Comedy is Top Heavy

This past weekend we were graced by the presence of Maya Rudolph and Darrell Hammond on SNL. And is that a good thing or a bad thing?


While it’s great that those people come back to reprise their characters and use their prodigious talents again (and maybe, just maybe surreptitiously plug their upcoming movie), couldn’t those parts have been played by some of the newer cast members? Who knows? Maybe Taran Killam does a great Trump impression. We don’t know because an alumni came back to play the part. The trouble with having that fail-safe of constantly returning alumni is that newer players may not get the chance to get in the show. You chose those people for reason… give em a chance, coach!

Chicago improv suffers from the same problem. Years ago, people would eventually move to one of the coasts or just give up on the Improv World. Not so today. People stay and stay. Hell, I’ve been living in ChicagoImprov for sixteen years. (really? wow.) It’s a double-edged sword; (allegedly) better, more experienced players sticking around and doing great shows vs. clearing the top so newer players get more opportunities to perform. Also, in the past when people were hired (even as an understudy) for Second City, they retired from their improv teams making more room for incoming students. 
Of course, time has changed. There are more stages and more timeslots for people to improvise. Who can blame people who can (practically) guarantee a great show for doing more shows? And who can blame new players from wanting to play more? Personally, I like seeing new people create new and interesting things and sometimes “veteran” gets mistranslated into “good.” 
Or maybe we should just call Darrell back

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