Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

“Saturday Night Live” Figures It Out

Conan O’Brien has embraced TV’s new rules for the Web. So has his old employer.

It used to take NBC a very long time to get clips from “Saturday Night Live” on the Internet, which is the whole reason that “Lazy Sunday” became a YouTube sensation.*

Fast-forward to today, where NBC and its social media helpers distribute SNL clips in the wee hours of Sunday night, just as soon as the show wraps up. Even more advanced: Now NBC has started showing clips of bits that never made it to TV, period.

Here’s a couple of sketches that never aired on last week’s season finale. But you can see them because they made it to the dress rehearsal, which the show tapes in its entirety.

I think the stand-up satire is pretty great (loved the Bears fan and the Denis Leary guy, in particular). Media omnivore Jason Hirschhorn loved the Jay Pharoah thing.

And that’s what’s great about SNL on the Web in general — it lets everyone pick and choose their favorite bits, Chinese-menu style, and skip the many parts they don’t want to watch. Adding in stuff that was good enough to get staged but not good enough to make the 90-minute broadcast can only be a good thing. If you’re a certain kind of SNL fan, you’ll even get a kick out of dress rehearsal versions of stuff that did air.

I don’t know how long SNL has been putting up un-aired bits on the Web — looks like for all of the past season, at the very least. Perhaps NBC PR will get back to me before the holiday weekend with a more accurate date. But regardless of when they started, I hope they keep it up.

*Which you could argue is one of the reasons Google ended up buying the company for $1.6 billion. Which led to NBC and Fox creating Hulu as an anti-Google/YouTube hedge.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald