Live from New York!

1 January 2019

The room was swallowed in darkness except for the tiny, cherry-colored shards of light seeping in through the hotel blinds from a violent sunset, darting like minnows across the walls and floor. I sat cross-legged, eyes glued to the screen in rapt attention. My entire body was bathed in the ghostly, pale glow of the television much like the little girl in the classic horror film Poltergeist. However, instead of communicating with benign ghosts through the static on the T.V., I was in the middle of watching an episode of Saturday Night Live for the first time in my life.

After a long day of scaling up a towering hill, just to take a brief, 10-minute tour of King Ludwig’s famous fairytale castle, Neuschwanstein, in Germany, and after copious amounts of complaining done by two annoying siblings, my family had promptly fallen asleep as soon as their heads hit their pillows. However, being plagued with insomnia, I resigned myself to passing the time by watching re-runs of SpongeBob until I grew impatient with that yellow, porous, square sponge and undertook the aimless task of channel surfing.

Live from New York! Essay Example

It was only after rummaging through various soap opera dramas and late-night talk shows on the BBC that I stumbled upon a show that would change the course of my life forever.

“Guess what?” a hot-shot music producer bedazzled in gaudy “pimp bling” played by Christopher Walken, exclaimed to the fake rock band, Blue Oyster Cult, “I got a fever and the only prescription…is MORE COWBELL!”

Will Ferrell, the distracting cowbell player, erupted in a ridiculous dance of wild pelvis thrusts while passionately banging on his instrument. At once, a big watermelon smile spread across my face and I struggled to swallow laughter, trying not to wake-up my surrounding dreamers. With eyes as large as saucers, I watched the entire show, taking in everything before surrendering to my pillow.

It took only one hour of watching the late-night sketch show to get me hooked for life. Immediately, I was attracted to all the bizarre, eccentric characters each actor would portray every week; Debbie Downer, Hans and Franz, The Coneheads, Greg the Alien, Blues Brothers, Opera Man, Landshark and Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. I would watch the funniest sketches over and over until I was able to mimic a character’s voice and movement to near-perfection. Afterwards, I would hoist some shower curtains over the entryway to our living room to use as makeshift stage curtains and gather my entire family together for an amateurish performance, hoping to elicit laughs from my small audience.

However, as I grew older, I focused more on the writing aspect of the show. I became an ardent fan of Tina Fey. The first, female, head-writer in the history of the show, she brought the show up to its creative pinnacle in the early 2000’s writing sharp, witty jokes for Weekend Update. She was different from anyone whom had written for the show that I had seen. Her jokes were not just ridiculous fake news stories. They were based on events that were happening in the world at the time and on important figures in society. Tina wrote comedy that was thought provoking and raised awareness. For instance, during the 2008 presidential election, when I was just a sophomore in high school, my main priorities included just achieving high grades and snagging a boyfriend with good hygiene, who did not still have braces and trade Pokemon cards to go the homecoming dance with. I didn’t pay attention to the news at all until I watched Tina Fey impersonate Sarah Palin. With every election that has occurred in my lifetime, I’ve always told others I support the candidates my parents stand behind, but this made me reevaluate this time. Did this woman seriously use “I can see Russia from my house,” as evidence of her foreign policy experience? I thought to myself, ‘She sounds ignorant. I could not endorse someone I did not see fit to help run this country.’ For the first time in my life, I began to watch the news daily, checking for updates, tuning in to watch all the debates and voicing my opinions to my parents and teachers. Although I was not of age to be able to vote, I was no longer a teenager whose only perspective was confined to the four walls of her high school. I was an individual who had formulated her own opinion and was aware of the larger picture; a young adult who could discuss important issues in conversations rather than just rattle off about musicians on MTV or the latest pop starlet train wreck in People magazine.

Being more politically conscious, I noticed how much Tina Fey and Saturday Night Live had influenced me, not just as a person who needed to be informed but also as a comedic writer. I want my work to elicit laughter but also make people more aware of what is going on in the world. To be able to write and entertain using humor, sarcasm and wit to raise peoples’ consciousness has an enormous appeal to me. Using theater, performance, media, and journalism as a means to an end is a future goal of mine. I am passionate about writing and making a lasting impression on those who view or read my work. And one day in the future, I hope to see my work performed before an audience preceded by an actor breaking character and exclaiming, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!”

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