Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition

SNL Exhibition

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Experience 40 Years of Saturday Night Live—In the Heart of NYC - Brought to you by Premier Exhibitions

It's the longest-running comedy program in U.S. history—an iconic show that has both defined and reshaped the culture since its debut on October 11, 1975.

It's won 36 Primetime Emmy Awards out of 156 nominations—the most of any television show ever—and has been ranked 10th on TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time."

And it's finally receiving its first-ever full-scale exhibition—on 5th Avenue, just about a dozen blocks from the legendary Studio 8H location from which all 787 episodes (thus far) have been broadcast.

Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition is generating intense grass-roots buzz among fans of the show (which, after all, includes just about everybody) ahead of its May 30, 2015 opening—so let’s take a closer look at what visitors to Premier Exhibitions | Fifth Avenue can expect to see:


A Week in the Life

“We go from blank page to on the air in six days, and we struggle to be original every week.”
—Lorne Michaels

Experiencing Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition is very much like experiencing a week in the life of the legendary program itself.

You begin your immersive journey through SNL history in creator and producer Lorne Michaels’ office. As you proceed through a priceless and unique collection of sets, props, video, photographs and multimedia presentations, you quickly realize that you’re seeing the history of the show unfold in parallel with the creative process for writing and performing an episode of the show.

Lorne’s office was Monday. Tuesday, you’re in the writer’s room. Wednesday is read-through, production and design. Thursday is sets and costuming. The show comes together Friday, final rehearsals happen Saturday, and then there’s the broadcast Saturday night … followed, of course, by the Saturday night / Sunday morning after-party.

Then, after a few hours of sleep and recovery, it starts all over again.

Icons Everywhere!

“"It will never be perfect, but perfect is overrated. Perfect is boring on live television.”
—Tina Fey

Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition delivers a near-perfect collection of priceless comedy icons for fans of all eras of the show. Here are just a few examples:

The Killer Bee costume—despised by performers and NBC executives alike.

Steve Martin’s King Tut costume—part of SNL’s most expensive production up to that time.

Norm McDonald’s “Celebrity Jeopardy” Burt Reynolds outfit—yes, Burt Reynolds, not Turd Ferguson.

Coneheads? Check. Land shark? Check. Goat Boy prosthetics? Church Lady costume? Mister Robinson’s cardigan sweater? Check, check and check.

But some of the greatest wardrobe items in television history—including items worn by Madonna, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber—are just one small part of the wonder of Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition.

There are unique show props like Dan Aykroyd’s Bass-o-Matic blender, Tina Fey’s Brownie Husband, and Justin Timberlake’s Dick in a Box.

There are full-scale sets like the Celebrity Jeopardy game set, the Church Lady set, and the show’s Home Base main stage.

There are costume design sketches, performers’ thank you notes, scripts, cue cards, video clips, Emmy awards and so much more—Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition even provides some of the most unique selfie opportunities on the planet—including at the Weekend Update desk and on the couch in Wayne and Garth’s basement!

But What’s It All Mean?

“It was the cultural phenomenon of the age. It was truly as big as the Beatles. It was this huge riotous thing and it was on every week and everybody gathered together on Saturday nights to watch it.”
—Tom Hanks

All due respect to Tom Hanks, of course, SNL continues to be a cultural phenomenon—stronger than ever after four decades of creating laughter and shaping the culture—and SNL alumni have starred in countless other television shows, films, and Broadway productions. In the case of writer and performer Al Franken, SNL has even made it to the U.S. Senate.

The SNL cast has had more than 130 members over the years—a veritable Who’s Who of comedy and A-list megastars including (but certainly not limited to) Billy Crystal, Robert Downey Jr., Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Harry Shearer, Martin Short and Ben Stiller.

SNL is more than a television phenomenon: Nearly a dozen feature-length movies have been based on SNL characters, including the commercial and critical hits Wayne’s World and The Blues Brothers.

SNL is more than an American phenomenon: The show airs in Africa and the Middle East, while Canada, Germany, Spain, South Korea and Japan have all created their own version of SNL.

SNL is a singularly unique entertainment phenomenon—a comedy and cultural juggernaut like no other. After 40 years, Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition is a long-overdue celebration of this iconic program ... and arguably the greatest new attraction NYC has seen in many years.
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