SNL Retro: Steve Martin/The Blues Brothers (4/22/78)

Posted: October 22, 2011 by Brendan Wahl in SNL Retro Reviews
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by Brendan Wahl

(Season 3, Episode 18)

The Show:

1. Cold Opening: Rock Concert (3:32)

Don Kirshner (Paul Shaffer) presents another edition of Rock Concert with the two hottest blues musicians on tap right now, the Blues Brothers (Aykroyd & Belushi). The duo sing “Hey Bartender” before Don closes out the segment.

– Paul Shaffer is always fun with his impression of Don Kirshner. This sketch was no different but he was CLEARLY reading directly off the cue cards here. His hilariously stiff turning towards the stage made up for that though.
– Because most of this segment was a musical performance, I can not rate this in good conscience. I will say that I’ve always enjoyed the performances from Danny and John as the Blues Brothers as well. I always forget that Belushi was quite the talented musician on top of being a great comedic performer.

2. Monologue (5:56)

Steve does some stand-up and then shows off his magic skills by pickpocketing an unsuspecting audience member (Murray).

– Excellent monologue. Steve was his usual great charismatic self with some fantastic stand-up especially the stuff he does on going over an audience’s head with his material. I also really loved his story about the cathedral and the story he then read that said “Apply to infested area.”
– Bill did a great job here too as a clueless audience member and the whole part with Steve basically stripping him down was hilarious.
Rating: *****

3. Hey You! (1:28)
– Repeat from Mary Kay Place/Willie Nelson (12/10/77).
– Wait a second! I just realized now… is that Buck Henry in the really quick shot before they cut from the bar scene?
Rating: *****

4. Festrunk Brothers (7:58)

The swinging Czech brothers (Martin & Aykroyd) are back and this time, they await the arrival of two foxes along with their friend Cliff (Morris). Unfortunately for them, Cliff convinces them that they’ve been tricked and that the girls are not coming over.

– Wow, these characters are already getting a huge reaction just from their entrance onto the set.
– Another hilarious and classic edition of the Festrunk Brothers sketches. I particularly love the energy that they put into their performances and as far as specifics go, that huge vacuum cleaner thing was great and Cliff making fun of the brothers for their catchphrases was also pretty amusing.
– I guess I didn’t really get the joke about going to the Statue of Liberty for birth control devices. I feel stupid so can someone explain this to me?
– I think Garrett almost lost it at one point.
Rating: *****

5. Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber (6:33)

Theodoric (Martin) treats his patients with many prehistoric methods like curing one woman’s (Newman) blood loss with additional bloodletting, curing one man’s broken legs with, yes, additional bloodletting, and having his assistant Brungilda (Radner) helping out with the proceedings.

– Another classic sketch. They would follow this up with one about Theodoric as a judge, but it never quite lived up to this classic first installment.
– The best parts in this sketch was Bill Murray’s whole scene, Belushi as a hunchback saying that Theodoric previously worked on it, Steve’s dissection of even more medieval practices, the bit with the Caladrious bird (it seemed like a bit of a blooper), and the final speech as well which was very reminiscent of that great Mike McMack sketch from the season premiere.
– Everything about this worked though really and the performances were terrific from all involved. The highlights were most likely from Steve and Gilda. I got a kick out of Gilda’s strange mannerisms and groaning noises that she kept making.
Rating: *****

6. Dancing in the Dark (3:12)

Two strangers (Martin & Radner) spot each other from opposite sides of a bar and begin to dance throughout the studio while everyone else is frozen in motion.

– Yet another classic sketch. This is probably one of Gilda’s (and definitely Steve’s) best moments on the show and they really excelled at doing this flawless, yet goofy dancing seqquence for the entire duration of the segment.
– I’m running out of stars, guys.
Rating: *****

7. UPDATE TEASER w/Jane Curtin (:06)

– Pat Nixon has a gallstone removed.

8. WEEKEND UPDATE w/Dan Aykroyd & Jane Curtin (5:58)
Guest: Garrett Morris

Best Jokes: Jimmy Hoffa; nasal contraceptive; Garrett killed



– Garrett does the only commentary here to test out marijuana for paraquat and it was quite funny. I love how Aykroyd said that a survey shows 97% of SNL viewers smoke it daily. The later story about Garrett added to it and was pretty funny as well.
– For the third week in a row, we have a Point/Counterpoint segment, this time on abortions. This one was better than last week’s good edition and at least we got the “Jane, you ignorant slut” argument back again. I love how angry they get during their segment and then how they’re completely cordial afterwards.
Rating: ****

9. King Tut (3:01)

Steve talks about the commercialization of King Tut and the way he’s being exploited before launching into a giddy performance highlighting exactly what he just condemned.

– One classic after another. After a brief break with a great-but-not-perfect Update, we’re back to the classic sketches with another fantastic performance from Steve and a wonderful overall segment.
– If I’m not mistaken, there are members of the Dirt Band backing him up.
– I heard a segment on Opie and Anthony where they TRASHED this song. I have to say… are they retarded?! Just because not everything the man makes is gold means you need to trash his classic bits.
Rating: *****

10. Love Story (4:44)

A middle-aged couple (Belushi & Curtin) admit their extra-marital affairs to each other and it helps them get in the mood for one another in the bedroom.

– A great sketch with some terrific chemistry between John Belushi and Jane Curtin, which is funny considering they hated each other.
– The two actors really do some of their best work here and the way in which they describe their sexual encounters to each other was a hoot. The ending was very funny too with the revelation that they may be lying to each other just to get in the mood for sex. Jane yelling about rubber gloves made me fall off my chair laughing.
Rating: ****

11. Gary Weis Film: Swan Lake Ballet (1:53)

Various ballerinas perform to the tune of “Swan Lake” along with some hip hop performers, as choreographed by Toni Basil.

– Probably one of the better Gary Weis films. This wasn’t played for laughs at all but it was well-done and the choreography was quite good as expected. Also, this would be the last film by Gary Weis that appeared on Saturday Night Live.
– If anyone has more information on this film that’d be great. Like who the ballerinas/hip hop dancers were, etc.
Rating: ****

12. Troff ‘n’ Brew (2:55)

A number of business executives (Martin, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, & Murray) stop by for lunch at the Troff ‘n’ Brew, a restaurant where you can eat like a pig… quite literally.

– Pretty funny and creative sketch that was probably a lot of fun to perform in. The juxtaposition of the businessmen dipping their faces into the chili trough while talking shop was funny stuff.
– I really liked the subtle bit with the pictures on the back wall, especially the one with the people’s faces covered with chili and it saying “This chili is so hot.”
– The hosedown was a funny sight gag at the end.
Rating: ***

13. Nerds Science Fair (5:24)

Lisa Loopner (Radner) and Todd DiLaMuca (Murray) are back again and this time they’re competing in a science fair against fellow nerds like the competitive Charles Knerlman (Martin) and their friend Grant Robinson Jr. (Morris).

– Wow, the Nerds are back already after only two episodes but that’s okay because Lisa and Todd are two of the most endearing characters that were on during the first five years. This was another great sketch with these characters.
– I especially liked Todd and Lisa’s project, Dialing for Toast, and Garrett coming up with a “project” that involves rubbing balloons on a sweater to make statis electricity.
– Steve was hilarious here as per the norm for the entire night and he really pulled off the snobbish nerd thing really well. I like how his project was a plutonium bomb.
Rating: **** 1/2

14. The Blues Brothers sing “I Don’t Know” (3:54)

– A second performance from these guys? I’m down. Much like the cold open, what we got here was another entertaining performance and some great vocals by Belushi.
– Belushi did some pretty crazy acrobats here for a bigger guy.

15. Nest Week in Review (4:53)

Three near-future psychics (Martin, Aykroyd, & Curtin) predict some upcoming events while host Maxine Universe (Newman) acts as the moderator.

– Fun concept here and I enjoyed the performances from all involved. Laraine served as a good straightman to all the craziness as well. Subdued craziness, but still.
– I enjoyed all the little predictions that they all came up with like the Pope’s cloning for isntance. The way Steve kept doing the thumb-removing trick while he was predicting stuff was a great quirk as well.
– The ending was funny too with the TIME Magazine cover that says “Send More Chuck Berry” and then the psychics predicting that Laraine will be fired from the show.
Rating: *** 1/2

16. Goodnights

– Steve does a pretty funny flub while thanking the cast.

OVERALL: One of the best episodes ever; not just during this season but in the entire history of Saturday Night Live. Steve had always been a fantastic host during his other four appearances but he really stepped up his game for this one and participated in classic after classic sketch. It was also fun to have Danny and John be the musical guests as well. Everything about this episode just falls into place. It’s a pretty good sign when the show is considering ‘slowed down’ during a batch of **** sketches. Awesome stuff.

APPEARANCES:

HOST: STEVE MARTIN – 8 segments (Monologue; Festrunk Brothers; Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber; Dancing in the Dark; King Tut; Troff ‘n’ Brew; Nerds Science Fair; Next Week in Review)

DAN AYKROYD – 7 segments (Rock Concert; Festrunk Brothers; Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber; Weekend Update; Troff ‘n’ Brew; “I Don’t Know”; Next Week in Review)
JOHN BELUSHI – 5 segments (Rock Concert; Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber; Love Story; Troff ‘n’ Brew; “I Don’t Know”)
JANE CURTIN – 6 segments (Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber; Weekend Update; Love Story; Troff ‘n’ Brew; Nerds Science Fair; Next Week in Review)
GARRETT MORRIS – 4 segments (Festrunk Brothers; Weekend Update; Troff ‘n’ Brew; Nerds Science Fair)
BILL MURRAY – 4 segments (Monologue; Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber; Troff ‘n’ Brew; Nerds Science Fair)
LARAINE NEWMAN – 4 segments (Festrunk Brothers; Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber; Troff ‘n’ Brew; Next Week in Review)
GILDA RADNER – 6 segments (Hey You!; Festrunk Brothers; Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber; Dancing in the Dark; Troff ‘n’ Brew; Nerds Science Fair)

TOM DAVIS – 3 segments (Hey You!; Dancing in the Dark; Troff ‘n’ Brew)
AL FRANKEN – 3 segments (Hey You!; Dancing in the Dark; Troff ‘n’ Brew)

EPISODE MVP: Gilda Radner

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Comments
  1. […] Steve Martin/The Blues Brothers […]

  2. Leonard Wilson says:

    does anybody know where I can find a link for the above troff n brew skit
    w/steve martin, snl season 3 episode 11 I believe)

    please advise via my email address if possible – thamx

  3. FJ says:

    The Basil dance film features Shabba-doo. Basil and Shabba-doo were both members of the dance group “The Lockers”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lockers

    • actually I’ve been looking for a free link to the
      ‘troff & brew’ segment of this season 3 snl episode for some time
      (where ackroyd, martin & co. are eating chili from a trough
      and lapping up beer, etc.)

      I’ve had absolulely no luck obtaining this – can anyone
      help me c/o my email address here?

      thanx

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