If you were born in the 60’s, like me, you have probably watched Saturday Night Live since it aired in 1975. Maybe you haven’t watched every episode of every season for the last 43 years, or maybe you have, and you are my new hero. Especially if you stayed with it during the 1980-81 and 1985-86 seasons.
So, when I came across a link about an SNL exhibit in the city, I had to check it out. The show memorabilia is currently on display at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. It runs through December 31, 2018 and tickets are $25.00. This price also gets you access to the 3rd floor (see description below).
“The SNL exhibit is a 500 artifact, self-guided exhibit that takes you through the six-day creative process on how the show is produced and ready to go on air by Saturday night. It is an immersive experience with much to read, watch and interact. On average, it takes about 1.5 – 2 hours to get through SNL:The Experience, but admission also grants you access to the museum’s 3rd floor television gallery. Avid museum goers will find themselves spending at least 2-3 hours with us.”
There were TVs in a couple of the rooms and, thankfully, they were playing old show content on a pretty short loop. Otherwise, you would have to deal with people like me who could stand there all day watching old clips of the show. The sets were really cool too. You could take pictures on a Jeopardy! set, the basement from Wayne’s World, and the Weekend Update desk. They also had costumes and other memorabilia scattered throughout the exhibit.
The 3rd floor is the museum’s regular attraction. With artifacts from B.J. & Dirty Dragon, Ray Rayner, and the Bozo Show, it was a step-back-in-time visit to my childhood. I mean, who didn’t have a Cuddly Duddly stuffed dog? Spoiler alert: ME. But my husband did 😊. We didn’t spend as much time on this floor but it was worth stopping on. And it was included in your ticket, so why not?
One great thing about this museum is there is cheap parking right across the street. The cost is $9.00 (if you use the promo code) for 6 hours. STOP! Go back and read that again. Nine dollars for downtown Chicago parking. For SIX HOURS. So, if going downtown just for the museum is not appealing, you now have 3-4 extra hours to fit in other fun stuff. Plan your trip to include lunch or dinner. If it’s a nice day, explore the Riverwalk. Or better yet, schedule a boat tour since you are right near the river. There are so many options.
One final note: If you love SNL, and also like to read, I highly recommend finding Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by Its Stars, Writers, and Guests by James Andrew Miller on Amazon or at your local library. It is a behind-the-scenes history of the show with commentary/stories from writers, cast members, and hosts. Full disclosure: this clocks in at 800 pages. The nice thing about this book is that you can put it down for a short time and pick up where you left off without having to go back and re-familiarize yourself with plots and characters.