Genoa Blankenship has been a fan of Saturday Night Live for years.
When she was a little girl, she’d stay up late in hopes of catching a glimpse of the famed sketch comedy show.
“Once I got older and had free rein, it was always on,” she said.
The Richland photographer even has dressed up as favorite SNL characters for Halloween, including once a few years back when she and her husband went as Wayne and Garth.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Tri-City Herald
Now, Blankenship is sharing her SNL love with the Tri-City community.
She’s organizing a screening of the new acclaimed documentary Live From New York! on July 29 in Kennewick.
Tickets are $11 and must be purchased in advance.
At least 79 tickets need to be sold by the evening of July 22 for the screening to happen. As of Monday afternoon, about 60 tickets were left to go.
They’re available at www.tugg.com/events/25719.
The screening is at the Carmike movie theater.
The documentary mixes show footage and interviews with cast and crew members, hosts, musical guests, journalists and others with ties to the TV institution — examining the show’s unmistakable impact on comedy, politics and the country’s cultural landscape.
It’s directed by Bao Nguyen.
“When I was a kid, Saturday nights at 11:30 always had a special meaning for me,” Nguyen said in a statement.
“It was the one night during the week I could stay up late and watch television without fear of punishment. On weeknights, my parents would sometimes let me stay up to watch the 11 p.m. news thinking it would teach me about American culture and current events. Oh, how they were so wrong. It was those cold openings, comedy sketches, and Weekend Updates on Saturday nights that taught me what I needed to know to bridge my immigrant culture at home to the bigger world outside,” Nguyen said. “How much can we discern about the zeitgeist of America by watching a comedy show at 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday night? A lot.”
Blankenship, who’s in her 30s, said that “for my generation, it’s always been a constant.”
From Roseanne Roseannadanna to the Coneheads to Stefon, the show has produced a slew of iconic characters.
And its political commentary has helped shape the national conversation.
The show also has, at times, been a source of comfort — like in the fall of 2001, when the country was reeling from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Beyond her affection for SNL, Blankenship — a former Tri-City Herald reporter — also has a personal connection to the documentary.
One of her best friends, Demetra Stavrakas, is an associate producer. The pair went to high school and college together.
Blankenship is working through the Tugg film screening web platform to bring Live From New York! to the Tri-Cities.
Audience members are invited to dress as their favorite SNL character, although masks aren’t allowed because of theater rules.
Blankenship said she looks forward to Live From New York! To her, SNL is a cultural touchstone.
“Comedy and pop culture couldn’t exist without SNL,” she said. “Gilda Radner, Phil Hartman, Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig — to name a few — they’ve all shaped how we see the world and have helped us find the humor in it.”