The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) honoured Saturday Night Live last night with a Special Award to celebrate its influence on television comedy in the UK and around the world. Attendees included Saturday Night Live cast members Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant and Kenan Thompson, Sir Patrick Stewart and Simon Pegg. Select guests were also chauffeured to the event in Cadillac vehicles.
BAFTA presented the award at a private event, in partnership with Cadillac, to Saturday Night Live’s creator and producer Lorne Michaels.
Sir Patrick Stewart said: “It is my absolute pleasure to present this Special Award, celebrating the exceptional achievements of Saturday Night Live. A series that has discovered, nurtured and celebrated generations of comedy talent. So many British shows have been inspired by you.”
Lorne Michaels said: “Thank you so much for this. I’m accepting this award on the behalf of many of the people here. I’m really honoured with this.”
Many tributes have been coming in for the US comedy series on receiving the BAFTA Special Award.
Daniel Radcliffe said: “The cast, writers and crew of Saturday Night Live make it look very easy, but there is an undercurrent of people who mount an entire show from nothing in a week, and that really has an exciting effect when you are watching.”
Tom Hiddleston said: “Saturday Night Live is an iconic show, I am a huge fan, and we all love the show here in the UK, congratulations!”
Tom Davis, actor, writer, and BAFTA Breakthrough Brit 2016, said: “For me, Saturday Night Live has been the biggest inspiration for my whole career. It has brought the best of sketch and satire. It’s the benchmark for everything we do in this industry.”
As one of BAFTA’s highest honours, the Special Award is presented to celebrate exceptional achievement in film, games or television. Recent recipients of the award include Downton Abbey, the Monty Python team and the Harry Potter film franchise.
Saturday Night Live has had a huge influence on British television, with a whole range of British comedy and entertainment inspired by the Saturday Night Live formula.
It has also showcased the best of British talent to US audiences through guest hosts from Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in the first season to Benedict Cumberbatch and Emily Blunt in 2017.
Broadcasting on NBC since 1975, the show has been a launchpad for a host of comedic talents including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Tracy Morgan, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Mike Myers, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers.
For the last few years, Saturday Night Live’s archive of sketches, including all-new material, has been made available to British audiences online, significantly raising the profile of the show in the UK. The show’s satirical sketches have also brought US politics to a worldwide audience.
The event saw past and present cast and crew in attendance at DUMBO House, Soho House’s newest New York outpost located in DUMBO, Brooklyn.