I have recently made the wonderful discovery that classic episodes of Saturday Night Live are available on Hulu.
The golden years: Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Jane Curtin. Back when the shoulder pads were as big as the hair and the comedy was genuinely hilarious. One of my all-time favorite skits is “The Farbers Meet the Coneheads” and like Radner, I can’t help but laugh at the way Dan Aykroyd jumps out the window head first when John Belushi brings out the hair dryer.
My binge watching then lead me to the documentary, “Love, Gilda” which told the story of the comedian’s life and how it ended too soon at just 42 years old. The documentary is told through home videos and people who knew her as well as portions of her personal diary.
Gilda Radner is my hero. The energy and timing she had was unmatched and in my opinion, always will be. Although Judy Miller ranks high on my list, my favorite character of her has always been Roseanne Roseannadanna.
The brash personality, big hair and signature catch phrase of “It’s always something” makes me laugh just thinking about it.
My love for that character also has been my downfall. I often catch myself typing these editorials and wondering if I’m turning into the Roseanne Roseannadanna of the print world. But, with the help of enough hair conditioner I think I’ve been able to avoid that.
When the character talked about news, the segment started strong but got off topic quickly, which is where the comedic genius of Radner came into play.
It got me thinking about the news we have here in town and that I help to put out everyday.
A few weeks before I watched the documentary I picked up a book and a phrase the author’s father used struck me. The author, a lawyer in Syria, was talking about his upbringing in a small town in Canada.
Every morning his father would bring the newspaper inside, look at the front page and say, “Isn’t it great to live where this is the news?”
On New Year’s Day I watched the news as usual and the headlines outlined numerous shootings and stabbings that happened overnight. None of them happened in our area, thankfully, but someone lives where that is the news.
Instead in our paper on Jan. 2 we had stories about the library hosting a noon year’s eve party to allow kids a chance to celebrate without staying up late and numerous articles introducing new members of school boards.
I thought back to all the stories I got to cover in 2019 and how I met a 16-year-old who saved his dad from drowning, a man who climbed out on the roof of the Notre Dame Cathedral to enjoy the view and the 92-year-old who embarked on a 92-mile bike ride just because she could. Aside from the first one, none of these are particularly hard-hitting news, but they’re important.
The stories don’t come with signature catchphrases or anyone making fun of New Jersey but they still draw people in because the characters in them are interesting. The town I’m from has a larger population than the combined population of the Tri-County area our paper covers, but the amount of fascinating people in southeast Iowa with stories to tell is endless.
I think it’s pretty incredible we get to live not only where this is the news but where these are the kinds of people who make the news. We live in towns that value each other and their stories and we want to hear about them.
Journalists with brash personalities, big hair and signature catchphrases aren’t needed because the characters the community cares about are right outside the newsroom door. And I, Roseanne Roseannadanna, am thankful that there’s not only “always something” but always some one to write about.