02/17/1992 at 01:00 AM EST
>RECENTLY SATURDAY NIGHT LIVES executive producer, Lorne Michaels, appeared in a skit, telling guest host Steve Martin that "the show's been on automatic pilot for years."
Sad but true, Lornemeister. Most of the time the east flounders through interminable sketches with undeveloped premises that just lie there like the oldest seal at the zoo: for instance, Julia Sweeney's ongoing no-joke routine as the androgynous Pal or guest host Christian Slater's skit about a guy trying to order Buffalo chicken wings despite the proprietor's warning that they are really, really hot. Last one out of the room, turn off the set.
Martin may have inadvertently hit the heart of the problem during his appearance. He introduced Adam Sandler and Chris Farley as the Energy Brothers, who proceeded to do nothing more than jump and twitch around the stage. "You have to keep reminding yourself," said Martin, "they have no material—they're that good." No, they're not. The show's best troupe—John Belushi, Bill Murray et al.—may have been able to get over on charisma alone. But lacking decent material, the current cast is dying a thousand deaths every Saturday night live.