Program Details

Saturday Night Live: The Funny Years (1975-2000) Sketch Comedy at its Best

Al Kustanowitz
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Join OLLI Boca as we walk down memory lane with Al Kustanowitz back to the first 25 years of Saturday Night Live. While for 48 years, SNL has had a major impact on pop culture, critics agree that the first 25 years were by far the funniest and most relevant. The combination of sketch comedy, featured performers, guest hosts, and mock commercials has been a winning formula for creating memorable characters that have become household names. Each lecture in this 4-week series will profile the leading comedians of the time, tracing their routes to the show, watching their auditions and screen tests, and revisiting their most popular characters in action. So come prepared to laugh out loud at the genius of those comedy standouts like Gilda Radner, Eddie Murphy, Martin Short, and Phil Hartman, just to mention a few!


  1. 1975-1980: The Not Ready for Prime-Time Players - Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Laraine Newman, and Bill Murray.
  2. 1980-1985: The Second SNL Generation Arrives - Eddie Murphy as Buckwheat and Mister Robinson, Don Novello as Father Guido Sarducci, Joe Piscopo and Robin Duke as Doug and Wendy Whiner.
  3. 1985-1990: The Third SNL Generation Takes Over - Billy Crystal as Fernando, Martin Short as Nathan Thurm, Ed Grimley, Jeremy Glick, and Jon Lovitz as Hanukkah Harry.
  4. 1990-2000: To the New Millennium - Phil Hartman, Kevin Nealon, Mike Myers, Julia Sweeney, Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Will Farrell, Rachel Dratz, Maya Rudolph, and Tina Fey.

About the Instructor

  • A long-term devotee of Jewish humor, Al Kustanowitz, MBA, has been collecting and sharing it even before there was an internet. In 2009, after a 36-year career at IBM managing new technology projects, Kustanowitz founded Jewish Humor Central (, an internet blog. Through the blog he brings a daily dose of fun and positive energy to readers who would otherwise start the day reading news that is often drab, dreary, and depressing (subscribing is free). He has published 12 books on humor based on his more than 4,000 blog postings, each of which includes a video clip and his commentary. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the City University of New York and taught computer science courses at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.