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(Bao Nguyen, U. S.). 90 minutes. Rating: NNN Bao Nguyen’s flashy, superficial documentary celebrating the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live plays like a skipping stone over the surface of the show’s history. Yes, it’s impossible to fit four decades of TV comedy into an hour and a half, but Nguyen doesn’t really try, focusing on a handful of key elements and cramming in as many celebrity interviews as possible.
The usual bases are covered: Lorne Michaels’s assembling of the cast and writing staff (most of whom were poached from the National Lampoon Radio Hour); the watershed first season that established the show’s reputation for political engagement and cutting- edge musical guests; the shakier seasons that followed the departure of Michaels and his cast in 1980.
But then Nguyen essentially leapfrogs over the 80s and 90s to the glory days of Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Andy Samberg and Amy Poehler, apparently because they were all available for face time. It’s also kind of weird that the doc spends so much time on the show’s reaction to 9/ 11, though perhaps that was inevitable given the time period on which it focuses. NW Apr 29, 9: 30 pm, Bloor Hot Docs; Apr 30, 7:15
pm, TIFF 2