Every Saturday, millions of people tune in to hear the seven words that compose one of the most iconic phrases in television history: “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!” “Saturday Night Live” has been on air for over four decades, during which it has satirized the news, launched the careers of famous comedians and most importantly, made the world laugh. Now, at “Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition,” fans have the chance to go behind the scenes while reliving their favorite sketches.
Visitors are first treated to a short introduction video, narrated by Alec Baldwin, that briefly explains the history of SNL. Afterwards, they are led into the first room, which features fan-favorite memorabilia such as the land-shark head. The scripts, notes and schedules from SNL’s early days provide a fascinating look into the show’s origins, and the work that went into producing it. The rest of the exhibit is structured to take viewers through a typical week of production, leading up to the live show. From the writer’s table to Studio 8H, the exhibit displays how sketches are added to and cut from the line up, how the props and sets are created and how the cast and crew come together to produce a cohesive show on Saturday.
Moving through the week of production, visitors are taken to a recreation of the SNL stage and treated to a video of a show hosted by Tina Fey. This portion of the exhibit highlights how stages are built off-camera throughout the show in preparation for the following sketches. For fans who have always wondered how the crew of SNL manages to configure each set within such a short time span, this display does not disappoint.
The exhibition also features interactive sets that fans can take pictures with. The famous “Wayne’s World” living room as well as the podiums from the beloved “Jeopardy” sketch are among the photo-op areas. The interactive nature of the exhibition enhances the overall experience and allows fans to fulfill lifelong fantasies of being on SNL.
In addition to interactive areas, the exhibit also displays costumes and props used by the show’s most esteemed characters. All of the classic characters were showcased, from the eccentric Mary Katherine Gallagher to the trendy yet misguided Stefon. Walking down the hall of costumes and props, it is hard not to respect all of the hard work put into into creating each individual piece.
SNL is a multi-generational phenomenon, whose viewers know and love for its hilarious sketches and its ability to see the comedy in unusual places. “Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition” is a nostalgic trip for fans of all ages, as well as a fitting tribute to one of the most iconic and treasured shows in television history.
“Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition” runs through January 2016 at Premiere Exhibitions at 417 Fifth Ave. Tickets are $29 for adults.
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