tv marathons

VH1 Classic Wants You to Binge on 40 Years of Saturday Night Live

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 20 -- Pictured: (l-r) Bill Murray as Nick The Lounge Singer, Laraine Newman as Elenor Posniak, Buck Henry as Richard Posniak during the
Photo: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

The best way to celebrate Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary, according to VH1 Classic, is to just hunker down and binge-watch a ton of it. The network will re-air, in reverse order, 19 days of back-to-back SNL from January 28 to February 15, ending with the sketch comedy show’s very first episode. The 433-hour megamarathon is purportedly the longest for a single series of TV ever and will wrap leading up to NBC’s own three-hour SNL special on February 15 at 8 p.m.

Given the massive amount of gems in the SNL treasure trove, the network is not showing every single episode, but it is showing what it deems to be its curated list of “cultural juggernauts.” Because parties are obviously best when they’re themed, VH1 Classic will mix up some of its programming with blocks devoted to specific hosts, skits, and musical guests:

  • January 31 (4 p.m. to 10 p.m.): Justin Timberlake
  • February 3 (6 a.m. to 2 p.m.): Pop artists: Christina Aguilera, Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, John Mayer, Pink, Britney Spears, Usher
  • February 6 (2:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.): Alumni-cum-hosts: Dana Carvey, Chevy Chase, Phil Hartman, Mike Myers, Martin Short
  • February 7 (noon to 10 p.m.): Remembering Chris Farley
  • February 8 (1 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.): Wayne’s World
  • February 11 (9:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.): Eddie Murphy
  • February 14 (2:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.): Steve Martin

During every Saturday of the megamarathon, VH1 Classic also has plans to take a breather from the SNL bender and instead show flicks starring alumni:

  • January 31 (10 p.m.): Macgruber
  • February 7 (10 p.m.): Trading Places
  • February 14 (10 p.m.): The Blues Brothers

The reason for the creative scheduling is that some material was too difficult to re-clear for broadcast, thanks to intellectual-property snafus. A VH1 Classic programming exec told Variety that some episodes will even air with specific sketches or performances missing for the same reason. But hey, don’t worry, VH1, this is an elegant sufficiency.

VH1 Classic Wants You to Binge 40 Years of SNL