Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!
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"Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" is the famous line featured on the American comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live which runs on the NBC broadcast network. The line has almost always been used as a way to end a cold opening sketch and lead into the opening titles/montage and cast introductions.
During the history of the show the line was typically spoken by a host, cast member(s), and/or musical guest; however, in recent years, the line has occasionally been given to a non-host/non-cast member for cameo purposes, such as for stars like Brad Pitt and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson or more unusual celebrities like Monica Lewinsky, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire winner John Carpenter and Presidential / Vice Presidential hopefuls Bob Dole on November 16, 1996 (albeit just after the 1996 election), WWE chairman Vince McMahon on March 18, 2000, Barack Obama on November 3, 2007, Hillary Clinton on March 1, 2008, Sarah Palin on October 18, 2008, and John McCain on November 1, 2008.
The line has been used in every season but one (the 1981-1982 season, the first full season with Dick Ebersol as producer).
The line was first said by Chevy Chase on SNL's first show on October 11, 1975. For all but two of the first season's 24 episodes, Chase would say the line (which was typically preceded by a pratfall of some kind). (During the show's first season, the show was known simply as Saturday Night, due to the preexistence of another Saturday Night Live on ABC, which is how the pronouncement received its wording. The announcement remained intact when the ABC's SNL was canceled and Saturday Night adopted the SNL name for itself.)
The convention of opening the show with the line has itself been the subject of some of the cold openings. An early case of this was a March 1977 episode where castmember John Belushi refused to say the line until a list of his demands were met. (His plan was foiled when he was tricked into saying the line while reading a note that had been handed to him.)
Even when the show is not aired on a Saturday, such as the eight Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday specials aired from 2008 to 2012, the traditional line is used.
There have been multiple variations on the line.
The line has been said in Spanish three times (by Gilda Radner, Chris Farley, and the tandem of Will Ferrell and Julia Stiles). The line in Spanish is; "En vivo desde Nueva York, ¡es Sábado por la Noche!".
In 1982, while still a castmember, Eddie Murphy was asked to host the show in place of his 48 Hrs. co-star, Nick Nolte. Murphy altered the line to "Live from New York, it's the Eddie Murphy Show!" While it was probably an accurate depiction of the state of the show at the time, the other castmembers were nonetheless annoyed by this. Two months later, host Lily Tomlin chided Murphy about this in the cold opening, then proclaimed "Live from New York, it's the Lily Tomlin Show!"
Another variation would occur on the February 6, 1999 program - Darrell Hammond's Bill Clinton, his Senate trial winding down, gives an Oval Office address assuring the American public that he "will not gloat" over his certain victory. The images behind him, however - streamers on the windows; Hillary, Al Gore, Vernon Jordan and Monica Lewinsky drinking beer; thanks to an "honest mistake" during a tribute to "eloquent" House impeachment manager Henry Hyde, Clinton holds up a picture of a horse's ass instead of Hyde; Betty Currie dancing to "Chain of Fools" - suggest otherwise, and at the end Clinton drops the facade and announces "Live, from New York, it's Gloatin' Time!"
In February 2001, Jennifer Lopez hosted for her first time. After a cold opening sketch where producer Lorne Michaels and various male castmembers obsess over Lopez's posterior, Tracy Morgan shouted, "Live from New York, it's Jennifer Lopez's booty!" (Incidentally, this episode was not live and had to be tape-delayed 45 minutes because of an XFL game going into double-overtime.)
In the first show aired after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the show opened with a sentimental musical number from Paul Simon, the Simon & Garfunkel song "The Boxer," Simon standing with cast members and with then Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani. After the song was over, Lorne Michaels asked Giuliani, "Can we be funny?" - a remark met by nervous laughter, which gave way to great applause when Giuliani responded, "Why start now?"
On the October 28, 2006 program, Sacha Baron Cohen promoted his film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan as Borat, with the line "Alive from New York - home of the Jew - it's Saturday night!"
On the April 7, 2012 show, Jason Sudeikis as Mitt Romney remarked that, "There's that unforgettable opening that we know so well: 'Hey, New York, let's start the show'" and then Bill Hader yelled the line normally from off-screen. Sudeikis as Romney said, "Yeah, exactly, what he said. That's right."
On the April 6, 2013 show, Dennis Rodman mistakenly yelled "live in New York, it's Saturday Night Live."
One variation included Jason Sudeikis, portraying Wolf Blitzer Yelled "Live From New York!" and mumbled the rest of the line.
The puppet Toonces the Driving Cat meowed the line, with English subtitles.
In the 1983 episode jointly hosted by Danny DeVito & Rhea Perlman, the cold opening was a parody of Brooke Shields Calvin Klein jeans commercials. In it a woman named Martha (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) insults her friends and receives a pie in the face. After she is hit Dreyfus begins to give the famous line, however after saying “Live form New York it’s” she is then surprised with an unexpected second pie in her face and she does not finish the line.
Dana Carvey (imitating John McLaughlin) in a McLaughlin Group parody asked his panelists how the show starts, and after shouting down their recitation of the opening line with a loud "WRONG!!" opened the show with, "Show, show, show. Here we go!" A subsequent installment had Carvey's telling everybody they were wrong, only to then say, "I'm only kidding. Start the show!"