I like to think of Saturday Night Live as a daycare for comedians with Lorne Michaels as the overruling nanny for all the little kids who don't know any better. After 40 years on air, it's a proven staple on our television line up. It's popularity has only risen in recent years because of Internet video sharing, and sites like YouTube, in which 4-6 minute videos are all anyone's attention can handle. Not only that, but we've seen the success of past SNL comedians and the all the brilliant work they've done after leaving the show. With people like Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy and countless more, the potential for success after leaving the show is very high. So like I said, it's a daycare. Young, talented comedians come in and play around with their funny and creative ideas. They grow and step into their comedic talent, mastering impressions and nailing their punchline timing. It's very obvious which cast members are brand new and which are the veterans. All the while, Lorne Michaels watches over with an insightful eye and approves or disapproves of whatever skit is being pitched. He turns these no name youngsters into show runners and head writers. It's a given that some skits will work and others will completely miss the mark, but that's part of the growing process for all these comedians.
After leaving daycare, many of these talented jokesters have gone on to write and/or star in our favorite television shows. Most recently, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have finished their long running shows, 30 Rock and Parks and Rec. In addition, many of SNL's recent departures are now putting their footprint on the industry. Fred Armisen, who was on SNL for 13 years, is now in his 6th season of Portlandia, which he created. Last Man on Earth, Fox's new hit comedy, stars Will Forte who spent 10 years at SNL. Andy Samberg, digital short genius and 8 year cast member, is now the star of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and recently hosted the Emmys. Kristen Wiig gifted the world with Bridesmaids, and Seth Meyers is the host of Late Night. These recent SNL grads are only at the beginning of their post-SNL career and have a lot of room to grow.
All in all, we should thank Lorne Michaels for creating such a program to help these comedians grow. Who knows if Tina Fey would have ever written Mean Girls or if Will Ferrell would have starred in dozens of hilarious comedies. Maybe? Probably not. So for all those new cast members who are awkward and mess up their lines, you may have your own show in 5-10 years. Hell, you may even host The Tonight Show.