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Saturday Night Live (#110 of 53)

Chris Rock, Prince, & the State of Saturday Night Live

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Chris Rock, Prince, & the State of <em>Saturday Night Live</em>
Chris Rock, Prince, & the State of <em>Saturday Night Live</em>

Something intriguing seems to be happening to Saturday Night Live. There’s no denying that the departures of Fred Armisen, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, and Seth Meyers have overall drastically muted the show’s comedic palette, throwing it into a transitional funk. You’d think that booking names like Jim Carrey, Woody Harrelson, and Cameron Diaz to do some of the heavy lifting would help ease new cast members and writers into viewers’ minds. Instead, these recent episodes have felt mostly constrained by a soberness that’s prevented the 40th season of the program from finding its rhythm. But then it was announced that former cast member Chris Rock would return for the first time since leaving SNL to host the November 1st episode, with Prince as musical guest, what unfolded was one the show’s most engrossing episodes in a very long time, turning this transitional phase into a spectacle of its own.

10 Ridiculous GIFs of Lady Gaga Performing Live

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10 Ridiculous GIFs of Lady Gaga Performing Live
10 Ridiculous GIFs of Lady Gaga Performing Live

Earlier this week, MTV posted an oddly optimistic take on the underwhelming performance of Lady Gaga’s new album, Artpop, which, though it debuted at #1 with a respectable 258,000 copies, not only scanned 75% less than 2011’s Born This Way did in its first week, but posted smaller opening numbers than both Katy Perry’s Prism and Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz. Writing for MTV, which has little business reporting on music these days to begin with, Gil Kaufman rightly suggests that touring is where the real money is in 2013, but claims that Gaga is “a born performer with a killer stage show” and is “capable of selling out arenas across the globe.” It remains to be seen whether Gaga is the global touring juggernaut Kaufman and others claim: The Born This Way Ball did well in most markets, but tickets sold for half price in South America, and the then-26-year-old was forced to cash in her insurance policy in February and cancel the remaining 21 shows of the tour reportedly due to a hip injury.