I mean, like, really old people. At least someone over 50. Tom Hanks and Steve Martin don't count. They've been hosting since they were young men. Why did it take a national petition to get Betty White into Studio 8H? Again, another brilliant episode. Why the "F" has Carol Burnett not graced that stage? The woman who got the longest sustained laugh in the history of television? And she's not getting any younger. If I were Lorne Michaels I'd be sending out a sedan chair and offering frankincense and myrrh to get her on my show. Supposedly, back in the day, when writers on SNL weren't "edgy" enough, they were told their material was too "Carol Burnett" and they were sent back to the writer's room. Well, the edgy has become commonplace; in great part due to SNL; so maybe it's time to come full circle and maybe do some Carol Burnett style comedy on SNL. And the best way to do that, it seems pretty logical to me, would be to have Carol host the show. What is the shows' aversion to actual old people? Not just the hosts (what, did Milton Berle wreck it for everyone?); but the regular cast. It seems there's never been a cast member over the age of twenty-five (at the time of their hiring) on that show. Wait, there was Phil Hartman. He was 38 when he was hired. And he was one of the funniest players in the history of the show. And oh, wait another second...in the first season there was an original Not Ready For Primetime Player who was...46! Guess how long he lasted. His name was George Coe.
You know, I think the lowest form of comedy, after practical jokes, is pot-shots at old people. Saturday Night Live is pretty guilty of this. Also, I don't find young people donning age make-up and doing gramps and granny routines particularly funny. It's extremely "Carol Burnett." It's corny. It's much better when real old people play the old people. And Saturday Night Live occasionally does cast actual old folks. Usually in their mock commercials. Unfortunately, it's almost always in some scatalogical spoof revolving around incontinence. "Oops, I Crapped My Pants" adult diapers. Or "The Toilet Death Ejector." Why aren't these commercials ever the young cast members playing old people? I guess it's extra humiliating to use the real thing. Maybe too pricey for all that make-up? Just use an underpaid geriatric. Doesn't really tickle my funny bone.* Correction; scatalogical humor should come after practical jokes.
This is not to say that it should be all old people. Cutesy projects like The Cool Kids or Going in Style or Last Vegas are even more annoying. The Golden Girls can get really taxing, really fast. I'm just saying that the inclusion of old people in comedy--comedy that doesn't belittle them--is always more interesting than just all young people or all old people.*** It reflects life more realistically; and isn't that where comedy comes from? Dealing with life?
Perhaps you could start with having Jane Curtin or Laraine Newman host. Or maybe co-host. How wonderful would that be? It could be the start of something great. And how about another "Anyone Can Host" contest? There are a lot of Miskell Spillmanses out there who watch the show: still crazy after all these years.
** I do not know if this was entitled "The Japanese Wig Sketch." Fuller disclosure: My finding it funny is in no way condoning culturally appropriative comedy.
*** Robert De Niro, please stop doing "comedies."