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SNL Around the World

May 16, 2017

Saturday Night Live is drawing some of its biggest ratings of its 40-year-plus history, thanks in part to stars like Kate McKinnon, and Alec Baldwin’s impression of President Donald Trump. But SNL isn’t just an American phenomenon—the show’s format has been exported to other countries.
Saturday Night Live

  • In 2014, SNL came to French-speaking Canada in the form of SNL Quebec. The specials were part French translations of classic SNL sketches (such as “Debbie Downer”) and new pieces written for French Canadian audiences. Network Tele-Quebec canceled after two specials and eight regular episodes due to budget cuts, but a rival network hired the show’s writers and cast for a very similar sketch comedy show called Le Nouveau Show, or “The New Show”. (Ironically, SNL creator Lorne Michaels left the series for a few years in the ‘80s, and he helmed a short-lived sketch comedy series called…The New Show.)

  • SNL Spain both debuted and died in 2009. The show didn’t produce any original content, merely remaking well-known bits from the American version of Saturday Night Live, but in Spanish. (They even used the source show’s graphics and music cues.) And oddly enough, SNL Spain aired on Thursdays, and in the early evening. Here’s their take on the classic “More Cowbell” sketch, which instead of using Blue Oyster Cult’s cowbell-heavy “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” as a reference point, it makes fun of the Spanish rock band Baron Rojo.

  • The writers for SNL Japan made original sketches for the local audiences, as well as some other changes from the American version of the show. Instead of a different guest host every week, SNL Japan had a permanent host. And instead of airing weekly for 90 minutes, it aired once a month and lasted for 45 minutes. This show only lasted a handful of episodes before it was canceled in 2011.

  • A couple more. What was the French version of Saturday Night Live called? Le Saturday Night Live, or course.
  • In Germany, Samstag Nacht (or “Saturday Night”) ran on late night TV for five years.
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