Splitsider: Breaking Down Each Cast Member’s Contribution to ‘SNL’ Season 37
May 23, 2012 Leave a comment
For my final word on the 37th season of SNL on Splitsider, I discuss each of the cast members’ contributions to the show, their relative share of screen time, and their chances on returning next season.
“One thing that often fails to get mentioned is the comedic powerhouse we have in the current ensemble. Save for an occasional low-drama tweak (Paul Brittain was let go from the show in February; Kate McKinnon added in April), there has been relatively low turnover throughout the past few seasons — a sign that Lorne is pretty happy with the way things are going. As he should be! Not since Phil Hartman have we seen performers so clearly suited for sketch comedy the way Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader are. Even Bill Murray said last year that the current cast is the strongest since the show’s first few years.
Most importantly, everyone seems to genuinely like each other. I sometimes sense sideline anxiety from younger performers like Abby Elliott and Jay Pharoah, but in general, the cast seems to be having fun. This must be at least partially due to many of the actors’ and writers’ backgrounds in improv, which values the ensemble over the individual and emphasizes connecting with your scene partner as the chief priority. For evidence of this relationship-based mentality, just look at Weekend Update. In previous generations, a desk character would be given an uninterrupted three minutes for his or her bit – now, the tone is more conversational. Stefon, Drunk Uncle, and Garth and Kat need Seth Meyers – they’re all defined largely by their attitudes towards him. These on-stage moments, as well as a few candid ones, suggest a harmonious workplace at Studio 8H.
Of course, this dynamic may likely change when Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg and Jason Sudeikis leave the cast. But while the three of them are heavyweight talents and big names to have attached to the show, they are by no means load-bearing, and the show will continue to thrive well after they leave. (All bets are off should Bill Hader follow them out, however.)
As I did last year, I’ve been keeping track of the total number of sketches each cast member appeared in throughout the 22-episode season, weighing larger roles more than simple walk-ons and one-liners. Displaying the results in a pie chart gives us a sense of each cast member’s total share of the screen time: