Connect
To Top

TODAY IN TV HISTORY: MAE WEST, UNLIKELY MELISSA MCCARTHY INSPIRATION, WAS BORN

StreamSATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

Powered by

Of all the great things about television, the greatest is that it’s on every single day. TV history is being made, day in and day out, in ways big and small. In an effort to better appreciate this history, we’re taking a look back, every day, at one particular TV milestone. 

IMPORTANT DATE IN TV HISTORY: August 17, 1893

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: That’s right. 123 years ago today, golden-age Hollywood actress Mae West was born. Over the course of her career, West made a name for herself as a bawdy, independent, cheekily funny sex symbol who defied any number of expectations for women and actresses. Even today, there are precious few actresses in history who have been able to combine the multiple levels of confidence, sexiness, and above all self-awareness on which West built her persona. She knew, she knew you knew, and she knew you knew she knew.

So what does she have to do with TV history? Excellent question! West’s TV appearances were few and far between — a quick perusal of her Wikipedia page says she guest-starred on a Mister Ed episode. But her influence spread far and wide, with the Mae West type a convenient shorthand for a kind of glamorous, bawdy beauty.

Easily the best parody of West’s appeal was delivered only a few years ago on Saturday Night Live, when Melissa McCarthy played silver-screen legend Lulu Diamonds. Lulu’s signature line (“Why don’t you come upstairs and see me up there sometime”) was a direct take on West’s “come up and see me sometime.” Of course, this being Saturday Night Live and Melissa McCarthy, things don’t go very smoothly from there.

I’ll happily make the bold claim that this remains McCarthy’s best SNL moment, and one of the best sketches in general of the last five years. What better way to celebrate Mae West’s birthday than with the bearers of her legacy?

[Where to stream Saturday Night Live]

>

Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit qui in ea voluptate velit esse quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum qui dolorem?

Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet.

Copyright © 2015 The Viral Buzzing