LOS ANGELES -- Beginning in September, Yahoo! will become the exclusive online home of Saturday Night Live's massive 38-year archive of shows. That's roughly 742 episodes, not including the promised additions of behind-the-scenes clips, rehearsal video and selected live musical performances.
For those with any kind of interest in SNL's comedy legacy, who want to dip into its archives but have no idea where to begin, the prospect of all 38 years online can be a daunting one. There are so many ways into the show. Follow your favourite performer? Learn all about the original cast? Or what about the casts from the show's less-successful years, when Lorne Michaels was not at the helm?
While there are dozens of ways to approach the SNL backlog, one possible way in is to only watch the best stuff, as determined by the voting members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Over the course of SNL's decades on the air, it has picked up 36 prime-time Emmy awards in various categories, including outstanding comedy, music or variety series and outstanding guest actor and actress in a comedy series.
With the Emmy award in mind, here are some noteworthy episodes to cull from the massive online herd:
- SNL's first Emmys: Won for the writing on the Jan. 10, 1976, episode hosted by Elliot Gould. This episode is also notable as Lorne Michaels' first appearance on the show he helped create. Chevy Chase picked up one for performance by a supporting actor in a variety or music series for the Jan. 17 show hosted by Buck Henry. Show director Dave Wilson won a directing award for his work on the Oct. 18, 1975, episode hosted by Paul Simon. And Lorne Michaels picked up one for producing the outstanding comedy-variety or music series of 1975-76.
- SNL's only other individual performance winner: Chevy Chase was the show's first star, and solidified that rep with an individual Emmy win in 1976. But of all the other stars the show helped create, Gilda Radner is the only other one to be singled out. She picked up an individual performance Emmy for her work during the show's third season.
- Betty White's triumph: An online movement to get Betty White to host SNL resulted in the show's second Emmy win in the category of guest actress in a comedy series. The White-hosted episode aired May 8, 2010. (Tina Fey won the category first, but it was for playing Gov. Sarah Palin in a prime-time special in 2008.)
- Justin Timberlake can't lose: The song-and-dance man proved his talent with comedy by hosting SNL five times, beginning in 2003. Two of his hosting jobs, on May 9, 2009, and May 21, 2011, won Emmys for performance by a guest actor in a comedy series.
- More Timberlake: Timberlake also won Emmys for outstanding original music and lyrics for his Dec. 16, 2006, performance of "Dick in a Box" alongside Andy Samberg. Timberlake's musical monologue from the 2011 episode also won this award.
-- Los Angeles Times