Posted: 11/19/2009


Gilda Live


by Laura Tucker

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My teenaged kids are fans of today’s Saturday Night Live, but since I was their age when the show first came out, they obviously hadn’t been introduced to it in its first few years. To me, as much as I love many of the casts throughout SNL’s thirty plus years on the air, they will never measure up to those original Not Ready for Primetime Players. It seems like the one with the most interesting characters was Gilda Radner, and with this recently released DVD, we get the chance to relive those characters all over again.

They’re all here on Gilda Live, Rosanne Rosannadanna, Nadia Comaneci, Emily Litela, Lisa Loopner, Judy Miller. Gilda puts on a ninety-minute stage show, throwing all her favorite characters into the mix, along with a few new ones, and plenty of musical numbers. And with each new character, we get a complete costume and wig change. They kept that girl running! And tapping. She even does a tap number which is supposed to be an early audition for her.

This isn’t to say there’s a lot of downtime in this performance DVD, as there isn’t. Interspersed between the bits with Gilda we have bits with Father Guido Sarducci (Don Novello). Along with everyone else, I always liked Father Guido, but there’s an awful lot of him here, a handful of bits. It’s enough that I have my Father Guidio Sarducci fill for quite awhile. In addition to him we also have Paul Shaffer in his pre-Letterman days. He looked so young and appeared without glasses through some of it, so it took me a few minutes to place him … until he started talking. That voice is unmistakable.

Basically, I just wanted to get through the Guido bits to make it to more Gilda. It was great to see all those characters again, and the humor holds up. It wasn’t one of those situations where you think, “Wow, I can’t believe we used to consider this good.” It’s also something my kids were willing to sit through, despite the fact these weren’t characters they were used to from the present seasons of SNL or an actor they knew from a post-SNL career like Adam Sandler or Tina Fey.

It’s hard to believe Gilda passed away twenty years ago and that these characters were created more than thirty years ago. Nonetheless, this DVD helps keep her memory and all the fun alive.

Gilda Live is currently out on DVD.

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack, and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, and is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints. She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at

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