Live from… where?!? It’s Saturday night!
As 'Saturday Night Live' celebrates its 40th anniversary, we take a look at its international adaptations.
A dizzying array of stars came out to celebrate the 40th anniversary of "Saturday Night Live," a three-and-a-half-hour bonanza that reunited the storied cast. With cameos from veterans (Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy) to those from the recent past (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph), the special episode reminded viewers of the show's iconic status.
The sketch show – known for a mix of silliness and satire – has been copied in many countries across the globe. Imitation, it seems, is the highest form of flattery. Below, we've rounded up five international editions that have tried to live up to the original to varying degrees of success.
A relative newcomer to the late-night airwaves, "SNL Quebec" has the official imprimatur of Lorne Michaels, the legendary creator of "Saturday Night Live." Indeed the show, broadcast monthly, borrows heavily from the sketches of its American counterpart – but with a French twist. The two shows share even more DNA, as many of the stars of the American version are of Canadian origin, including Martin Short, Mike Myers and Lorne Michaels himself.
Launched in 2003, "A Wonderful Land" is what would happen if you mated "Saturday Night Live" with "The Daily Show." In a recent poll of Israelis about their favorite local comedians, the top seven spots all went to cast members of the show. "A Wonderful Land" twice received the “Best Entertainment Program” award from the Israeli Television Academy and is often ranked as one of the most-watched shows in the entire country.
"RTL Samstag Nacht" was a popular 1990s show inspired by "Saturday Night Live." Although it only lasted a few seasons, the show served as a springboard for TV comedy in the country. As well, some of its stars have found success in other venues. Comedian Olli Dittrich joined Texas Lightning, a German quintet that specializes in American country and pop music.
"Saturday Night Live JPN" was another official adaptation of the American show, which had the blessing of Lorne Michael. Featuring local comedians and big-name guest stars, the show debuted in the summer of 2011 to much fanfare. Alas, the series only lasted for six months.
Unlike some other international adaptations, "Saturday Night Live Korea" is alive and well. The popular show – which just began its sixth season – features original skits, a news segment inspired by Weekend Update, and viral "digital shorts" like its American counterpart. The series has a musical guest for each episode, and once included a performance by U.S.-based singer Jason Mraz.
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