It is still sort of funny now…in a not funny at all most of the time…, sort of way.

February 17, 2005 — It’s impossible to think that 30 years ago, “Saturday Night Live” made its debut and changed forever the way TV was produced and watched.
“SNL” – with its insane ensemble company of pot-smoking rogues, bad boys and naughty girls – brought to TV what had never been there before: true irreverence.
On Sunday night, a documentary disguised as yet another annoying anniversary show, brings back the best of the first five years of “SNL.” And you’ll laugh as hard as if you’d never seen the sketches before.
Perhaps because two of the show’s most important cast members died way before their time, NBC didn’t attempt a – God forbid – reunion show.
Instead, there’s this terrific documentary, “Live From New York: The First Five Years of Saturday Night Live,” by Kenneth Bowser – so good it debuted at the Miami Film Festival earlier this month.
It chronicles how these funny kids – well, young adults anyway – did things that you just couldn’t do on TV. Not then, and in some cases, not now. Not on regular broadcast TV anyway.
But all the forbidden words – which are still forbidden – somehow were broadcast. And will be again on Sunday night.
They might have been very young, Lorne Michael’s loony bin ensemble company of comics: John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Laraine Newman, Garrett Morris, and Jane Curtin. But they understood that saying the forbidden words out loud took away their power.
They show the sketch with Richard Pryor, for example, where Chase plays a job counselor giving Pryor a word-association quiz that degenerates into racist craziness of “What pops into your mind when I say ‘spearchucker'” – and Pryor answers, “honky!”
Then Chase uses the n-word, and Pryor answers, “dead honky!”
Try to get away with that now. They’d shut the network down and institute immediate diversity-sensitivity training.
The filmmakers talk to Morris – the smart, funny black guy (as opposed to just the smart, funny guy) who never quite fit in.
They discuss how Curtin hated Belushi (although there are no comments from her), and how Chase left after his one-year contract ran out because – yes – his California girlfriend wouldn’t move to New York!
“I was in love,” he says. Loser!
With many of the original stars and guest hosts, as well as clips of musical guests from George Harrison and Paul Simon to The Grateful Dead and Blondie, and clips from the most unforgettable, ground-breaking, and screamingly funny stuff ever on TV, this show is definitely a keeper.
It does have a real downside, however: It serves as a horrifying reminder that we used to have John Belushi. And now we have Paris Hilton.