It's been a big year for Saturday Night Live. Between commemorative photo books and that three-plus-hour-long anniversary special back in February, the legendary sketch comedy show seems intent on turning its 40th birthday into a year-long celebration. And now, with the cooperation of Premier Exhibitions Fifth Avenue, fans of the show can get up close and personal with some of the show's most recognizable sets, props, and faces from the past four decades at "Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition."
The exhibition, which opens to the public on May 30th, is the first full-scale exhibit of its kind in SNL history. In addition to some of the show's famous sets (including Wayne and Garth's beloved basement/public access sound stage), original props (like Dan Akyroyd's Conehead), rarely seen photographs, and video presentations will be among the many SNL artifacts on display, each of which gives unique insight into the fast-paced creative process that's been happening at Studio 8H for four decades now.
Shortly before the exhibition's premiere, we got a sneak peek into some of the coolest items on display, 10 of which we're sharing below.
1. FROM THE DESK OF LORNE MICHAELS
Comedy history—and careers—have been made and crushed from behind the desk of SNL's head honcho, Lorne Michaels.
2. WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
Even the most casual SNL watchers know what to expect when you're given a homemade gift that requires just three steps, the first one being: cut a hole in a box.
3. LANDSHARKS AND GAME SHOWS
At first glance, this looks simply like the stage is set for yet another Alex Trebek versus Burt Reynolds and/or Sean Connery game of Jeopardy! But look a little closer and you'll see a much beloved guest star in the audience: Land shark!
4. DISEMBODIED CONEHEADS
Even when it's not attached to a body, a Conehead is an impressively tall noggin indeed.
5. SOMEWHERE IN AURORA
The dream of hopping onto Wayne and Garth's couch and shouting "Party on!" is real.
6. BUH-WEET SINGS
"Wookin' Pa Nub." "Fee Tines A Mady." The outfits of the man who sold more records than Elvis or the Beatles—in Kenya—are here.
7. STARTER HOME
The main stage used to look a lot different. It looked like this!
8. OF BELUSHI AND BEE SUITS
What was intended as a one-off sketch turned into a recurring one when network executives tried to put the kibosh on The Bees. Which only encouraged Lorne Michaels to keep 'em coming.
9. LIVE FROM NEW YORK…
The SNL stage as we know it today.
10. WALL OF FAME
Cast your eyes on the cast wall. That's a whole lot of funny.
All photos courtesy Premier Exhibitions Fifth Avenue