SNL Retro: Richard Dreyfuss/Jimmy Buffet, Gary Tigerman (5/13/78)

Posted: October 27, 2011 by Brendan Wahl in SNL Retro Reviews
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by Brendan Wahl

(Season 3, Episode 19)

We’re getting close, folks.

The Show:

1. Cold Opening: Paraquat Chase (2:36)

The journey of some paraquat-laced marijuana is followed from some field in Mexico all the way to New York City where a young actor (Murray) buys a joint from a member of the SNL Band.

– Creative opening, if not flat-out hilarious.
– I always like Gilda doing a foreign accent and John did a good job here as well.
– Despite Aykroyd’s voice-only role here, I think I’m going to include him at the end in the appearances section because he was such a major part of this opening.
Rating: ** 1/2

2. Monologue (4:40)

Richard talks about his Oscar win and then announces that a certain Not Ready For Primetime Player convinced him to put on an acting performance. He does a scene from Hamlet but is interrupted by John Belushi (who claims he was helping out a fellow actor). Dreyfuss’ insistence that John ruined his monologue segues into an angry rant from the future star of Animal House.

Pretty similar to Art Garfunkel’s monologue from earlier in the season, but Belushi was very funny as per usual and I always love his angry ranting. Richard was great foil here too as a straightman and he actually cracked up quite a bit during John’s rant. However, it was pretty natural and he made it seem like it was part of the monologue.
– I believe there was actual tension between Dreyfuss and Belushi during the week leading up to this episode, much like there was between Belushi and Gary Busey as well. What was it with John not getting along with Oscar nominees/winners?
Rating: *** 1/2

3. Cone Encounters of the Third Kind (7:11)

Roy Neary (Dreyfuss) continues to lose his mind with the visions of a strange cone-shaped object. After he becomes quite agitated, he witnesses an ad on TV for Beldar’s (Aykroyd) driving school and seeks out the Conehead family. Meanwhile, Merkon (Morris) and Kuldroth (Belushi) visit the family for a status report on their takeover of Earth.

– As Susan Saint James put it in her 1981 monologue, this is what would be known as the “host sketch,” a segment designed to revolve around a famous project that the host was involved in. In this case, it’s Dreyfuss’ role in Close Encounters of the Third Kind mixed with a typical Coneheads sketch. This was pretty good though.
– Dreyfuss was great here as the exasperated Roy Neary (though he did look like he was on the verge of giggles at times) and Dan, Jane, and Laraine were excellent as always as the pointy-headed family. Belushi and Garrett were good additions as fellow coneheads.
– Beldar’s driving instructor commercial was pretty amusing.
– Did anyone catch the quick Walter Cronkite appearance on the TV in the background?
– The special effects were so delightfully cheesy.
Rating: *** 1/2

4. Jimmy Buffet sings “Son of a Sailor” (3:10)

– The beginning with the Jaws music playing for a moment and Richard looking around nervously was the start of an amusing runner for this episode.
– Jimmy delivers a pretty good laid-back performance here.
– Does anyone know why Jimmy is in a cast here? He even references it in his song, which was pretty funny.

5. Sex Test (4:50)

Richard Dreyfuss tests viewers’ knowledge of sex-related topics with the help of various sex specialists (Morris, Murray, Newman, & Radner).

– This was a terrific piece with some good performances from the cast and Dreyfuss as the main moderator of the sketch. My favourite expert was probably Bill Murray as the sleazy Penthouse Magazine advisor. Garrett being credited as a “black sex therapist” was pretty ridiculous too.
– Some of the statements were ridiculous, especially Richard saying that couples should have sex the same amount of times every week equal to the years they’ve been married.
Rating: ****

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

– Brooke Shields looks back.

7. WEEKEND UPDATE w/Dan Aykroyd & Jane Curtin (10:28)
Guests: Bill Murray (with Richard Dreyfuss & Marsha Mason) and Roseanne Roseannadanna

Best Jokes: car recall; Federal Reserve currency

– Loved the sponsor bit again but the audience didn’t seem to get it.
– Jane’s opening piece about the fan mail complaining that she reacts in an over-the-top way was hilarious, especially Dan’s comment and the culmination of it later when Roseanne makes her appearance.
– Bill Murray stops by to comment on the crappy job he did at predicting the Oscars and makes his case that Richard Burton should have won over Richard Dreyfuss. He shows a clip of Belushi-as-Dreyfuss and Gilda-as-Marsha Mason in a “clip” from The Goodbye Girl, which was hysterical. Gilda’s non-reactiun and Belushi’s impression made for a hilarious segment. Richard’s a pretty good sport for letting the show do this while he was the host because they ribbed him a bit with this segment.
– Roseanne Roseannadanna comments on two UFO sightings outside of Florida and responds to Mr. Richard Feder and his many questions. The usual great stuff from Gilda here as she seamlessly goes from the topic at hand to disgusting side topics. I especially liked her asking Jane if a rear end ever talked to her. Jane’s huge freakout was quite funny and even moreso than usual because of the spology bit she did at the beginning of Update. Plus, I got to see her bra again. Thank YOU, Jane Curtin.
– There were only like four actual jokes this week but they were all good, especially the two I highlighted.
Rating: **** 1/2

8. Nick Springs (6:49)

Nick the Lounge Singer (Murray) entertains a number of newlyweds at the Pocomount Honeymoon Lounge with the help of Paul Shaffer and an appearance from Jimmy Joe Red Sky (Aykroyd).

– These sketches are always a buttload of fun. One of Bill’s most popular characters takes center-stage here and does some great riffing on some classic songs, particularly the one he does at the beginning.
– Nick’s interaction with his audience is great as well and I especially liked him singing Poison Ivy to Belushi & Radner and then singing Havana Negila to a terrified Richard Dreyfuss playing a Jewish music-biz producer. This is like the third or fourth time I’ve noticed ol’ Dick cracking up too.
– Another reference to a Dreyfuss film… Close Encounters of the Third Kind again.
– This was definitely a classic. Maybe the best Nick the Lounge Singer sketch so far.
Rating: *****

9. Pet Peeves (7:31)

A pair of lovers (Dreyfuss & Newman) confess to each other what they hate most about each other’s personalities and the little things they do that drive each other crazy.

– A Marilyn Suzanne Miller classic if I ever saw one. She proved to be quite the prolific writer in the early years and her sketches (which are more like one-act plays) were usually the highlight or very close to the highlight of the episodes they appear in.
– The acting here was great and it was to be expected from Dreyfuss being an Oscar-noominated actor and all but Laraine definitely holds her own here as well.
Rating: *****

10. The David Susskind Show (4:51)

To commemorate Mother’s Day, David Susskind (Murray) welcomes Tom Snyder (Aykroyd), Henry Kissinger (Belushi), and Leon Spinks (Morris) along with each of their mothers.

– Funny sketch with a grounded performance from Bill Murray as David Susskind. I loved when he was using all the unnecessary big words at the beginning of the sketch.
– Jane, Laraine, and Gilda were funny as the mothers but I believe Jane was the best of the three as Emma Lou Snyder. She had Tom’s mannerisms down fairly well and was extremely funny to boot. Gilda’s look as Leon’s mother was also very funny.
– It’s been a while since Belushi busted out his Kissinger impression.
Rating: *** 1/2

11. Gary Tigerman sings “White Oaxacan Moon” (2:46)

– I expected to hate this strange slow-tempo song but the chorus actually hooked me quite a bit and Tigerman’s voice was pretty good as well.
– Pretty obscure guest, though.

12. Father Guido Sarducci (4:43)

Father Guido Sarducci (writer Don Novello)  takes center-stage and explains to everyone how you pay for your sins when you die. Some sins are not worth much, like masturbating, but it adds up.

– The debut of a majorly popular recurring character. This first edition was very, very funny and Don had lots of great lines and some brilliant comic timing. I loved his remarks about Jesus’ brother Billy Christ, how much of a fine each sin accounts for, as well as his quick comment about there being no free lunch. A near-classic.
– Don is on crutches because of his injury sustained during the Penalty Box sketch during the Michael Sarrazin dress rehearsal.
Rating: **** 1/2

13. Richard Dreyfuss sings “I Want To Be Seduced” (2:28)

– Yes, you read that right. Dreyfuss is singing a song. He actually does a half-decent job here and it’s a pretty charming little performance.
– One thing: if this was a song written by Gary Tigerman, why did Dreyfuss perform it instead of him?

14. Goodnights

– Land Shark finally gets to attack Dreyfuss after the hints at it earlier in the night. It’s not Chevy, but it was still a funny little capper.
– Dreyfuss and Belushi share a pretty big hug so maybe the tension was over-exaggerated or they did that because there was some respect between them regardless of Belushi thinking Richard Burton should’ve won the Oscar instead of the host.
– Dan Aykroyd shows off his anti-Nixon “Don’t Buy Books From Crooks” shirt.

OVERALL: Of course, it was an unenviable task to have to follow last week’s killer episode but this one never really faltered and more than held its own, bolstering a handful of little-known classic sketches. Richard was a charming host and even though he had trouble keeping a straight face at times, he was still entertaining and put a good effort in, particularly with Laraine in the Pet Peeves sketch. I’d like to imagine what the show would’ve been like had Richard Burton won the Oscar and hosted instead of Dreyfuss. I bet he would’ve been good with his theatre background and everything. Still, this was an excellent episode and its only small flaw was that the cold open wasn’t all that.


HOST: RICHARD DREYFUSS – 6 segments (Monologue; Cone Encounters of the Third Kind; Sex Test; Nick Springs; Pet Peeves; “I Want To Be Seduced”)

DAN AYKROYD – 5 segments (Paraquat Chase; Cone Encounters of the Third Kind; Weekend Update; Nick Springs; The David Susskind Show)
JOHN BELUSHI – 6 segments (Paraquat Chase; Monologue; Cone Encounters of the Third Kind; Weekend Update; Nick Springs; The David Susskind Show)
JANE CURTIN – 3 segments (Cone Encounters of the Third Kind; Weekend Update; The David Susskind Show)
GARRETT MORRIS – 3 segments (Cone Encounters of the Third Kind; Sex Test; The David Susskind Show)
BILL MURRAY – 6 segments (Paraquat Chase; Cone Encounters of the Third Kind; Sex Test; Weekend Update; Nick Springs; The David Susskind Show)
LARAINE NEWMAN – 5 segments (Cone Encounters of the Third Kind; Sex Test; Nick Springs; Pet Peeves; The David Susskind Show)
GILDA RADNER – 5 segments (Paraquat Chase; Sex Test; Weekend Update [2 roles]; Nick Springs; The David Susskind Show)

TOM DAVIS – none

EPISODE MVP: Bill Murray

  1. Chris says:

    Buffett’s cast was because he’d broken his leg sliding into second base in a softball game a couple weeks or so before the show.

  2. Johnny Lagoon says:

    Knowing how lovingly detailed and funny the “Samurai Night Fever” sketch was ( the single longest skit at that time in SNL history), I believe that Belushi personally felt a lot more passionate about the Oscar loss of THAT now-iconic and legendary film than either “Goodbye Girl” OR Richard Burton in “Equus”….

    ( I outlived them all, didn’t I? Because…… I was a DANCER……..)

    • Brendan Wahl says:

      He wanted a sketch to get an Oscar?

      • Johnny Lagoon says:

        No.. I believe you’ve misunderstood me..I think he really thought that John Travolta should of won Best Actor that year for “Saturday Night Fever” over either Dreyfuss OR Burton.
        Why do I think this? Because he openly expressed his love for that fillm more than once…sadly enough, if you recall, he even danced around to “Staying Alive” in his last film “Nieghbors” and there is a famous photo of him in 1978 post “Animal House” sitting and talking to Travolta during
        an Academy Awards luncheon….

  3. Brendan Wahl says:

    Ahh gotcha.

  4. […] Richard Dreyfuss/Jimmy Buffet, Gary Tigerman […]

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