SummaryWhen Phil Hartman left “Saturday Night Live” at the end of the previous season, it was in good spirits, though he did compare his departure to getting off of a “sinking ship.” His statement was far from incorrect, for “SNL” reached its unfunniest moments since the doomed 1980 season. But whereas 1980 was filled with unknown performers who were unwelcomed by the original cast’s audience, 1994 was filled with well-known “SNL” veterans who were sailing on weak material. Even newcomers like Chris Elliot, Janene Garafalo, Mark McKinney, and Laura Kightlinger couldn’t do anything to save the show this season.
Among the season’s foul-ups: Garofalo quit the show in a state of fury over the sudden lack of on-air professionalism surrounding her; long-time featured player Al Franken became furious when his Stuart Smalley movie didn’t get good reviews at the box office; and Chris Farley, Adam Sandler and David Spade weighed down nearly every sketch with bad performances.
One true highlight of the season took place when up-and-coming castmember Norm MacDonald took over the long-running “Weekend Update” segment with his take on the “fake news”, premiering with his all-time favorite celebrity, O.J. Simpson. Cameo appearances were made by former President George Bush, as well as the notorious Joey Buttafuaco. And, after sixteen years of being asked, John Travolta finally hosted the show, taking the opportunity to parody every important production he’s ever starred in.