Monday Morning Music: Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town

922853_10153794330701303_7844604813520770486_nAfter Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band finished their second performance on SNL this past Saturday I was fairly disappointed.

Don’t get me wronged – The Boss and the band put on a couple of great performances of songs from their new box set celebrating the 35th anniversary of “The River” (a great Christmas present for the Bruce Springsteen fan and blog writer in your life).

On any other night I would have been elated to hear performances of “Meet Me In The City” and “The Ties That Bind” live on Saturday night.

The only problem was this was the Christmas show. Continue reading

Your Mistakes Give You Meaning

trump.thm_If you’re in the public eye and you want to find redemption for a public mistake, there’s really only one place to go: Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, a.k.a. the main stage of “Saturday Night Live”.

Actors who take themselves a little too seriously. Celebrities who say the wrong thing on social media. Politicians involved in some sort of scandal.

We’ve seen them all take the stage on SNL over the years.  Just this weekend presidential candidate Donald Trump – a phrase that will never not be hilarious and slightly disturbing at the same time – hosted the show. Over the course of the evening the show roasted his blusterous personality, his reputation as a racist and his tendency to trash his other political candidates.

That’s the catch with coming on Saturday Night Live – you have to be willing make fun of your mistakes. Continue reading

How SNL Made Me A Better Youth Minister

As SNL celebrates its 40th Anniversary this weekend, I just wanted to take a few minutes to say thanks.

You see, I’m not a funny person.

I’ve said funny things before, and I’ve gotten a few laughs in my lifetime. But the truth is most of those funny things were stolen. And most of them were stolen from Saturday Night Live.

635583156024811072-ConeheadsI think it’s perfect that as part of the new SNL app there’s a whole keyboard of SNL-inspired emojis. After all, for my friends and I SNL is its own sort of language of catchphrases and inside jokes.

I’ve never been good at quoting classic movies, but I can recite for you Matt Foley’s entire speech about living in a van down by the river and tell you why there needs to be more cowbell and shout out all of the Spartan Cheerleaders’ routines. Continue reading

Kicking The Tommy Boy Mentality

It’s never our fault. 

From a young age we’re trained to pass the blame onto others – no matter how big the mistakes.

The natural instinct is to find someone else who can take the fault for our fumbles. From pointing fingers in grade school to passing the buck onto a coworker, the blame game is ingrained in us.

How many times have we looked like Tommy Boy, trying to fix things up and then asking others, “What’d you do?!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3xWOriHqwU Continue reading

Live Like It’s Live

SNL-imageLive From New York, It’s Saturday Night!

For 40 years, those 7 words have been uttered from studio 8H in Rockefeller Center announcing the most exciting 90 minutes of television comedy every week.

The most important of those 7 words is the first one – Live.

“Saturday Night Live”, despite what you may think, airs LIVE. It does not air on tape delay. It does not air 3 months after it was recorded. New episodes air live at 11:30 pm Eastern Standard Time Saturday nights.

There’s no getting around this. If the sketches aren’t ready or the actors aren’t prepared the show cannot be postponed. There’s a contract with the network and with the viewers. The show must go on no matter what. Continue reading

30 Rock and The Two Things You Need To Succeed

30 Rock“30 Rock” should have been cancelled after six episodes.

The odds were against it from the start. Most people remember “30 Rock” debuted during the same season and on the same network as another show set behind the scenes of a fictional sketch comedy series, “Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip”.

“Studio 60” was a big budget drama from the mind of “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin and featured one of the biggest tv stars of the past decade in Matthew Perry.

It was the centerpiece of NBC’s fall lineup that season. If any show was going to succeed that season, it was “Studio 60″.

It lasted 22 episodes.

7 years and 138 episodes later “30 Rock” took its final bow, running laps around the competition and being hailed as one of the greatest sitcoms of all time in reviews like this one.

How did that happen? And how can you find the same level of success?

By not being afraid to make a change. And by being on a network with a lot of grace to give. Continue reading

You Can Be Awesome TODAY

Justin Timberlake is lazy. Here’s how you can tell:

How many Beatles songs can you name in ten seconds? (Go with me on this.)

Probably more than you can count on two hands. Can you believe the Fab Four recorded all those songs and countless other ones you know by heart in a span of about 7 years? A dozen of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll albums of all time, all created within just 7 years.

To contrast, Justin Timberlake – singer, producer, actor, all around king of the world – is releasing his eagerly-anticipated third album in March. He released his first solo effort back in 2002.

Just to clarify, that’s 3 Justin Timberlake albums in 11 years, as compared to 12 Beatles albums in 7 years.

What is wrong with that ratio? Continue reading