Much like the — season and the — season, NBC worried over SNL' s decline in quality and in the ratings and initially decided that now would be the best time to pull the plug on the show once and for all. According to the prime time special Saturday Night Live in the '90s: Pop Culture Nation , Lorne Michaels credits this season as the closest he's ever been to being fired. In the end, the cast member firings and crew turnover resulting from this season represented the biggest involvement into the show's affairs by NBC executives since the — season and the biggest cast overhaul since the — season. This season saw the deaths of two SNL alumni: season 11 cast member Danitra Vance who died of breast cancer and "Not Ready for Primetime"-era writer and occasional performer Michael O'Donoghue who died of a brain hemorrhage after years of suffering from migraine headaches. Myers, Garofalo, and Franken all left the show mid-season, and Nealon, Cleghorne, McKean, Elliott, and Kightlinger all left the show at season's end on their own terms. Farley, Sandler, Mohr, and Banks were let go from the show at the end of the season as none of them indicated any particular interest in staying for another season. Elliott and Garofalo were made repertory players, while Kightlinger was made a featured player. Jay Mohr remained a featured player and Norm Macdonald was promoted to repertory status and made Weekend Update's latest anchor. Though Kevin Nealon was no longer a Weekend Update anchor, he still remained on the show.
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27 Replies to “May 7, 1994 – John Goodman / The Pretenders (S19 E19)”
This seems like the type of role that Julia would normally play. Also, why in the world is this the lead-off sketch of the night this time, especially when their previous appearance was in a more fitting spot late in the show? Kelsey Grammer made a much better straight man in the first installment of this sketch. His impression works much better in a supporting role like this than in those terrible sketches they would later give him a starring role in the following season, where he interviews equally-unintelligible celebrities. Absolute dead silence in the studio. Kevin has certainly had some struggles as an Update anchor over the years especially this season , but that particular joke is a perfect use of his straitlaced, deadpan delivery. And as I mentioned in a recent review, it feels like a rarity in this era to see pre-taped outdoors footage not counting fake ads. My guess for the reason behind that removal is time reasons, because the sketch as a whole is quite long and Comedy Central probably needed a shorter version. I think the Mary Tyler Moore episode from way back in season 14 was the last time it appeared. Probably a good thing this ends up being the final installment.
Dana Carvey had left the show in the middle of the previous season. Chris Rock and Robert Smigel also left the show at the end of the previous season. Stand-up comics Norm Macdonald , Jay Mohr and Sarah Silverman were hired as writers and would debut as featured players a few episodes into the season. Veteran comic actor Michael McKean joined the show mid-season as a repertory cast member. A major blow for the show was the loss of Hartman.