“They said it would be a cross between 60 Minutes and Monty Python.” It turned out to be much more than that, something completely different — at least at the time of its mid-1970s debut — that endures as as a kind of “living time capsule” of U.S. life, politics, and pop culture. A chronicle of the fabled NYC and American institution, Live From New York! opens the Tribeca Film Festival on April 15.

Whether you watched at its beginning or later or now or never (Really?), SNL began as a kind of experiment run by young producer Lorne Michaels and his cast of sly and frequently outrageous kooks, many of whom segued to solid mainstream careers in entertainment. Directed by Bao Nguyen, Live From New York interweaves archival footage behind-the-scenes moments and commentary from SNL legends, journalists, hosts and crew, among others. Some of us seem to think that SNL was funny only in the hazy, distant past. It can be spotty, but you should take a look at last week’s ‘Church Of Neurotology’CNN and ‘Weekend Update’ Walking Dead spoofs if you’re one of the hardcore doubters. Live From New York! captures the essence of the best of SNL from some 800 episodes spanning 40 years.

Participants include Alec Baldwin, Candice Bergen, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, Andy Samberg and many, many others.