Is Saturday Night Live Really Broadcasts Live? – Know Here!

Saturday Night Live Cast

Since 1975, Saturday Night Live has been entertaining us every Saturday at 11.30 P.M. The 48th season of SNL was released in the month of October 2022, and even this season, following the classic format with an appealing set cast and hosts, Saturday Night Live is winning viewers’ hearts.

Saturday Night Live is majorly known for its sketch comedies, and it has a fantastic cast that performs sketches for only 5-10 minutes at a time. SNL is renowned for presenting top-notch musical performances by well-known singers who keep viewers entertained late at night.

People who are admirers of SNL and never miss any Saturday night to watch their favorite sketch comedy and variety show often get curious if the show is performed live or if it is pre-taped.

So, read till the end to know how SNL delivers an outstanding sketch comedy show every Saturday night to the fans.

Saturday Night Live – Preparation For The Big Night

A lot of planning is required to make Saturday Night Live a huge success. The cast does not suddenly appear and perform on stage, but they need a whole week to decide the skits, the format, the musical performances, and the arrangement of the sets.

Every Saturday, fans get to see outstanding sketches performed by the meticulous cast and the appealing hosts who are responsible for arranging the skits and performances for ninety minutes.

On Monday, the cast, writers, performers, and hosts meet to pitch and toss numerous ideas. They decide upon what to be done in the next Saturday Live and understand the strengths and weaknesses of each cast member.

Accordingly, the roles get distributed, and on Tuesday, writers start working on the ideas put forward by everyone and start developing the script for the selected skits.

Saturday Night Live Weekly Preparations
Saturday Night Live Weekly Preparations – Set Building

Wednesday becomes a crucial day for all the key people associated with the next Saturday Night Live. They come together to read the skit, arrange music and solve issues, if any. Once everything is properly fixed on Wednesday, on Thursday, the set building begins. Cast also starts practicing on skits and arranges the costumes and other essentials.

On Friday, cast members and other key people give a final touch to the skits, rehearse very well and become ready to perform on Saturday night.

Saturday Night Live – Standard Format

Saturday Night Live follows a standard format in which 90 minutes of entertainment happens. The format is fixed, but depending on the hosts, it may change. The whole 90 minutes of the show include monologues, sketches, musical shows, and weekend updates. The show is also interrupted by commercial breaks in between.

Usually, SNL starts with a cold open to deliver current/public affairs information, followed by a monologue delivered by the prominent hosts in which they talk about their work or whatever may seem ideal to them.

After the commercial break, sketch performances begin, followed by a music performance and weekend update. After the weekend update, SNL enters into the second tier, in which again some sketches are performed, and before the conclusion of the show, viewers get to enjoy the second-tier musical performance.

Saturday Night Live celebrity guest schedule
Saturday Night Live (2018) celebrity guest schedule preparations (Source – Twitter)

Sometimes, commercial breaks are replaced by digital shorts, and even monologues are replaced by sketches. But this does not always happen, and it depends upon the hosts of the show and other circumstances.

Saturday Night Live’s  Performances – Pre-Taped or Live?

The viewers of Saturday Night Live, who have been watching the show for a long, sometimes get curious if the show is really going live or if the performances are pre-taped and then aired on screen.

Some of the constant viewers of Saturday Night Live have been questioning the credibility of the show nowadays. According to the viewers, there are some differences between the live skits performed on the show in earlier episodes from the 1990s and those currently airing.

However, it is noteworthy to know that most of the performances are still performed live to maintain the authenticity of the show. Sometimes, it may happen that fans may watch pre-taped performances; however, it totally depends on the unforeseen circumstances that emerge all of a sudden.

SNL Pretaped Episode
SNL Pre-taped Episode with Tom Hanks (Source – CNN Business & NBC)

For Instance, During the crisis of Covid 19, when there were restrictions on people gathering, SNL showed pre-taped sketches and featured Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, Kenan Thompson, and Tina Hey. The reason behind airing the pre-taped skits is some of the cast members of the show tested covid positive.

Additionally, there are times when a broadcast delay may occur, delaying the airing by no more than 15 minutes. Hence, considering the situations that sometimes the members associated with the show face,  fans may have to watch the pre-taped sketches and performances in Saturday Night Live.

But Performers and all other key members work extremely hard for a whole week to provide fans with watch worthy comedy experience, and the same they deliver on-screen at 11.30 on the local American television channel, NBC.

Hi there, I am Elizabeth. I am an enthusiastic social worker and dancer. I recently graduated and have a huge interest in digital marketing and content writing. I love listening to music, and watching series and dramas; especially k-drama and kpop. I enjoy learning new languages as well.