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SNL Fans Think They Figured Out Why The Show's Intro Is So Long

Like all good artists, the cast and crew at "Saturday Night Live" have really mastered the skill of making their hard work look easy. There is so much work that goes into creating each new episode, and it's all done on a ridiculously tight six-day schedule.

From their Monday morning pitch meetings discussing potential sketches to their final dress rehearsal on Saturday, and the show's live filming Saturday night, the huge cast and crew — the Season 47 finale had 22 in the cast (including announcer Darrell Hammond), plus three directors, 34 writers, and a huge number of people behind the scenes, per IMDb – are constantly scrambling to put on a tight, topical, entertaining show. It's even worse if something big happens midweek to affect their programming choices, such as when Donald Trump unexpectedly won the presidential election in 2016. The consummate professionals on and off-screen work incredibly hard to make sure everything goes off without a hitch — as much as possible, anyway, even if the cast breaks character (via YouTube), something that makes the show even funnier.

In the past few years, there have been more videos discussing how much work is involved and showing the backstage production at its harried best. Behind-the-scenes clips show how complicated and decidedly not easy it really is (per YouTube). And one video even showed why the "SNL" intro is so long, running from 1:30 to 2:00 minutes, particularly in the current television landscape where many shows no longer even have opening credits, as reported by TV Tropes.

The SNL crew needs the intro to change the set

The obvious answer to "Why is the 'Saturday Night Live' intro so long?" would seem to be "Because the cast is so huge." Yet fans on Reddit discovered a better answer — one that is obvious if you think about it, but people rarely do.

Reddit user u/Stewartthehuman shared an amazing behind-the-scenes video from the 2016 Christmas episode, hosted by Casey Affleck, showing what happens during the opening credits (via YouTube). The massive "SNL" crew needs every second of that one-minute, 35-second sequence to change the scene from the cold open sketch to the iconic "SNL" monologue stage. "It's really cool to watch this!" U/thenisaidbitch said, noticing how much these workers do in such a short time, and how carefully rehearsed it must be to not have any collisions or injuries. "I always assumed it was a different set, really impressive." And the tight weekly schedule and one-off nature of the show requires stagehands, versus complex technological systems found in today's theatres, to move things into place, as u/Snellyman asked. "That stuff would be more work to automate for a single use," u/somegummybears replied.

This particular set is more complex with its elaborate holiday decorations. "Guy at the end tho really wanted to be in the shot," joked u/ExcitementOrdinary95, referring to the stagehand still fluffing the poinsettias as Affleck walks out. But Redditors also loved how director Don Roy King congratulated his team, saying, "Good job, guys." Elsewhere, u/innomado agreed, writing, "Genuine encouragement and praise for a job well done has an enormous impact on a team."