Betty White on Saturday Night Live: Lesbionic Muffintastic Lady Alumni Reunion Best Episode Ever

Last night a cultural moment of epic proportions happened on Saturday Night Live, perhaps you were watching? Chances are that you were, it was SNL’s highest rated night in 18 months! We saw you on Twitter, transcribing the episode for everyone else who was also transcribing the episode on Twitter. Seriously was anyone doing anything else last night (besides Technostraddle editor Taylor, who was launching her third tumblr, doodleshroom):

Let’s review: Betty White opened by thanking the Facebook campaign that landed her on the show, and just when you thought there weren’t any more funny jokes to be made about Facebook, you forgot about 88-year-olds making jokes about facebook:

“I have so many people to thank for being here, but I really have to thank Facebook. When I first heard about the campaign to get me to host ‘Saturday Night Live,’ I didn’t know what Facebook was. And now that I do know what it is, I have to say – it sounds like a huge waste of time.”

Opening monologue:

The cold open introduced us to a lady-reunion of epic proportions and Kristin Wiig at her squirelly best. Lawrence Welk opener:

The Mother’s Day special brought back some of our favorite SNL alums; Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Ana Gasteyer, Rachel Dratch and Molly Shannon. The only things that could’ve made that line-up even more monumentally Girl Powery and exciting would’ve been:

1. Bringing Gilda Radner back from the dead
2. Julia Sweeny (It’s Pat meets The Golden Girls w/Wiig as Sophia, Gasteyer as Dorothy = epic comedy opp)
3. Janeane Garofalo (could’ve been in the NPR skit w/Air America crossover, many muffin opportunities)
4. Cheri Oteri (cheerleading at the nursing home cricket match)

Now, if you so desire, you can watch the entire episode on Hulu! Or you can watch Jezebel’s recap with appropriate skit videos of the episode.

Or you can watch what we were watching last night (while constructing the NSFW Sunday of course), FOOD INC, which scared the shit out of us.

What did the rest of the world think about this epic television moment?

USA Today: “Saturday’s overhyped NBC broadcast mostly served to explain why SNL seemed so reluctant to bring White on board. Clearly, they didn’t know what to do with her.

Los Angeles Times: “Indeed, the most common way to have fun with old people on TV or in film is to have them act as if they were young people. Making them talk about sex or swear, or take drugs, or use language they’re the wrong age to use is an easy laugh that contemporary comedy writers do not seem able to resist or improve upon, or think up alternatives to.”

The New York Times: “Historically, “SNL” doesn’t always come through for its most heavily hyped hosts… but Saturday’s show was one of the strongest outings of the season. With energy, enthusiasm and plain old laughs, Ms. White and the “SNL” cast and crew (including an ensemble of recent alumnae) more than delivered on this much promoted episode’s promise.”

Entertainment Weekly: “After months of grassroots campaigning, White’s appearance was its own reward: The audience was applauding as much for itself and its pop-culture populist power as it was for White herself.”

Jezebel: “But perhaps the best part of the show was that it reminded the audiences at home that Betty White is not just some 88-year-old woman who can get laughs by saying dirty things (though that seemed to be the basis of several skits); she’s also a brilliant comedian, with killer timing and the ability to keep up with—and outshine—people 60 years younger than she is.”

Btw did you see the Debbie Downer web exclusive? Hey remember when Lindsay Lohan did Debbie Downer? Good times.

Thoughts? Feelings? Exclamation points?


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Riese

Riese is the 40-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2988 articles for us.

12 Comments

  1. Thoughts: SNL thrives on nostalgia.

    Feelings: I can’t decide which sketch’s my favorite, but there where a lot of hilarious, and sometimes even functional (e.g. “you’re barking up the wrong lesbian”), one-liners in all of them. Also, Vivian Caruso trying to synch the putting on of her solar shields with the delivery of her dramatic one-liners was magic. The adorable, ‘I wish that show actually existed’ kind of magic. Sí señor. Also II, Jay-Z was great.

    Exclamation points: 8.5 out of 10.

    • i think people feel betty white is ‘real’ because she is uncorrupted by the ‘media’ and the ‘internet age’ and etc. they are correct, but it’s interesting how strongly we reply to what feels like authenticity

  2. I haven’t voluntarily sat down in front of my tv and watched a whole episode of SNL in years, so last night was a big deal. I think it was really funny, mostly due to Betty White and the girls who came back just for last night. I think that Kristen Wiig might be the only funny person left on SNL.

  3. I was trying to be all tagline-y and succinct with my thoughts because I usually go into (boring) overdrive if I don’t restrain myself. I’ll try to find somewhere in between, but editing myself in English = mental pain.

    I didn’t mean it specifically regarding Betty White, I didn’t grow up watching her/the major shows she was in so I’m missing out on that particular emotional connection, but I know enough not to mess with her! Not that I want to, of course. ;)

    I meant that, in general, it seems as if people (myself included) enjoy SNL a lot more in hindsight. And that, directly related to that phenomenon, some SNL actors/sketches are a lot more appreciated if they leave for some time and then reappear. When I really started watching SNL Tina Fey was already the head writer, so it’s not like I have all this extensive knowledge of ‘how it all works’. But even then I remember that the criticism was, at best, irregular and I wouldn’t know that based on how people talk about it now.

    And I also think it’s very interesting ‘how strongly we reply to what feels like authenticity’ and also how what’s authentic is defined in the first place. It’s probably related to the whole nostalgia business because what we often see as corrupted is what we have around us in the present (‘internet age’, ‘media’, etc.) and in turn we feel that what they had in the past was ‘real’ and ‘uncorrupted’. Don’t even get me started about the future! And that seeps in to how we measure TV shows, people and our lives in general. Nostalgia severely warps how we see things but it’s also very difficult/impossible to keep in check, the sneaky bastard.

    Full disclosure (and case in point), I was born in ’89, but I enjoy playing the part of ‘grumpy youngster who spends too much time with her grandmas and therefore thinks she’s entitled to talk about/feel nostalgia’. Mostly as my ‘shtick’ but it’s still really pathetic and annoying. I’m working on it. *listens to ‘Big Yellow Taxi’*

    ‘Somewhere in between’ looks a lot like ‘(boring) overdrive’. Plus, Setoodeh would be proud.

    • That was anything but boring Wepa (the note about Setoodeh went over my head).
      Translation of ‘Big Yellow Taxi’: When you’ve lost what you had, you can start making up stories about it. Before that parking lot ‘paradise’ was just a nasty thicket. The past is a myth, the future even more so. Authenticity is a sham. Do what you want, and do it today.

      • After thinking about it by the stove I feel like I got carried away just now, though it’s really Wepa’s fault for writing like that. Obviously authenticity is real just like artifice is real, but I think we should be wary of such notions of the authentic that connect it with purity, innocence or resistance to corruption. Authenticity is, I think, not something you preserve, but something you gain by long practice.

        • I don’t appreciate that stove of yours; it made you really hurt my writing’s feelings. Furthermore neither my writing nor myself condone anyone getting carried away like that. ‘Authenticity is a sham’? Madness!

          In all seriousness though, I agree with both your comments, in a way. Some of my ‘point’ was that someone’s paradise is another person’s parking lot, and vice versa. One quote I really like says “authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent”, and it refers to an authenticity that is built over time (like you say) and responds to what resonates to each individual. And although it may be verge on solipsism, it’s a point of view I’m more inclined to agree with and understand. But I also I don’t think any of this makes authenticity a sham; it just makes it dangerously subjective and complicated. Because, you know, even if I’m honest with myself and admit that the paradise I’m making up stories about was really just a thicket, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it was my thicket. And that a thicket that resonates with you may be paradise compared to some parking lot you can even begin to relate to. *listens to ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ while sobbing*

          So yeah, I agree that we have to be careful with the notions associated with authenticity, particularly if nostalgia factors in and especially in certain contexts. At least I think I agree, I’m not even sure of what I’m/we’re talking about anymore. Finally, I think this is appropriate (minus the name calling, obviously).

          • I’m supposed to be writing a paper that sort of touches on this subject, so in a way this thread is not the best material for procrastination. I do want to say though, that you’re right and building up ones own origin (within certain limits and so on) is probably a healthy thing to do. Also all of the things you linked were awesome.

  4. I loved the Betty White episode!!

    Also, I saw Food Inc a few months ago and it is definitely scary! I really would love to sit down a select few people and make them watch it.

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