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What Alec's Watching: SNL needs to redefine 'L'

I still love Saturday Night Live. I scour Hulu for all the best skits every Sunday morning and react to news that Justin Timberlake will be hosting the season finale like NBC mailed me $500 overnight. But for every SNL nerd such as myself, there are 12 other naysayers who say the show will never be as good as it was in the INSERT-DECADE-HERE.

Saturday Night Live is not significantly worse or better than it ever has been. It is what it is: solid entertainment. Still, I’m in agreement with the naysayers on one aspect: SNL needs to adapt.

Saturday Night Live could learn a thing or two from Colonel Sanders. Yes, you read that correctly, and no, I’m not writing this at 4:00 a.m. under the influence of angel dust.

You may remember that a couple of years ago, Kentucky Fried Chicken added grilled chicken to its menu. This flew in the face of our country’s very perception of reality.  Kentucky Fried Chicken is Kentucky FRIED Chicken, not Kentucky GRILLED Chicken. The Colonel was probably spinning around in his grave made of chicken bones held together by trans fat.

What Kentucky Fried Chicken wisely realized, however, is that nobody called Kentucky Fried Chicken “Kentucky Fried Chicken,” they called it “KFC.”

 The acronym “KFC” makes no implication that the company’s food is prepared in any particular way. It just means to millions of consumers that they will soon be eating something yummy and artery clogging.

It’s time that Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels makes a similar discovery.

The fake commercials and other prerecorded material have always been the strongest aspect of SNL. It’s the live material that has the highest probability of bombing.

Now more than ever, the prerecorded material outshines the live sketches with the addition of The Lonely Island’s utterly brilliant Digital Shorts. In fact, there is a whole generation of TV viewers who proudly proclaim to hate SNL but love the Digital Shorts.

So why not ditch the “Live” part of Saturday Night Live? The “L” in SNL can stand for anything. Saturday Night Laughs, Saturday Night Love, Saturday Night Llamas. Whatever.

In the Internet era, TV entertainment cannot afford to bring anything less than its A-game. SNL, while a cherished TV institution, isn’t exempt from the rules.

It’s lazy criticism to pine for the past of the show whose format has remained unchanged for nearly 40 years. But unfortunately, the SNL haters are getting closer and closer to be being correct, even if by accident.

Alec Bojalad is a junior studying journalism. Send him an email at


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