The ongoing fascination with the mechanics of comedy gets plenty of time at this year’s Tribeca, with Misery Loves Comedy (Kevin Pollak’s exploration of the comedic psyche), Roseanne for President! (Roseanne Barr’s exploration of the comedic psyche that undertakes a quixotic run for the nation’s highest office), a Monty Python concert film, and a Saturday Night Live documentary celebrating the show’s fortieth anniversary.
That documentary, Live from New York, opened the festival last week and shows again on Friday as part of the festival’s day of free screening. At the outset, it seems wholly unnecessary, coming as it does on the heels of not just the show’s official fortieth anniversary blowout in February but decades of specials, books (including a recently updated Tom Shales oral-history book that shares its name with the new doc), and other documentaries, including several NBC-produced retrospectives and a James Franco-directed behind-the-scenes film that played some festivals a few years ago but never managed the real theatrical release that Live from New York is getting in June.
Even I, a Saturday Night Live diehard with a small library of books written by former stars of the show, wondered what director Bao Nguyen could have to say about this over-memorialized institution.