I’m asking forgiveness for not posting a blog on Saturday night because I’m hoping you’ll understand that I was having a good time as part of the studio audience of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE!

SNL Logo frankocean dot net

SNL Logo|image from frankocean.com

What a weekend this has been.   My husband WW (“White and Wonderful”) and I have been fans of SNL ever since its inception (especially WW).  We’ve stuck with it through thick and thin (Lorne in, Lorne out, and Lorne back again in ’85), and I finally got a chance to fulfill a decade’s long dream of WW’s to be a part of a SNL audience.

As we barreled up to New York City on the train the morning of the show, WW and I talked (more like whispered because we were in the quiet car) about how this was his major Christmas present from me, along with his La-Z-Boy sectional for his man cave, and the Blu-ray player, but those are separate themes for a much more pedestrian story later on.

WW:     Well, you outdid yourself this Christmas, Cutie.  I couldn’t ask for a better present.   Didn’t I turn you onto SNL?

ME:        Uh-huh, that and Monty Python.  I fell in love with sketch comedies then, and I’ve been hooked ever since.   But it didn’t take much coaching, because I love just about any format that will allow a genuine showcase for solid, edgy humor.   When you grow up thinking your first name is “Demon,” your middle name is “Seed,” and your nickname is “A-Whore-Like-Your-Mother,” humor either becomes an intravenous line to your heart or you become hooked on something—anything—so that you don’t end up killing somebody—anybody or yourself—who comes across your path.

Stop, I'm gonna pee pinned by Lisa Mae DeMedeiros

Most children display a sense of humor early on, and it is usually seen in their response to slap stick, and I was no different.   When I was four years old I can remember waking up in the middle of the night because my sister had wet the bed for the third time that night, and an army of bedbugs were eating me alive.  I didn’t want to sleep on the floor because, even at such a young age, I knew that rats frequently traveled from one end of the room to another, so I grabbed a pillow and some dirty clothes, stuffed them into a dresser drawer, and built myself a nest.   The next morning when one of the adults of the house came to wake Pee-wee and me, she found a pint-sized kid snoring up a blue streak and tucked away in a half-open dresser drawer as snug as a bug in a rug.   The baby-sitter started to laugh until tears were running down her face and so did I.  At four years old, I “got it.”  I understood the absurdity of my plight and it was hilarious.   My sense of humor was born in that drawer that day.

WW and I witnessed the awakening of our grandson’s sense of humor on the same SNL trip.  We got to New York without a hitch and checked into a lovely hotel near the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.  Baby-boy arrived in time to eat lunch, make a raid on the giant Lego store with his grandpa, and return with time enough to explore our suite in a way that only four-year-old little boys can do.  As he came upon a door that didn’t seem to lead to the hallway, my grandson opened and closed a connecting door to another suite, but could not unlock the door immediately behind it.  I tried to explain to him that behind the other door was another room and I thought I had gotten the concept across until after the fifth time of opening the adjoining door and staring at the four-inch space between the two doors, said grandson asked no one in particular but with great exasperation:  “Who lives in that room—a mouse?”  As all the adults in the room laughed in one accord at Baby-boy’s joke, I watched a light go on in his little head as a smile spread across his face and I saw him recognize his sense of humor.

It’s important that we recognize our sense of humor early on and cultivate it to keep it healthy and strong because it is God’s gift to us in a very cynical, sinister, and fucked-up world.   As Henry Ward Beecher once said, “A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.”  I have known people without a sense of humor and they were all crazy.

Jamie Foxx SNL Ding Dong Sketch

Jamie Foxx as a “Ding Dong” protesting “snack profiling” by Hostess who he feels gave Twinkie (“my snack brother from another batter”) more attention (“Y’all act like Twinkie is the only one with a delicious, creamy filling”)||nbcsnltumblr.com

Our seats for Saturday Night Live were some of the best in the house and our guest host was Jamie Foxx and the musical talent was Ne-Yo!    Some of the skits were so-so, one almost stepped over the edge but didn’t, and the show really took off after Weekend Update.   Jamie did a great job and was in almost every skit which reminded me of his sketch comedy days in “In Living Color.”  Ne-Yo was fabulous although not as good as Usher, but I still had to restrain myself from embarrassing WW by not screaming out like a teenage girl at the top of my lungs:  “I love you, Ne-Yo!”  The band is better than they come across on TV—in fact, they are superb, the studio is really, really tiny (who knew!) and the choreography of the crew and cameramen to manage 90 minutes of sketch comedies and musical guests and dancers in so limited a space with so many sets was worth being there for, and Lorne Michaels looks much older in person than on the giant TV in our man cave.  Everybody in the audience laughed uproariously and was very engaged—nobody and I mean nobody seemed distraught at any time over the humor.   They all understood that it was humor—edgy—sometimes good, sometimes missing the mark—but humor all the same.  And then I came home and all Hell broke loose
in the media over the SNL performance WW and I saw.

Jamie Foxx snl dot wikia dot com

Jamie Foxx|image from snl.wikia.com

Depending on what side of the political spectrum the reviewer and the blog commenters embraced, the SNL skits were either a racist debacle or the best SNL show of the season.   According to the Houston Chronicle blogger (Therese Odell) who brought this to my attention in her post “Saturday Night Live:  That’s not Racial Transcendence,” Blacks were offended by the stereotypical roles played by Foxx (“the angry black man, a pimp, and a hip-hop-appreciating Ding Dong”).  Whites were apoplectic about Jamie Foxx’s opening monologue that celebrated being Black (“Black is the new white”) which was the undertone of a riff (“how black is that”) attached to everything from the suit Foxx was wearing (it was black and it was sharp) to the actions of his character in the newly released Quentin Tarantino’s pulp movie, Django Unchained, who, as a former slave, “kills all the white people” in the movie who kidnapped and raped his wife.   All the hysterical people heard was, “Jamie Foxx wants to kill all the white people because that’s how blacks be rollin’ these days since they’ve got a black president—we knew this day was coming.”

Since I was there (clearly a black woman) and I sleep with a white man, here is the scoop:  Nobody was offended, including me and the white man I went home with because I asked him.  Maybe you had to have been there but the audience “got it.”  Some of the skits that night weren’t SNL’s best which made the writers guilty of poor writing but not of racism—if you want to beat them up for anything, beat them up about their shitty writing. Things picked up with the Ding Dong sketch and the second half of the show might have been one of SNL’s best this year, IMHO.   But in the words of Therese Odell:  “Get over yourselves.”   The only character I left longing to see was Stefon doing a monologue on “this club has everything”—that would have made my day.  But then again that would have been playing to a stereotype—right?

Bath time can be funny

I am discovering that the world needs to laugh more—everybody from one to one hundred and one.  We’re taking ourselves much too seriously these days.  Actually, I think we Americans really need to up our game and make a concerted effort to laugh more and get angry less.  I’ve traveled to parts of the globe where the people aren’t nearly as blessed as we are and they laugh more easily at the absurdities of their lives.  I wonder why.  Is it because they know they have no control over their lives, which ups the absurdity quotient, and we think we have complete control over our destinies and thus it tends to render us humorless?

******

“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”—Mahatma Gandhi

“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.”—Bill Cosby

“There is hope for the future because God has a sense of humor and we are funny to God.”—Bill Cosby

Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.” – Drew Carey

******

From a scale of one to three (one = funniest), things that made me chuckle or laugh out loud this week—maybe it will do the same for you and lighten your load, or then again, maybe not.  Maybe you’ll think my humor is sick:

Bizzaro dot com

image from www.bizarro.com

Humor Cat Kales Cartoon saturdayeveningpost dot com

Kales Cartoon|Saturdayeveningpost.com

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
32 Comments

Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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32 responses to “After All These Years—SNL Let Me In!

  1. imagesbytdashfield

    December 11, 2012 at 9:41 am

    You lucky thing you! You scored tickets to SNL. I’m not sure if I’d want to see that show or Dave Letterman…or neither. Maybe I’m getting grumpy in my old age. Honestly, I’d rather see some plays with great seats. But I digress…you need a sense of humor each and every day not only for your own well being and mental and physical health but for others lest you happen to choke the living snot out of somebody who irks you. But that’s just my humble opinion 🙂

     
    • etomczyk

      December 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      TD: WW has wanted to do this for years and I am like you: if I get to NYC, I want to see a play or a musical with great seats! But what do you get a man you’ve known for 40 years who has everything? SNL tickets! He was like a little kid. I’ll get years of mileage out of this gift. Thanks for stopping by. ET
      P.S. You’re so right about a sense of humor every day or else I’d be right there with you choking the living snot out of any and everything. Sigh!

       
  2. Amber

    December 11, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Wow, thank you for encouraging all of us to take a good look in the mirror!! You nailed it! We lose our humor as we get older and start trying to control everything. Once we start taking everything personally and adding to the ever growing chips on our shoulders, we become our own doom. From one very hard headed control freak, I appreciate your message and will certainly be taking it to heart. Merry Christmas!

     
  3. talesfromthemotherland

    December 11, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Oh I do so love me some SNL.. they make an election bearable. They make Jamie the foxxiest Ding Dong. Ever.

     
    • etomczyk

      December 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      Dawn: Wasn’t Jamie hysterical as the rapping Ding Dong? The show started to pick up from that point. I could barely contain myself (“Twinkie–a brother from another batter.”) Ha!

       
  4. Sondra Smith

    December 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I have loved SNL forever too! How wonderful to be able to see a live show! As for your cartoons; the first made me smile, the second got a chuckle, but the third got an out loud laugh! I am not sure what that says about me! lol
    Without my sense of humor I would have gone the way of crazy farm long ago….love your blog E, keep writing, keep making us look at ourselves but most of all keep us laughing at ourselves!

     
    • etomczyk

      December 12, 2012 at 6:40 pm

      Sondra. Seeing SNL was a wonderful treat. I know what you mean about humor keeping us sane. It is my life-line. Thanks for stopping by, and I would have guessed you’d like the cat pounce cartoon. It is very funny. Cheers!

       
  5. Elyse

    December 11, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Laugh more. Get angry less. Perfect advice!

     
  6. Maggie

    December 11, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Having a sense of humor has saved my life! If you don’t have one, you truly live in a sad world and can become “crazy”, as you said. This world is so full of darkness, it can knock it out of you if you are not careful and being able to laugh is such a delightful gift in the midst of it all! Good one!

     
    • etomczyk

      December 12, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      Maggie. Amen to that! 🙂

       
  7. Lindy Lee

    December 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Should have dumped the weapon & made room for the dinosaurs. That way there would be less room for the yahoos today.

    SNL was much funnier in the Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Elaine Newman, Gilda Radner, Garret Morris, Steve Martin, John Belushi & Richard Pryor days, when they had that fantastic tenor sax player…

     
    • etomczyk

      December 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm

      Lindy Lee. I agree with you about the old SNL talent. I actually had that line in my post but it didn’t flow. Talk about edgy and offensive. I don’t think people would survive the old SNL scripts uncensored. Take care.

       
  8. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer

    December 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    I enjoyed hearing about your trip to the Big, Bad, City, Eleanor. Maybe if you had to be in an audience for a TV show you might have made out better if you went to one that gave away all kinds of free gifts before the holidays. Oprah, and your “favorite things,” where are you now that we need you?

     
    • etomczyk

      December 12, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      Ronnie. Isn’t that the truth. But I did this for my hubbie. He’s still talking about the trip. Maybe next time I’ll get to see Ellen.

       
  9. Hudson Howl

    December 11, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Jaw dropped when I read you attended an SNL taping, but this Country Mouse doesn’t get out of the village often. I confess I don’t watch SNL at all, as I am against all things humourist. Naw, just that I seldom watch television. I did once, back in the Mr Bill days. Sometimes I will tune in for the opener if it’s someone who catches my interest. I’ll have hunt this episode up, so I can relive your experience, an for Jamie Fox -gotta like Jamie Fox.

    Lets see, SNL started in 1975 and still cranking it out. Can’t think of a comparison, can you?

     
    • etomczyk

      December 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Hudson! No, I can’t think of a comparison to the longevity of SNL. I never thought it would last past the first season. When it started, it seemed to escoteric. And although it has been touch and go for SNl, I actually think we need more shows like it because Americans are really becoming more and more humorless. Thanks for the drive by. Take care.

       
  10. eurobrat

    December 11, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Oh-kay. I was listening to right wing radio–my own fault, I know–and they played the Jamie Foxx clip about “killing the white people” without adding the context of it being an SNL skit, thus making me think that this was a genuine comment Jamie made…which did weird me out for a moment. See? This is what we mean when we say that right wing media is manipulative. Sigh.

    Also, you are totally right about that last thing–growing up in Poland, we had a lot of what we called hangman’s humor. When you have to deal with the ups and downs of Communism (*real* Communism), you do not have any delusions about being in control, and laughter is the only thing that’s left 🙂

     
    • etomczyk

      December 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Excellent comment Eurobrat! And what great perspective having grown up under “real” Communism. I think humor is a powerful healing mechanism and humorists of all types are part of God’s grace to man on this crazy planet. Thanks for stopping by.

       
  11. momshieb

    December 12, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Luckily for me, I spend my day with children: humor in the form of laughing at myself is what keeps me going!
    I’ve noticed that the same people who say, “Jeez, its only a joke!” when it is about rape or lynching or gay bashing are the ones who scream loudest when the joke is about middle class white people. You know what I mean? We’re all funny! Life is funny! Just think about a bunch of naked middled aged humans, and you have to know that God has a sense of humor!

     
    • etomczyk

      December 13, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      Momshieb. Isn’t it the truth! All I have to do is stand naked in front of the mirror and I fall out in gales of laughter–what the years have rought is nothing but hilarious! I do think that the key to a great sense of humor is not taking one’s self too seriously. And I know what you mean about maintaining a sense of humor as a teacher. We’ve all had those humorless teachers who sucked the joy right out of life and learning. Thanks for stopping by, as always! Cheers!

       
  12. carlos cordero

    December 12, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Hey Dalai Mama, you’ve outdone yourself again. Your command of the language, and sense of humor are awe inspiring. I’m reading this at my dreadful job and it brought tears to my eyes.

     
    • etomczyk

      December 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      Carlos: Thanks so much for your lovely comment. It means the world to me and I truly appreciate the place you’ve allowed my writing to inhabit in your heart. Hang in there. . .

       
  13. Mal

    December 12, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Pee-wee? Shhh, don’t let her hear that! But just gotta say, gal, you have a great sense of humour… thank you for sharing it with us. Your posts are always a joy to read – delightful! 🙂

     
    • etomczyk

      December 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      Mal, thanks so much for your gracioius comment. I’m so pleased that you enjoy my writing. I appreciate your strong faith and figure if you keep coming back and enjoying my work that I haven’t gotten too insane! 🙂 All the best!

       
  14. Valentine Logar

    December 12, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    What a perfect gift! What perfect advice.

     
    • etomczyk

      December 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm

      Val. Thanks for stopping by and glad to read in your blog that you got a bit of relief. All the best.

       
  15. aFrankAngle

    December 14, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Gotta love that you went to SNL – but I got to ask – Did you try to get Jamie’ attention? 😉 Shout out to the ding dong outfit … must be the white moustache. But next time you go to a taping, please give me the heads up! By the way … holiday party at my place on starting Christmas Eve (or maybe earlier for the Aussies) … hope you can attend and bring WW … plus your peeps here are invited!

     
    • etomczyk

      December 14, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Frank. I know, wasn’t that the coolest thing! I was afraid to tell anyone because I was so fearful that something would happen and it would fall through, and I didn’t want WW to be disappointed. I was actually very good because I was sitting in VIP seats and that would have reflected badly on my company. But I sure wanted to scream: “I love you, Jamie!” Someone else shouted that out in the back section and Jamie shouted back.

      We’re expecting a house full on Christmas Eve so I won’t be doing any computer stuff then (will take two weeks off after my post on Sunday, except for a greeting), but I promise to stop by your place once I pack all the urchins on the return trains, planes, and automobiles that they arrive to Grandma’s house in (including a dog and a four-year-old). Take care and you and Mrs. A. have a fantastic Christmas. E

       
      • aFrankAngle

        December 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

        No problem on attending later … but my hope is that it will be up to accompany your morning coffee.

        Glad you had a great time at SNL … and I imagined you were dressed as the true diva that you are … I know – the envy of the ball! Joyous greetings to all of you!

         
      • etomczyk

        December 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm

        Frank. How did you know that I’m an early riser? And the coffee has to be pitch perfect. Actually, that is probably when I will check out your site. I try to do a shout out to God in the wee hours before the chaos of the day begins. I’ll be looking forward to it, especially if there will be music and bells! There must be bells! 🙂

         
      • aFrankAngle

        December 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm

        Oh yes …. sights and sounds in all their glory! BTW … on my current post, the typical Friday fare, there is a bell video in which you may send you into loud laughter.

         
  16. composerinthegarden

    December 14, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    SNL – that is the coolest! I’ve watched that show since its first season; I remember when people would head home early on Saturday night just to tune in. Sounds like you had a great time, Eleanor, and yes you are right, we definitely need our sense of humor intact and well-exercised 🙂

     

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