Saturday Night Live

Common Sense Media says

Legendary late-night show funny for teens and up.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 
Emmy

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This show is all about satire and parody -- so plenty of iffy behavior appears, but usually within the context of making fun of it.

Positive role models

Role models are mercilessly mocked, and some sexual and racial stereotypes appear, which may offend some viewers (though the goal is always laughs).

Violence

No major violence. Occasional pretend hitting or kicking, but only in an exaggerated, funny way.

Sex

Some obviously simulated sex, provocative outfits, lots of sexual banter and innuendo.

Language

Lots of sexual language and humor. Plenty of mild cursing ("bitch," "hell," "damn," etc.). Lots of plays on words with sexual/racial themes.

Consumerism

Hosts promote their movies, TV shows, or albums; musical guests promote their albums.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Discussion of and simulated use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco within comedy sketches. Not a major part of the show.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that much of this sketch show's sexual, political, and racial humor may be too mature for some kids -- but it could also fly right over their head. Stereotypes abound, from ditzy girls to angry black men, and they're treated with differing levels of social critique -- some shallow, some deeper. Due to the show's live nature, occasional curse words or other unplanned activity occurs (such as when Sinead O'Connor ripped up a photograph of the Pope on air). Many parents may remember their own experiences with SNL growing up and should know that, if anything, the show is tamer now than it was in its early years.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

For over 30 years, NBC's SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE has been broadcasting comedy sketches and musical performances from Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center. Some of today's veteran comedians started on the show -- Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase -- and it's where a number of contemporary comedy movie stars also got their first big break, including Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, and Will Ferrell. Sketches often parody timely events, politics, and celebrities, providing an astute form of social commentary.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Over the years, the quality of the show has varied, both from season to season and from episode to episode. But for the most part, SNL has been a place to see solid, live comedy with a broad, mature appeal. Other similar shows may have topped it comedically (In Living Color, The Kids in the Hall), but none have endured the test of time to become a living institution like SNL

In the late '90s and 2000s, Tina Fey's smart, biting delivery as the co-host of the long-standing news parody segment "Weekend Update" became a highlight of the show. Her role as both performer and head writer for SNL marked a shift from the 1990s, when series creator Lorne Michaels was under fire for a lack of a female voice on the show. Musical guests, who usually play two live songs during the course of the show, are also top-rate and diverse, ranging from Paul Simon to Britney Spears.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the show's characters -- especially those based on stereotypes -- to ensure that teens understand the layers of comedy. What makes something funny?

  • What is the purpose of satire in our culture? How do you feel when someone you admire is being made fun of -- like a politician or celebrity? What would our culture be like if we weren't allowed to mock authority figures and role models?

TV details

Cast:Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, Kristen Wiig
Network:NBC
Genre:Variety Show
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming
Award:Emmy

This review of Saturday Night Live was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old October 22, 2010
AGE
11
QUALITY
 
I adore the show, but I must say, it is a little inappropriate.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written byRVBDMD January 1, 2014
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

If you want you kids to know what's going on in the world, let them watch this show

I have been watching this show since it began in 1975. I think SNL is at its best when it reflects the present condition of the American Pop cultural landscape. The fact is, the show is firmly entrenched in the collective mindset of North America. Those who do not "get" the humor shows a complete disconnect from the world we live in. The humor is rarely mean- spirited. The talent of the cast is truly impressive. My 11 1/2 year old son stays up with me every week to watch and usually falls asleep around 12:30. He's been watching since he was 9ish. Some of the more sexually suggestive skits go way over his head, but he gets a good laugh out of most of the bits. I feel he is a better informed child by watching this show. I am aways by his side to explain certain skits, which I feel is important for a sub 15 year old.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Written byAnonymous December 7, 2012
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Why TV-14 like R and TV-MA like NC-17 Because they are.

I Watch it. No one Under 14 Should see it. 14, 15, 16, and 17 is iffy and on for 18 & Up.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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