Saturday Night Live is one of those rare shows that have managed to become a fixture of American pop culture. However, everything has to start out somewhere. In its case, the first episode of Saturday Night Live aired on October 11 of 1975 with George Carlin as the host.
Background-wise, one can make the argument that the show came into existence because of Johnny Carson. In short, said individual wanted NBC to air his reruns on weekdays rather than weekends, thus enabling him to take some time off. However, this required NBC to come up with a replacement, which is why its president Herbert Schlosser and its vice president of late-night programming Dick Ebersol approached Lorne Michaels at the suggestion of Paramount Pictures executive Barry Diller in 1974. Together, they agreed on a kind of variety show that would feature music performances, political satire, and high-concept comedy sketches that would be aimed at 18 to 34-year-old viewers. By 1975, Michaels had managed to gather a cast, which included a number of now well-known names.
Since that time, Saturday Night Live has seen both peaks and troughs in its popularity. However, there can be no doubt about its enormous influence on American pop culture. In considerable part, this is because of the numerous individuals who have managed to make their names on the show before going on to other comedy projects. Something that is still continuing in the present time and could very well continue for quite some time to come.