On a recent gray New York afternoon, the staff of ”Saturday Night Live”’s ”Weekend Update” is getting down to the business of being ridiculous. In the Rockefeller Center writers’ room 40 pages of jokes are spread out across a large conference table. ”Update” cohosts Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon survey the patchwork of hilarity looking for stuff to cut, while simultaneously facing pressing challenges: How best to lampoon Liza Minnelli’s nuptials? Will the NBC censors allow them to say ”balls” in a punchline? Is the joke about the postal worker who threw porcupine feces at his coworkers too dated?
”Not since Chevy has anybody been as playful with [‘Update’] as they have,” says ”SNL” exec producer Lorne Michaels. ”It’s something you really look forward to in the show now.” (Indeed, ”SNL”’s ratings typically spike between midnight and 12:15, when ”Update” traditionally airs.) ”They’ve made it into a mini-event in the middle of the show,” says Colin Quinn, Fallon and Fey’s predecessor. ”They’re like Sonny and Cher with content.”