Because it’s 11:30

Saturday Night Live celebrated its 40 years on the air last night. As we all know, SNL has launched the careers of many now famous stars and created dozens, if not hundreds, of iconic moments. Its catch-phrases are legendary and the program’s effect on popular culture is hard to exaggerate.

At the same time, any regular viewer is well aware of the flubbed lines, missed cues and the outright lameness of an occasional entire episode. Casting decisions seem to range from inspired to “who was asleep at that audition?” For every genius sketch there is at least one “what the heck were they thinking when they wrote that?” moment.

I can only imagine the thousands of times that cast members, writers, producers and the director must have desperately wished for additional time to re-write something or do a few more rehearsals.

But as SNL founder and long-time producer Lorne Michaels has said: “The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready. The show goes on because it’s 11:30.”

SNL has brought us many incredible moments of entertainment, but it also teaches us some great lessons as well…

. . . to start before we are ready

. . . to err on the side of putting our art out into the world

. . . to realize that ‘this might fail’ and do it anyway

. . . to appreciate the power of the deadline

. . . to accept that sometimes the strangest idea can be the most powerful

. . . to ship, on time and often.

Now isn’t that special?

It’s 11:30. Let’s get out on that stage.

One thought on “Because it’s 11:30

  1. S.

    This is akin to the observation in the Robert Townsend book Up the Organization where he compared companies to battleships. It is easier to shift directions of a moving ship, rather than trying to shift a ship that isn’t underway.

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