by ERIC GUZMAN
Saturday Night Live [SNL] will celebrate its 40th year anniversary with a star-studded three-hour long special on Feb. 15 at 5 p.m.
“I grew up watching SNL. It’s one of the few things my mother and I enjoy doing together,” said senior Andy Moc. “We’re both really excited for the 40th anniversary special. For my mother, the special will bring a sense of nostalgia from her youth. As for me, I am excited to see the founding fathers of SNL, and the cast members who laid the foundations for what the show is today.”
The special will feature past hosts and former cast members dating back to the show’s beginnings. Of the original cast, nicknamed the “Not Ready for Primetime Players,” Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris and Laraine Newman are confirmed to appear. The special will also welcome back other SNL alumni such as Will Ferrell, Steve Martin, and Bill Murray. Even Eddie Murphy, who has refused to appear on SNL ever since his departure 30 years ago, is confirmed to return.
“All the generations are coming, and so there’s a little bit of a mash-up between different casts, people who have never really worked together before,” said Executive Producer Lorne Michaels in an interview with Variety. “Most [cast members] from over the years are coming back, and an enormous number of people who hosted. It’s unlike any other reunion. It’s both (a feeling of) dread and ‘You know what? This is happening.'”
Similar to the show’s 25th anniversary special, the program will include highlights from the show’s history as well as live performances. The large assortment of guests will lead to a renewal of some of SNL’s most popular characters including Mike Myers’ Wayne Campbell, Molly Shannon’s Mary Katherine Gallagher and Kristin Wiig’s Gilly.
To complement the 40th anniversary special, VH1 Classic will show 19 days of continuous SNL episodes in its “SNL Rewind: 2015-1975 Mega Marathon,” which starts Jan. 28 and continues until the special airs.
Since its premiere on Oct. 11, 1975, SNL has aired 779 episodes and is one of the longest-running network television programs in the U.S. The show has accumulated 40 Primetime Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards and three Writers Guild of America Awards. It has received 156 Emmy nominations, the most by any TV show. In 2000, it was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
“He [Michaels] put me on TV, and no one else would have done that,” said Tina Fey, in an interview with Hollywood Reporter on Michaels’ influence on comedy. “Lorne created a show that’s impacted culture for over 35 years. No one has ever really successfully been able to replicate it.”
The list of confirmed guests, in alphabetical order: Fred Armisen, Aykroyd, Alec Baldwin, Jim Carrey, Dana Carvey, Chase, Curtin, Robert De Niro, Jimmy Fallon, Ferrell, Fey, James Franco, Zach Galifianakis, Bill Hader, Jon Hamm, Tom Hanks, Derek Jeter, Norm Macdonald, Peyton Manning, Steve Martin, Melissa McCarthy, Paul McCartney, Seth Meyers, Morris, Murphy, Murray, Mike Myers, Newman, Jack Nicholson, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock, Paul Rudd, Maya Rudolph, Andy Samberg, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, Molly Shannon, Martin Short, Paul Simon, David Spade, Emma Stone, Jason Sudeikis, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Christopher Walken, Kerry Washington, Kanye West, Betty White, and Wiig.
“‘Saturday Night Live’ is an institution unlike anything else in television history,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, in an interview with “The Wrap.” “The many brilliant ‘Not Ready for Primetime Players’ over the years is a who’s who of film and television comedy for the last two generations.”