Saturday Night Live kicked off their new season this week. And as they do in election years, they struck gold with the majority of their skits. They opened up by parodying the most recent presidential debate. Honestly, as I read somewhere else in the week, I didn't know how they were going to bring comedy to something that was already so comedic...and sad at the same time. I won't use this blog to comment much on politics, but goodness. That debate was something.
In any case, the parodied debate was excellent. It captured the basic essence of the actual debate, and found ways to accentuate the already built in comedy. Also, as in other election years, they stepped their game up on other skits. The Family Feud skit comes to mind, where no one was safe. The character playing Chris Christie who managed to constantly make accidental bridge references, to Bill Clinton...well, being Bill Clinton. The Weekend Update, which is normally my favorite part, could have been better. However I do like The Weekend Update within the Weekend Update. Overall a very nicely done show.
Which led me to wonder; how does a show that is mediocre at best, manage to stay on the air for so long? If you watch SNL when it is not political season, you'd be lucky to find one whole skit that actually makes you laugh. It helps to watch it with people, as company does create a more suitable environment for laughter. However, on a whole I don't have much use for SNL. I still give it a shot because I'm old. In other words, I'm not out at the club/bar at 11:30 on Saturday nights any longer, and unless I'm searching for a Dateline to watch, SNL is it. Sure, there's Netflix, the internet, and sleep to be had, but SNL usually wins out.
Maybe there are a lot of people like me who "hate watch," or maybe it really does have a following. I just don't see younger people finding an appeal, and older people will always compare it to what it used to be. Mind you, I'm not one of those old schoolers. I actually was never a big SNL watcher in what would be considered "my time." It's just something that caught my attention around the 2008 election.
My HR Guy Interpretation
Know your lane, and stay in it!! Well, not exactly. SNL manages to do a few things well, and they leverage it every moment they can. By knowing their lane (election season), and capitalizing on it, they make themselves relevant every few years. Relevant enough to get new interest (see how they got me), and to maintain that interest just long enough. Then there are people who only watch when it's election season. People who actually look forward to it. As an employee, you need to know your lane (your strengths). You should be very aware of what people count on you for, and deliver on it every time.
That's not to say that you cannot be a jack of all trades, but it's important to have at least one that you master. Likely the thing that comes most natural to you. And make sure that skill (strength) evolves as time does. If your skill is computers, make sure you are up to date on all new technologies. If you can sell ice to a penguin, make sure you know all sales techniques inside and out. Make sure, when someone thinks of that dominant skill, they think of you. If that skills doesn't have value, find one that does, and own it.
Now for the "not exactly" comment. It's important to be well rounded. SNL makes attempts at broadening what it's good at (digital shorts, for example, was a nice experiment). They do just enough of that other stuff to actually have value. If you focus on that one dominant skill, and truly are horrible at anything else, your employer will find someone satisfactory at your skill, and equally skilled in other areas, and you'll be out of a job. If SNL only did well during elections, another skit show would have long taken its place.
Once you know your lane, and continue to perfect it, find someone who excels in another lane. Ask for coaching on how to increase the skill the excel in. Once you've gotten to an acceptable skill level, add another skill. Make sure to find time to utilize the skills from time to time, or you will forget them. And continue to crush your skill area.