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Behind the Scenes of SNL’s Opening Montage

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Kenan Thompson as Black Santa Claus, Alec Baldwin, host Casey Affleck, and John Goodman during the monologue on December 17, 2016 (Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Kenan Thompson as Black Santa Claus, Alec Baldwin, host Casey Affleck, and John Goodman during the monologue on December 17, 2016 (Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

 

Late-night comedy staple Saturday Night Live might give viewers the illusion that its episodes are being filmed on multiple sets and stages in a TV studio. But this behind-the-scenes clip shows just the opposite.

In reality, Studio 8H, where the show is filmed, is quite small, so the show’s producers have to be highly creative on the go. To overcome the limited space, SNL‘s producers use the same space (i.e. “home base”) for the cold open and opening monologue.

That means the two-minute opening montage, when the staff credits roll and the episode’s guests are announced, is 120 seconds of pure logistical madness as the set designers and supporting crew transform “home base” back into its original form. The result is something closer to watching a Nascar pit crew rather than a set change on a sketch comedy show.

Here’s an example of what happened during SNL‘s most recent episode hosted by Casey Affleck. Watch as SNL Director Don Roy King and Associate Director Michael Machini coordinate the set change from their control room.

 

RealClearLife Staff