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Hot Docs 2015 Review: Live from New York!

Perhaps the greatest concern for Live from New York! is that the SNL 40 special from earlier this year covered much of the same ground.

And yet Bao Nguyen’s film still manages to forge a new perspective on the venerable NBC institution, and the best part of the film is that it carries a great crossover appeal to hardcore fans of the shows, but also to relative SNL newbies.

Nguyen keeps the action very tight, and it is quite surprising how great the film looks, as the show seems to be infused with a new colour palette, and is incredibly vibrant. Perhaps the film focuses a little bit too much on the original cast of the seventies, and on the current cast, (the middle section gets relatively short shrift, aside from some fascinating tidbits revealed by, of all people, Julia Louis-Dreyfus). Does one even remember her contributions to the show?

The expected subjects are explored, (gender disparity, reactions to 9/11, Lorne Michaels, where the show goes from here), and an extended section focusing on Andy Samberg promotes the importance of digital shorts, and though the film has the feeling of missing some of the greats, Adam Sandler, Kristen Wiig, Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers and more are MIA), there are enough familiar faces and revealing anecdotes to propel the film to being ready for prime time.

[star v=35]