What is the longest running entertainment show on television?
You are correct if you guessed –
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE!!!
And you get bonus points if you knew off the top of your head that it’s been airing new episodes for…
Join the Chair, Holly and our special guest, Stephen Tropiano – author of the exhaustive, informative and intermittently snide Saturday Night Live FAQ, a look back on everything you know or don’t remember about one of the few classic TV series actually still airing new episodes. (Note: Yes, Seinfeld, Frasier and The Carol Burnett Show have ceased filming for some time).
It’s a great book (Note: And I’m not just saying this because he’s my husband) and Stephen helps guide us through what has essentially become our pop culture history via one of the most popular and miraculously enduring shows on TV.
It was 33 years ago this weekend that my husband and I had our first “date.” Well, actually it didn’t start out that way.
I was taking him to a party because a mutual friend of ours in NY told me there was this guy he went to school with who’d just moved to LA to get his PhD in film.
And he didn’t know many people and he thought we had similar sensibilities.
He emphasized this wasn’t a fix-up, more just a way to show this guy around and introduce him to some friends.
That was fine because it’d been more than a year since I extricated myself from a very troubled relationship and had finally decided I was done with dating, commitment phobic men and, um, men in general.
Anyway, my husband rang my doorbell while I was blasting the Les Miserables soundtrack and about to dump the garbage. When I opened it I remember here was this cute guy in a vintage vest and, well, since I wasn’t dating it really didn’t matter.
I wasn’t embarrassed in the least. In fact, I just told him to hold on while I dumped the garbage.
Unbeknownst to me, he loved Les Miz and somehow found my behavior rather charming.
Then, we went to the party.
There were lots of gay men there and I had in advance told the friend of mine who was having this shindig that I was bringing someone new to town that wanted to meet people. Well, this particular friend took me very seriously and at some point introduced him to a blonde guy his boyfriend knew who worked at a bank, thinking it would be a match.
It was then that I began to get….jealous?
But how could that be? Just because this guy from NY and I were having some fun conversations on the way to this party, following a long talk on the phone a few nights before?
Oh, whatever. And who really cares if he is now taking to this blonde guy who works at a bank. I have loads of good conversations with lots of people. I’m known for giving good conversation.
In any event, time went by and I mingled with others. But at various points I kept spying the guy I brought talking on and off to this blonde guy, who truly wasn’t all that good-looking, especially if you didn’t go in for that type.
In fact, I couldn’t imagine who would. Not that I really cared.
But suddenly the group I was talking to was disbanding and I turned and suddenly saw the NY guy I had brought, sort of looking in my general direction. So I figured this was a cue for me to go over and, well….rescue him???
I did and by that time his group was also dispersing, and that blonde banker (?) along with it. We talked for a bit, a few people left and somehow this NY guy who could never in a million years be my husband, and I, decided to clear out a bit early. He looked a bit awkward and bored at that point anyway, and, well, I didn’t want him to feel that way.
It was Saturday night so we decided to take a walk in the only neighborhood in L.A. two gay guys would even think would be fun to walk around in at that time – West Hollywood.
At which point, I proceeded to answer some of his questions and tell him a bit about myself, what I did and, well…who knows what else. It was easy to open up to him and I kept thinking, wow, he’s a good listener and I guess he finds this interesting and funny because why else would he keep asking me to keep going and occasionally laugh at my self-deprecating humor?
Of course, he remembers this as mostly a long monologue about a screenplay I was writing at the time that, though he didn’t find uninteresting, seemed beside the point of why we were walking.
When somehow the walk ended and I drove him back to his small apartment downtown on the USC campus he asked me if I wanted to come upstairs. Sean Penn, who was then married to Madonna and in the tabloids every other day for punching out paparazzi, was hosting Saturday Night Live that night, and well, for those who weren’t around then, just know this was a potential HUGE event because, well, ANYTHING could happen.
What I learned from that night is that at ANY moment in time ANYTHING can and WILL happen. And often when you least expect it.
Thirty-three years later it might seem a little sad that we are this weekend limited in what we can do for our anniversary in light of the pandemic. But wouldn’t you know that the gay gods in the universe have provided once again.
They scheduled the fabulous Adele to make her hosting debut on Saturday Night Live where she will step back into the international spotlight for the first time in a long while after a huge weight loss – wearing designer clothes and, no doubt, hawking a bit of her about to be released latest album.
Life is often perfectly flawed but, let’s face it, sometimes it can be flawlessly perfect.
And, almost always, at a time when you least expect it.