May 222014
 

Was Fear‘s 1981 performance on Saturday Night Live the first example of the Made for TV Pit Audience phenomenon, which has become de rigueur for VH1 spectacles, the Super Bowl halftime show, and the like? You know what I mean by Made for TV Pit Audience, right? It’s the elite group of “insiders” of an artist’s fanbase who are strategically encouraged to rush the otherwise guarded pit area so they can show the rest of us how the featured artist truly deserves to be admired and adored.
I suspect something’s missing in the story of this “anarchic” Fear performance on SNL. The hardcore kids slam dancing and stage diving didn’t just happen to get tickets to that night’s performance, did they? They didn’t just happen to be standing at a cleared-out spot at the foot of the stage. They were audience props. They were actually the reason for booking Fear, despite whatever story has long been told about Belushi wanting them on, which may in itself have been true. Fear’s appearance on SNL would have added up to nothing without those hardcore kids placed in the pit to show the rest of America how it was done.
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May 162012
 

You probably know that Mick Jagger is hosting this week’s May 19 season finale of Saturday Night Live. Yes, he’s hosting—certainly doing a mumbling, aw shucks monologue complete with those twinkling forever-young eyes and numerous runs of his fingers through that still-luxurious hair, certainly appearing in skits and possibly being funny on occasion. Can we expect much in terms of blowing us away with his comedic acting chops? He’s had a few cracks at an acting career with little success over the years. I guess he’ll play music, too, although Keef says he’s not going to make a guest appearance with his old Glimmer Twin. We’ll see.

Jagger’s going to have to work hard to top Paul McCartney’s appearances in skits on SNL and elsewhere. Considering he was the worst actor in the Beatles’ movies, Paul’s become pretty funny in his advanced age. You know Mick’s gonna be gunning for Paul’s title as Rock’s Funniest Living Legend. He goes way back with the SNL crew, but he’s never hosted. Paul’s been on the show a number of times and killed in skits, but Mick is the first of these living legends to be billed as “host.” I bet he’s psyched.

You know Keef couldn’t care less about holding the title of SNL host or Rock’s Funniest Living Legend. Pete Townshend would be too weird to ever work in American sketch comedy. Can you imagine Bob Dylan vying for the spot? He might be the funniest rocker ever to appear on SNL, but you wouldn’t be able to tell.

Like McCartney, Jagger’s still “in the game”—at least as far as he’s concerned. Mick’s fit and trim. His hair refuses to turn gray. He’s probably hipper than any of our dads. Mick and Paul are the self-perceived Last Men Standing among 1960s pop stars. These days, who’s cooler: modern-day McCartney or modern-day Jagger?

SHOWDOWN (choose one): modern-day McCartney or modern-day Jagger?

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