The increasingly unfunny Saturday Night Live may be on its last legs as the long-running comedy show nears its 48th season. The show’s longest-tenured cast member, Kenan Thompson, has suggested that if rumors of showrunner Lorne Michaels stepping down after Season 50 are true, the show may be better off shuttering permanently.
“There could be a lot of validity to that rumor, because 50 is a good number to stop at,” Thompson told Vanity Fair, “That’s an incredible package. [Lorne Michaels] will be, probably, close to 80 years old at that point, and, you know, he’s the one who’s had his touch on the whole thing.”
Should Michaels retire, Thompson explained, the show would have a difficult time fending off budget cuts and new restrictions. In this case, the veteran cast member warned, SNL could “go down in flames.”
“Capping it at 50 might not be a bad idea,” Thompson concluded.
Rumors of SNL reaching its end have been lent further credibility by the show’s recently lackluster ratings. The Season 46 opener had 50 percent fewer viewers than its 2020 counterpart, and the show has since failed to recoup these losses in its 47th season.
SNL has also continued to battle accusations of political partisanship and an overall aura of left-wing bitterness. The show rarely pulled punches with former President Donald Trump, but has been comparatively gentle in their portrayal of President Biden.
After practically accusing Trump of treason, SNL has offered little criticism for the Biden administration, outside of their hopes that pesky Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) would just repeal the filibuster and let Biden ram through his agenda.
A 2019 poll revealed that a plurality of Americans were bothered by the show’s political slant, and the show’s ratings slump may reflect that.
The potential end of Saturday Night Live would represent the conclusion of a once-great comedy show. We can only hope that SNL will be remembered for its golden days, when legendary comics like Chris Farley, Phil Hartman, and Norm Macdonald did some of their best work, rather than their decidedly mediocre modern era.