by Brendan Wahl
(Season 3, Episode 14)
One of the least interesting hosts from the debut season returns this week with an energetic musical guest, perennial 70s hitmaker, Eddie Money!
1. “Danny Boy” (3:05)
Garrett Morris takes center-stage to sing an Irish ditty while dressed in a leprechaun outfit. Much like his performance during Season 2, a bunch of text scrolls by on the screen but this time it was written by Garrett himself.
– Garrett has a great singing voice, easily the best among the cast at the time.
– The scrolling text was kind of amusing, announcing that it’s not that important to read so as to attract more attention to Garrett’s singing.
2. Monologue (1:36)
Jill reminds everyone about her lame monologue when she first hosted and promises to make this one better. Before she can get to work on it though, she runs out of time and promises to do a better job next time.
– Pretty weak monologue to get us started off with no real joke other than the lame one about there being no monologue.
– Jill’s timing was a bit off with her walk to the stage and she seemed kinda nervous overall.
– Repeat from Steve Martin/Jackson Browne (9/24/77).
4. The Olympia Cafe (5:04)
In the second edition of this evolving sketch, a new trainee-waitress (Clayburgh) struggles to learn the menu options while a female customer (Curtin) tries to get Pete (Belushi) to post a benefit sign for two little kids that swallowed a balloon.
– The “cheeseburger! cheeseburger!”‘s thing isn’t old because there’s always a lot of other things happening in these sketches that make them entertaining.
– The conversation between Jane and Bill was pretty funny just for Murray’s constant head-shaking as was the joke being translated for Billy as well.
– Still, this wasn’t quite as good as the first sketch and the Clayburgh/Newman portions were not that great despite a decent performance by Jill and a great one from Laraine.
5. Sybil III (5:27)
– This was an interesting idea for a sketch. Why does Jill like doing sketches to do with therapy so much? It doesn’t seem like she approves of the profession too much either, based on the “Jill Carson, Guidance Counselor!” sketch from her first stint.
– Gilda is the funniest here as the vegged-out Colleen Fernman, a character she would throw into random sketches every now and then. It’s so politically incorrect, but so damn funny.
– The funniest part here is when Jill was making her speech and the three women kept pushing each other off the couch.
6. Bad One-Man Theater (3:27)
– Danny’s introductions to these things are always funny.
– This was a funny idea to go from one person to the next with no coherent flow. My favourite was Bill Murray as Edgar Alan Poe, who says that he just ate a whole pound of opium “and is still flying high.” Curtin as Eleanor Roosevelt was a close second though.
– People are usually 50/50 on this guy. I like him. I mean, sure, his songs are cheesy but he’s got lots of energy and infuses his performances with good stage presence.
– This certainly wasn’t the best performance of the season or anything, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t do a fine job.
8. Nutrifix (1:49)
– This is one of those ludicrous commercial parodies with a product that is so out-there that it’s funny.
– I like how Jane included that it also came with some amphetamines “for extra pep!”
– Dan’s comment about how he won’t need his car to drive to work was also quite funny, as was Jane plunging it into her own chest and suddenly getting off on it.
9. Weekend Update w/Dan Aykroyd & Jane Curtin (9:08)
Guests: Laraine Newman/Lester Crackfield (Franken) and Roseanne Roseannadanna (Radner)
-Laraine Newman interviews a miner (Al Franken) much like she did a few episodes ago. Lester Crackfield tries to give a commentary on the safety of the mines, but before the interview can get going, the mine caves in on them. Amusing quick segment.
– Roseanne Roseannadanna (Radner) gives her commentary on filing one’s taxes, but soon deviates from the subject and starts talking about horrific smells coming from herself and an old classmate that she was forced to sit next to. Of course, the details she gets into are nauseating and Curtin’s reaction kills again. The way Jane reacts during Roseanne’s second part of her commentary made me laugh my ass off.
10. Everything’s Blurry (3:26)
– This was one of those quieter, subtle pieces and it worked really well; a true classic. It did have a few laugh-out-loud moments as well.
– Belushi’s performance was good here, as he was adamant about how everything was blurry and out-of-focus, but it had nothing to do with his vision itself. His character was kind of a tragic figure the moment it was revealed that his wife had died because he was behind the wheel and the way he says “I blame myself.”
– I also liked the part where Jill let him try on the glasses and Belushi indignantly responds that “it’s even blurrier now.”
– I think sketches like these are part of the reason people loved this era; a lot of subtle comedy pieces to go along with some of the wackier ones like Danny’s commercial parodies or the Coneheads sketches, for instance.
11. Shower Mike (3:28)
Richard Herkiman (Murray) makes his second appearance and joins his wife (Radner) in the shower to interview her with his microphone-on-a-rope, but also brings in their neighbour (Belushi) and his wife (Clayburgh), with whom he is having marital problems.
– I liked this sketch the first time Murray did it with Buck Henry and this one was a lot of fun too. The character is essentially a watered-down (no pun intended) version of Nick the Lounge Singer, but Bill still makes it work with his charisma and great chemistry with Gilda.
– Radner reacting to Belushi appearing in the shower was a great shocked performance. Jill, however, felt a little awkward here.
12. Beldar’s Affair (6:24)
– It’s great to see the Coneheads again and Beldar’s appearance with the pack of cigarettes was hysterical.
– Lots of stuff to like here including the excuses by Danny as to why he isn’t home on time and that sound effect that plays every time they touch cones is always funny for some reason.
– Bill Murray was a great addition to the sketch as Ronnie Getsetter, a potential scumlike boyfriend for Connie (Newman), as he takes advantage of the family’s limited knowledge of human customs and thus, he takes several cases of beer.
– Jilll was awkward here again, but she didn’t detract from the sketch too much.
– The ending was funny as well with the revelation that Prymaat has also been unfaithful.
13. Celebrity Crackup (5:44)
A talk show hosted by Jane Curtin with Tony Orlando (Murray), Robert Blake (Belushi), Richard Pryor (Morris), and Claudine Longet (Radner) all talking about their troubled lives to one another. In particular, Orlando is obsessed with other celebrities’ deaths and how he is always the one most affected by the tragic events.
– This was my favourite sketch of the whole night.
– Bill Murray was the funniest part of this sketch as he kept trying to get sympathy for himself in regards to other people’s deaths. It gets funnier the more ridiculous it got with Tony mourning over John Davis’ arranger and Charlie Chaplin, his “new best friend” at the time.
– Some other highlights here were Belushi reminiscing about the Our Gang days involving the Little Rascals and Radner constantly asking about “Petey,” the dog from the show.
– Morris’ Richard Pryor impression was decent, but his facial reactions were hilarious and really spot-on. Him getting mistaken for saying “coke” was hilarious and also a pretty dark joke. That being said, this sketch was actually pretty cruel when you get down to it but it was still very accurate and the performances were awesome and that’s what made it a classic.
– Another good performance by the Edster.
– The video editing during the song was very strange. Not completely original or anything, but I’ve never really seen them do something like this on the show before. It felt extra-super-duper cheesy, so I can understand why they didn’t do that again, at least not to my knowledge.
15. Relationships (4:06)
In a very big stray from the usual stuff, Jill Clayburgh sits center-stage and half-talk, half-sings about relationships and the little things in life that one must do sometimes to remain on the path of least resistance.
– This was a very strange piece to appear on SNL but it was well worth it. This was easily Jill’s best performance of the night and I gotta give her credit for this. Even though she played herself, her observations were well-put and accurate.
– Much like the Everything’s Blurry sketch from earlier, this piece had a quiet, somber tone and Jill came off as a sort of tragic figure here just sleepwalking through life so she can just have peace of mind.
– I think my favourite part was her sarcastically saying that she loves Baretta for the way “the bodies shake when the bullets hit them.” The most haunting part though is when she says that the only reason “you love him is… he’s around.”
– Everyone in the cast seemed to like Jill as they all approach and kiss and hug her before she throws an orange back and forth with someone in the crowd.
OVERALL: This was a good example of a show that got much, much better in its second half. While the first portion of the show did have some good bits (Olympia Cafe, Bad One-Man Theater), it’s after Eddie Money’s first performance that the show went on a great run of classic after classic sketch coupled with a great closer by Clayburgh performing her talk-sing monologue. Jill herself was a strictly average host, faltering in some pieces but managed to turn it all around for the show-closer. Her monologue was a mess, but her performances in a couple of sketches ranged from flat to above-average and so she kinda had a schizophrenic quality as the host. The real performers of the night, however, were Bill Murray and Jane Curtin who rocked the house in almost every sketch they appeared in (and this is a bit of a rarity for Jane as she usually just got overloaded with “straight man” roles). That being said, everyone got a whole lot of face time in this show. All in all, this was a very good episode that may have even exceeded last week’s just for the excellent second half alone.
HOST: JILL CLAYBURGH – 7 segments (Monologue; The Olympia Cafe; Sybil III; Everything’s Blurry; Shower Mike; Beldar’s Affair; Relationships)
DAN AYKROYD – 6 segments (Royal Deluxe II; The Olympia Cafe; Bad One-Man Theater; Nutrifix; Weekend Update; Beldar’s Affair)
JOHN BELUSHI – 6 segments (The Olympia Cafe; Bad One-Man Theater; Nutrifix; Everything’s Blurry; Shower Mike; Celebrity Crackup)
JANE CURTIN – 7 segments (The Olympia Cafe; Sybil III; Bad One-Man Theater; Nutrifix; Weekend Update; Beldar’s Affair; Celebrity Crackup)
GARRETT MORRIS – 5 segments (“Danny Boy”; Royal Deluxe II; The Olympia Cafe; Bad One-Man Theater; Celebrity Crackup)
BILL MURRAY – 5 segments (The Olympia Cafe; Bad One-Man Theater; Shower Mike; Beldar’s Affair; Celebrity Crackup)
LARAINE NEWMAN – 5 segments (The Olympia Cafe; Sybil III; Nutrifix; Weekend Update; Beldar’s Affair)
GILDA RADNER – 6 segments (Royal Deluxe II; The Olympia Cafe; Sybil III; Weekend Update; Shower Mike; Celebrity Crackup)
TOM DAVIS – none
AL FRANKEN – 1 segment (Weekend Update)
EPISODE MVPs: Jane Curtin/Bill Murray
As a post-script, Jill Clayburgh passed away from leukemia in November of 2010. I know it was a while ago, but it’s a sad footnote. RIP.