The World’s Oldest Celebrity Death Pool? Predicting That ‘SNL’ Is Finally Finished
The only thing as enduring and stale as SNL itself is the recurring rumor that the 47-year-old media monolith is somehow on its last legs. While ratings have indeed been on the decline in recent years — Season 48 premiered to a paltry 4 million viewers, down from 8.2 million just two years ago — the show’s detractors have been anticipating its demise since John Belushi was swinging around a katana while spouting Japanese-sounding gibberish.
In the last few days, both former President Donald Trump and standup star Gabriel Iglesias have made their doomsday predictions about the weekly sketch program. Trump believes that the show has been on a steep decline since he last hosted the program in 2015, and Iglesias thinks that the series will be canceled before he will get his own crack at hosting. Though these both feel like self-centered reasons to think that the longest-running sketch show in TV history will meet its end, Trump and Iglesias aren’t alone in thinking that the show may have run its course — Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured cast member in SNL history, also believes that we may reach the credits sooner rather than later.
Unsurprisingly, the best way to get Trump’s attention is to make fun of him on TV — Trump’s SNL doomsaying was inspired by this past episode’s cold open, which lampooned the January 6th hearings and showed the former president sitting on a golden toilet during the riot asking the question, “Is Mike Pence dead yet?”
Yesterday, Trump posted his response on his social media platform Truth Social, and it reads exactly like if you asked an A.I. to write the review. “Once hosted Saturday Night Live, and the ratings were HUUUGE!” Trump wrote. “Now, however, the ratings are lower than ever before, and the show will probably be put to ‘rest.’ It is just not, at these levels, sustainable — A bad show that’s not funny or smart. L.M. is angry and exhausted, the show even more so. It was once good, never great, but now, like the Late Night Losers who have lost their audience but have no idea why, it is over for SNL — A great thing for America!”
Iglesias had a slightly more measured take, but came to a similar conclusion when he was asked by Cinemablend if a SNL hosting gig could be in the near future for the prolific comedian. Iglesias had just sold out Dodger Stadium, the first comedian in history to achieve the feat, for the filming of his Netflix special, Stadium Fluffy. On the topic of SNL, he said, “Oh, that show’s going to be over in a few weeks, trust me. SNL’s not going to be around for much longer. And I don’t think I’m going to get that call. And I’m not trying to start a, ‘hey let’s get Fluffy to host,’ because that’s more forced than anything. I’m okay with it, I’m going to be alright.”
But the most surprising prediction of SNL’s demise didn’t come from a frustrated former president or a spurned potential host. It came from Kenan Thompson, who spoke about the show’s upcoming 50th season on the Comedy Central show Hell of a Week with Charlamagne Tha God. When asked about the rumor that the show will stop at 50 seasons, Thompson simply replied, “Fifty is a good number to stop at … there could be a lot of validity to that rumor.”
Lorne Michaels has publicly committed to seeing SNL through to its 50th season, but it seems to be growing increasingly likely that the founder and showrunner will depart once he hits a half century with the program. While life after Lorne is certainly possible, it’s in no way guaranteed that NBC will continue to run the show after its godfather retires.
That will be a sad day for many. But hey, at least the tired game of predicting SNL's impending death will meet its demise, too.