Fans of the late-night comedy show, which is celebrating its 35th season this year, have had a lot to enjoy of late. This past weekend was Betty White's universally applauded guest host appearance (prompted by a grassroots Facebook campaign, which succeeded in making her the show's oldest host ever). Then last night, an exhibit of the star portraits used during commercial cut-aways was unveiled at the John Varvatos store on the Bowery.
Taken by photographer Mary Ellen Matthews, who has been with the show for a decade, the images capture more than just likenesses....they ooze whimsy, almost always in hyper-saturated colors. Tina Fey as a Robert Palmer back-up girl. Will Ferrell peeking through a thicket of daisies. Alec Baldwin channeling Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. These photos are no mere snapshots. They are gorgeous pop art, a fact made clear when viewed close-up and in a frame rather than as pixels on a TV set.
And thus, a delightful selection of these images is now on view at John Varvatos, the former home of CBGB. Among the SNL SNL stars who turned up to salute Matthews at last night's opening included Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis and Fred Armisen.
The exhibit runs through August 3, so you'll have plenty of time to catch it before the next season of SNL starts. In the meantime, don't forget to check out the season finale this Saturday, which will star guest host Alec Baldwin. For more pix from the party, click here.