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The official phrase that starts each episode of Saturday Night Live. The show always starts with one sketch, in which the characters get into a really stupid or unlikely situation. In a moment of mirth, confusion, or panic, one character will say or (preferably) shout this phrase. The Saturday Night Live band is quick to recognize this, and starts the theme song. Don Pardo starts "It's Saturday Night Live!" and reads the names of the cast members and tonight's host and musical guest.

Occasionally, a show will start without this exact phrase being read. When they started the show by describing the call-in vote for the 1984 Democratic Presidential primary, Tim Kazurinsky said, "...and it's live from New York on Saturday Night." When Matt Foley was giving a motivational speech to a family in Spanish, he finished with "En Vivo De Nueva York, Es Sábado Noche!" nebuchadnezzar points out that Darrell Hammond also said it in Spanish while playing Fidel Castro.

In some of the edited-to-60-minute episodes being broadcast on E! and Comedy Central, the opening sketch is cut -- along with the catch phrase -- and the opening credits immediately start to roll.

This phrase is properly punctuated with quotation marks: Live from New York, it's "Saturday Night!" This is because it dates back to the very first show, a time when the official title was "NBC's Saturday Night." The phrase has never changed out of tradition, out of inertia, and out of the realization that using the word "live" twice in the same sentence would be redundant.

During the first season, Chevy Chase got to say the magic phrase in all but two of the episodes; since then, the duty and privilege have been spread more evenly among the cast members (plus the occasional guest host).

In addition to the examples above of when the phrase was not used, one particularly memorable example occurred in the February 23, 1991 show, which opened with a "McLaughlin Group" parody that ended with Dana Carvey as John McLaughlin asking each panelist in turn, "How do we start the show?" All responded in turn, "Live from New York, it's 'Saturday Night.'" Carvey, of course, proclaimed them all WRONG!, faced the camera, and said, "Show, show, show, here we go!" Cue music, cue opening titles, cue Don Pardo.

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