Archive for the ‘SNL Retro Reviews’ Category

As per request, here are my reviews I’ve done so far.

Season 2:

Lily Tomlin/James Taylor

Norman Lear/Boz Scaggs 

Eric Idle/Joe Cocker, Stuff

Karen Black/John Prine

Steve Martin/Kinky Friedman

Buck Henry/The Band

Dick Cavett/Ry Cooder

Paul Simon

Jodie Foster/Brian Wilson

Candice Bergen/Frank Zappa

Ralph Nader/George Benson

Ruth Gordon/Chuck Berry

Fran Tarkenton/Leo Sayer and Donny Harper & The Voices of Tomorrow

Mardi Gras Special

Steve Martin/The Kinks

Sissy Spacek/Richard Baskin

Broderick Crawford/The Meters and the RCO All-Stars

Jack Burns/Santana

Julian Bond/Tom Waits, Brick

Elliott Gould/The McGarrigle Sisters, Roslyn Kind

Eric Idle/Alan Price, Neil Innes

Shelley Duvall/Joan Armatrading

Buck Henry/Jennifer Warnes, Kenny Vance


Season 3:

Steve Martin/Jackson Browne

Madeline Kahn/Taj Mahal

Hugh Hefner/Libby Titus

Charles Grodin/Paul Simon

Ray Charles

Buck Henry/Leon Redbone

Mary Kay Place/Willie Nelson

Miskel Spillman/Elvis Costello

Steve Martin/The Dirt Band, Randy Newman

Robert Klein/Bonnie Raitt

Chevy Chase/Billy Joel

O.J. Simpson/Ashford & Simpson

Art Garfunkel/Stephen Bishop

Jill Clayburgh/Eddie Money

Christopher Lee/Meat Loaf

Michael Palin/Eugene Record

Michael Sarrazin/Keith Jarrett, Gravity

Steve Martin/The Blues Brothers

Richard Dreyfuss/Jimmy Buffet, Gary Tigerman

Buck Henry/Sun Ra


Season 35: (partially)

Jon Hamm/Michael Buble

Ashton Kutcher/Them Crooked Vultures

Jennifer Lopez

Zach Galifianakis/Vampire Weekend

Jude Law/Pearl Jam

Tina Fey/Justin Bieber

Ryan Phillippe/Ke$ha

Gabourey Sidibe/MGMT (guess I never reviewed it)

Betty White/Jay-Z

Alec Baldwin/Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers


Season 36:

Amy Poehler/Katy Perry

Bryan Cranston/Kanye West

Jane Lynch/Bruno Mars

Emma Stone/Kings of Leon

Jon Hamm/Rihanna

Scarlett Johansson/Arcade Fire

Anne Hathaway/Florence + The Machine

Robert DeNiro/Diddy Dirty Money

Paul Rudd/Paul McCartney

Jeff Bridges/Eminem, Lil Wayne

Jim Carrey/The Black Keys

Gwyneth Paltrow/Cee Lo Green

Jesse Eisenberg/Nicki Minaj

Dana Carvey/Linkin Park

Russell Brand/Chris Brown

Miley Cyrus/The Strokes

Zach Galifianakis/Jessie J

Elton John

Helen Mirren/Foo Fighters

Tina Fey/Ellie Goulding

Ed Helms/Paul Simon

Justin Timberlake/Lady Gaga

Season 36 in Review


Season 37:

Alec Baldwin/Radiohead

Melissa McCarthy/Lady Antebellum

Ben Stiller/Foster The People

Anna Faris/Drake

Charlie Day/Maroon 5

Emma Stone/Coldplay

Jason Segel/Florence + The Machine

Steve Buscemi/The Black Keys

Katy Perry/Robyn

Jimmy Fallon/Michael Buble

Charles Barkley/Kelly Clarkson

Daniel Radcliffe/Lana Del Rey

Channing Tatum/Bon Iver

Zooey Deschanel/Karmin

Maya Rudolph/Sleigh Bells

Lindsay Lohan/Jack White

Jonah Hill/The Shins

Sofia Vergara/One Direction

Josh Brolin/Gotye

Eli Manning/Rihanna

Will Ferrell/Usher

Mick Jagger

by Brendan Wahl

(Season 3, Episode 20)

Here it is, the season finale. It’s been quite an awesome ride with this season with only one small misfire (Kahn/Mahal) and a huge number of very strong episodes and near-classics. Even ones that were not great like Chevy Chase/Billy Joel or Jill Clayburgh/Eddie Money were still fairly good. It’s pretty telling of a season’s quality when some of the worst episodes average at probably about *** 1/2.

Of course, we close out the season as we always did from seasons 2-5: with lovable reliable ol’ Buck Henry, a very easy host to work with for the Not Ready For Primetime Players and one who was willing to go places with the sketches that many other hosts would’ve shied away from doing.


The Show:

“The Boy in the Plastic Pants Suit” will not be seen tonight.

1. Cold Opening: Nixon’s Book (2:59)

Former President Richard Nixon (Aykroyd) urges people to buy his book and says that even if you don’t believe him and you don’t want to read it, you can just buy it and then kick it around. That’ll show him!

– Great use of Danny’s Nixon impression and it was also pretty funny to see after Aykroyd’s blatant attack on Tricky Dick during the goodnights last week.
– Aykroyd’s solution to buy the book just to kick it around was hilarious and I liked him attributing it to his famous quote, “You don’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore.” His comment that Pat was already on her fourth copy was also pretty amusing.
– Garrett Morris gets a role here that any extra could’ve played.
Rating: *** 1/2

2. Monologue (3:29)

Buck professes his love for hosting the show and being a part of this great experience all the while some scrolling text proclaims Buck’s career to be over and that he is clinging onto his last shred of fame.

– Hilarious monologue. I loved the text that scrolled by during Buck’s serious speech about the dignity he has, his loving family, and the fact that NBC being in third place can’t really afford to be sentimental by thrusting a sad-sack like Buck onto the stage as the host of the season finale. The whole thing was just timed perfectly too.
Rating: **** 1/2

3. Nerd Prom (7:50)

Todd DiLaMuca (Murray) gets ready to escort Lisa Loopner (Radner) to the prom along with Todd’s dad Marshall (Henry), who drives them there. They eventually convince Mrs. Loopner (Curtin) to join them as well.

– Nice callback to the previous Nerds sketch with Lisa playing the same piano tune at the beginning.
– Another terrific sketch featuring the Nerds. Buck Henry was a great addition as Marshall DiLaMuca (still DiLaBounta at the time), but of course everyone worked really hard in making this great sketch work well again.
– My favourite parts were Gilda saying she knows the facts of life (she DID get an A in health), Buck’s lame John Travolta joke, pretty much all the interaction between Billy and Gilda, and the quick moment with Buck picking his nose.
– I like how with every sketch, the death of “the late Mr. Loopner” gets more gruesome and mysterious.
Rating: *****

4. Samurai T.V. Repairman (3:27)

Mr. Dantley (Henry) visits the electronic repair shop to have Samurai Futaba (Belushi) take a look and repair his television.

– Of course, nothing will ever top the classic Samurai Delicatessen sketch but I’ve never really disliked any of these sketches.
– I particularly liked the inspector tag on the TV from Japan being revealed to be the Samurai’s mother’s ID number.
– The ending with Belushi striking it with the sword and fixing it and then using his swords for antennas was also brilliant.
Rating: ****

5. Sodom Chamber of Commerce (4:17)

The ancient ciity of Sodom holds a council in which its members (Henry, Aykroyd, Belushi, Morris, & Murray) attempt to come up with a positive spin on their city that will do away with the whole imagery of sodomy and human sacrifice.

– Very funny and creative sketch. They could never get away with something like this today for the subject matter alone. I mean, an entire sketch about anal sex? The censors would pass out.
– Great performance from Buck here as the sturdy straightman. His deadpan delivery on some ridiculous and dark lines made them even more effective. He even had some fairly cheesy lines here but because of Buck’s wonderful performance, he made them work too.
– Murray was hilarious too, especially his delivery while reading their slogan: “You have to be crazy to live in Sodom. Crazy about sodomy.”
– The ending with Jane, Laraine, and Gilda was great.
Rating: **** 1/2

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

Donny Osmond consummates his marriage while his wife, Debbie, watches.

7. WEEKEND UPDATE w/Dan Aykroyd & Jane Curtin (9:32)
Guest: Laraine Newman and Bill Murray

Best Jokes: hamburgers; fanfare expression; Charlie Chaplin’s body; Italy/abortions

– Yet ANOTHER great sponsor bit.
– The fanfare bit really worked due to Aykroyd’s terrific delivery.
– The first piece is Laraine Newman reporting from the Son of Sam trial via an artist’s rendering because there were no cameras allowed in the courthouse. Pretty funny stuff here, actually, with the crappy drawing and the reporting giving us absolutely no real information on the case.
– Bill Murray comes by to review The Greek Tycoon based on a quick clip he is shown at the last second. His best bit was accusing one of the actors for saying “excuse me” and stealing Steve Martin’s line in the process. His attempt at calling Jackie Onassis (to inform her that the movie ripped off her life) was also hilarious, especially him saying John Belushi’s name after his own name doesn’t get him anywhere. Terrific segment.
– Aykroyd’s commentary on Betty Ford’s alcoholism was pretty funny devolving into a reference to other first ladies’ problems with the juice. It died with the audience though.
– The Point/Counterpoint segment deals with Dan and Jane arguing in a courteous way about which side they will take, but then they soon devolve into a sharp-tongued debate about the merits of jogging. I like the minor changes they made to this and it made for another classic point/counterpoint.
– Perfect edition of Update this week.
Rating: *****

8. The Olympia Cafe (5:05)

Life continues at the Chicago-based restaurant where a representative (Henry) from Rent-a-Doberman comes in to talk with Pete (Belushi) about getting a guard dog in the restaurant to protect it from burglary.

– Very funny edition of this recurring sketch. I really liked Belushi haggling the price of the doberman rental and his consrant firing and rehiring of Murray’s character was a hoot as well. It really says something for Bill’s acting when I actually felt really bad for him everytime he got mistreated in this sketch.
– Belushi grabbing an axe to take care of “that lamb in the basement” was a great little moment.
Rating: ****

9. Mr. Mike’s Least-Loved Music (2:56)

Mr. Mike sings a tune called “Baby Ghouls” while a vampire (Newman) provides backup and eventually bites his neck.

– An example of Mr. Mike’s strange warped sense of humour. This wasn’t so much laugh-out-loud funny as much as it was an insane, strange, and dark conceptual piece with some great stuff from a singing Mr. Mike and Laraine.
– I loved Laraine’s sign-language bit at the beginning.
Rating: *** 1/2

10. More Insects to Worry About (4:41)

Joan Face (Curtin) interviews Dr. Russell Bedanza (Henry) about other various forms of insects that are making their way to the United States.

– The first time they did this sketch, I thought it was okay but I don’t really see the merit in repeating it again in the same season. This was actually quite a bit better than the first edition though and Buck and Jane had great chemistry together.
– The part that made me laugh the most is Jane quickly mentioning that part of Buck’s research included living with the insects as one of their kind. My favourite insect that Buck mentions is the one that enters through any opening on the body and brings in everday items to the brain like car keys, a paperback novel, and other such ridiculous items.
Rating: ****

11. Stunt Puppy (4:54)

Middle-aged actor Howard (Henry) is directed to inflict abuse on a puppy during a film shoot, but the director (Murray) makes sure to bring in a stunt puppy for the scenes.

– This was essentially a carbon-copy of Stunt Baby, but it was still hilarious nonetheless. Murray turns in another great smarmy performance as the director and Buck’s scene of violence against the puppy was almost as good as the one he had with the baby in his previous episode.
Rating: ****

12. Bad Conceptual Art (2:58)

Leonard Pinth-Garnell (Aykroyd) presents a piece on bad conceptual art named “Pavlov Video Chicken I” featuring three performers (Morris, Newman, & Radner).

– Yet ANOTHER recurring sketch tonight. And yet, with all of the recurring pieces tonight, it’s still looking like another excellent episode is in the books tonight.
– This was an okay edition of the sketch but overall it was not quite as good as most of these pieces were. It felt like they were just being weird and thought it would translate into great material but it didn’t really work as well as it was planned.
Rating: **

13. The Franken and Davis Show (4:20)

Al and Tom prepare to do their “famous” sumo wrestling piece but Davis can no longer take the pressure of hiding his secret. After Al reveals his “wife” and “son,” Tom yells out that they are in fact gay lovers and have been living a lie. This causes Al’s family to walk out on him.

– This was excellent and one of my favourite Franken and Davis pieces that these guys ever did. The audience jeering when Tom asks if they have respect for Al now was the cherry on the cake.
– I especially liked Al’s son’s outburst about how much he hates him now.
– The ending was so dark with Franken committing suicide but the two of them waving after the title card made it even funnier with Tom declaring that Al “didn’t really shoot himself.”
Rating: *****

14. Sun Ra performs “Space is the Place” and “Space-Loneliness” (6:03)

– Hands-down, one of the strangest performances in the history of the show. There’s been some odd acts on the show like the I’m The Slime performance by Frank Zappa, David Bowie singing Boys Keep Swinging with a super-imposed puppet body, and Devo in general, but this was one of the most oddly compelling ones that also doubled as one of the more creative performances I’ve seen in some time.
– I also find it very interesting that this was pushed to the very end of the show. Perhaps Lorne knew they would lose a lot of people at this point and didn’t want to take that risk. Or maybe it was the network’s suggestion not to take it. Either way, it was probably a wise business move because I’m sure a lot of SNL‘s audience was pretty weirded out by this segment.
– They keep playing long after the bumper has shown up.

15. Goodnights

– Buck mentions “they’ll all be back in the fall… or not.”


OVERALL: A very, very strong season finale with only one lowpoint (Bad Conceptual Art) and many classic sketches to choose from. It’s always nice to have a reliable host like Buck Henry close out the season and the show always benefitted from having him as the host. There was A LOT of recurring material tonight (the only things that weren’t recurring was the cold open, monologue, and the sodomy sketch. It didn’t really bug me though because 90% of it was great to begin with and warranted some additional follow-ups to the sketches.

I’ve said all I can say about the season in general so let’s just say that it ended on a high note to what was an INCREDIBLE string of episodes with VERY minor blips on the radar.


HOST: BUCK HENRY – 7 segments (Monologue; Nerd Prom; Samurai T.V. Repairman; Sodom Chamber of Commerce; The Olympia Cafe; More Insects to Worry About; Stunt Puppy)

DAN AYKROYD – 5 segments (Nixon’s Book; Sodom Chamber of Commerce; Weekend Update; The Olympia Cafe; Bad Conceptual Art)
JOHN BELUSHI – 3 segments (Samurai T.V. Repairman; Sodom Chamber of Commerce; The Olympia Cafe)
JANE CURTIN – 6 segments (Nerd Prom; Sodom Chamber of Commerce; Weekend Update; The Olympia Cafe; More Insects to Worry About; Stunt Puppy)
GARRETT MORRIS – 5 segments (Nixon’s Book; Sodom Chamber of Commerce; The Olympia Cafe; Stunt Puppy; Bad Conceptual Art)
BILL MURRAY – 5 segments (Nerd Prom; Sodom Chamber of Commerce; Weekend Update; The Olympia Cafe; Stunt Puppy)
LARAINE NEWMAN – 5 segments (Sodom Chamber of Commerce; Weekend Update; The Olympia Cafe; Mr. Mike’s Least-Loved Music; Bad Conceptual Art)
GILDA RADNER – 5 segments (Nerd Prom; Sodom Chamber of Commerce; The Olympia Cafe; Stunt Puppy; Bad Conceptual Art)

TOM DAVIS – 1 segment (The Franken and Davis Show)
AL FRANKEN – 1 segment (The Franken and Davis Show)




Best Shows:

1. Steve Martin/Blues Brothers (4/22/78)
2. Robert Klein/Bonnie Raitt (1/28/78)
3. Buck Henry/Sun Ra (5/20/78)

Worst Shows:

1. Madeline Kahn/Taj Mahal (10/8/77)
2. Chevy Chase/Billy Joel (2/18/78)
3. Jill Clayburgh/Eddie Money (3/18/78)

Best Hosts:

1. Steve Martin
2. Buck Henry
3. Michael Palin

Worst Hosts:

1. Hugh Hefner
2. Michael Sarrazin
3. Art Garfunkel

Best Musical Guests:

1. Elvis Costello
2. Ray Charles
3. The Blues Brothers

Worst Musical Guests:

1. Keith Jarrett
2. Libby Titus
3. Ashford & Simpson

This was a really tough list to make and a lot of the ‘worst’ categories are just the weakest by default.


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

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.


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

by Brendan Wahl

(Season 3, Episode 17)

This episode is otherwise known as Who?/Who?, Who?

The Show:

No teaser this week. I think this is when they were finally phased out of the show altogether.

1. Cold Opening: The President’s Message on Inflation (3:31)

President Carter (Aykroyd) comes up with the perfect solution for the country’s economic woes: he asks every American to burn 8% of their money, thus doing away with the rising inflation.

– The little joke at the beginning about giving a “plantside chat” was good for a chuckle.
– This was some pretty cutting satire to open the show and Aykroyd’s decision to have people burn 8% of their money was pretty hilarious. I also loved his ashtray that said “The Buck Burns Here!”
– Laraine was a good addition here as Amy Carter.
Rating: *** 1/2

2. Monologue (1:17)

Michael talks about the bad omens occurring on this same day he is hosting this episode of SNL like it being the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic as well as the day John Wilkes-Booth, an actor, assassinated Abraham Lincoln.

– Very short monologue and not really all that funny at all. Sarrazin was looking really nervous here. Not a good omen for HIM.
Rating: * 1/2

3. Angora Bouquet (1:15)

– Repeat from Hugh Hefner/Libby Titus (10/15/77).
Rating: *****

4. Josh Ramsay, V.D. Caseworker (10:41)

In this After-School Special, Peter Fonda (Sarrazin) plays Josh Ramsay, a V.D. counselor who comes to a high school to teach about the dangers of the sexually-transmitted diseases one can get. One young woman, Susie (Newman) asks him about it and gets tested. When it is discovered she has contracted a venereal disease, her boyfriend Johnny (Murray) also finds it difficult to urinate. A final meeting is scheduled for Susie, Johnny, his parents (Aykroyd & Radner), and Ramsay himself to settle things.

– This is definitely one of my all-time favourite sketches. I loved everything about this sketch from the forced over-the-top acting to the smartly-written dialogue to many various sight gags that take place throughout the sketch.
– Let’s see, my favourite parts were probably Aykroyd and Radner’s performances as the parents (“Alright, she can come in but she can’t use the bathroom!”), Susie getting outed about having venereal disease over the loudspeaker, and Bill’s shouting while he’s in the bathroom, followed by him saying, “Boy, my penis sure hurts when I urinate.”
– Sarrazin was fine here but he looked like he was reading directly off the cue cards at times.
– The last scene is easily the best one and one of the most well-acted bits in SNL history. Seriously, it’s that good.
Rating: *****

5. Keith Jarrett performs “Country” (4:49)

– An all-jazz piano instrumental is what we are treated to here. Pardon me while I fall the fuck asleep. Seriously, I can appreciate a lot of music but this was so boring to watch. His stupid facial reactions and movements were pretty annoying too. Not my cup of tea, I guess.
– Oh my God. END NOW PLEASE.

6. The Hate Jennifer Show (5:30)

Judy Miller (Radner) is back and this time she imagines her own show based on her hatred of her sister, Jennifer.

– I love this character from Gilda. It’s a shame she only got to do it twice. Although I suppose she played a lot of child roles that are very similar to Judy.
– With most other actresses, this would die with the audience and be way over-the-top/annoying and just serve as a star vehicle for them. This sketch, however, just proves Gilda’s fearlessness as a sketch performer. She committs herself wholly to this character and tosses herself around the room like a rag doll at times.
– Gilda making up with Jennifer at the end was a really nice ending too and gave the character another dimension.
Rating: *****

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

– The Mets lick Montreal.

8. WEEKEND UPDATE w/Dan Aykroyd & Jane Curtin (10:57)
Guests:Bill Murray, Laraine Newman, and Roseanne Roseannadanna

Best Jokes: Edward Kennedy/Suzy Chapstick; Bert Lance; Orson Welles

– Bill Murray does a review of American Hot Wax and hypes up the ‘star’ of the film, Laraine Newman. The footage of the interview with Laraine was pretty funny with Bill’s usual faux-charming persona and Laraine’s attitude matches it really well. It does a real good job of parodying all those pointless Hollywood interviews that never cover any relevant topics. I also loved how they were supposed to be in L.A. and mentioned that Central Park could be seen through the window.
– Another Point/Counterpoint segment occurs this week. It’s got more good material like the one from two weeks ago, but isn’t quite as quick-witted as their first one. Plus, Dan didn’t say “Jane, you ignorant slut!” What gives?
– Roseanne Roseannadanna gives the final commentary of the night and responds to a letter from a concerned woman looking for a job during the springtime. Gilda hits the usual beats of this character and knocks it out of the park again like she usually does. She’s been on a roll tonight with her being the highlight of the last three sketches (including this one).
– The jokes were very scarce this week and not as great as usual.
Rating: *** 1/2

9. Penalty Box (4:10)

One french hockey player (Aykroyd) who’s constantly in the box makes conversation with anyone that stops by including one young man (Sarrazin) from the opposing team that he knew from before.

– Pretty funny sketch that reminded me a lot of something you would see on SCTV with Dave Thomas and maybe Joe Flaherty.
– Bill Murray has “Novello” written on his back, probably as a reference to Don Novello originally being in this sketch but getting injured during the dress rehearsal.
– This was probably Michael’s best performance of the night and he did a pretty convincing Quebecer accent.
Rating: *** 1/2

10. E. Buzz Miller’s Exercise World (3:33)

Sleazebag E. Buzz Miller (Aykroyd) showcases some erotic exercises with the help of his sexy assistant, Christy Christina (Newman).

– Hilarious sketch.
– Dan plays a couple of different sleazebags but he still manages to make this character different from people like Irwin Mainway. I particularly liked his glee at Newman’s various exercise maneuvers and him making a whole bunch of sexually suggestive remarks.
– Newman was also very funny here as the airhead character.
Rating: ****

11. Keith Jarrett performs “My Song” (4:05)

– Oh wonderful, he gets two songs. I will quote Stooge here by saying, “No. Just…no.”

12. Schiller’s Reel: La Dolce Gilda (3:28)

This Fellini-esque piece chronicles a party that Gilda enjoys with several other actors until she finally gets frustrated and must leave.

– This is quite possibly the best film that Tom ever did on the show. It serves as a genius work of film and a wonderful and touching tribute to Gilda all at the same time. It was especially heartbreaking to watch the scenes with Gilda telling the spectator to go away but then asking them to come closer afterwards. It somewhat represented her real-life celebrity persona.
Rating: *****

Bill Murray sits in the audience dressed as Abraham Lincoln in a pretty clever reference to the monologue from earlier.

13. Archaeologicus (3:46)

Tina Gemini (Newman) examines the treasures of Morton Kamen, an old Jewish man that died in Florida.

– Pretty clever sketch with Laraine playing a lady from the future who is fascinated by the strange customs of a regular old Jewish man who had died.
– Laraine is having a really good night.
Rating: ***

14. Gravity performs “Tuba City Gitback” (3:27)

– Oh, great. More jazz music. This wasn’t nearly as bad as the Keith Jarrett performances though and was actually a decent, bouncy tune.

15. Goodnights

– Oh, look. Michael Sarrazin! I forgot he was there. Dan Aykroyd totally shunned him too.

OVERALL: When I did my calculations according to the ratings that were assigned to the sketches, it came out looking like one of the best shows of the year so far. While it’s definitely not the top one for me, this was an episode that boasted at least three bona fide classics (Schiller, VD Caseworker, & Judy Miller) and lots of great material aside from that as well. In fact, aside from a one-minute barely-a-monologue segment, the show was outstanding from top-to-bottom, never faltering once except for maybe a few more weak Update jokes than usual. Sarrazin was a pretty useless host but he was only in two sketches and was okay in the hockey one so he didn’t really impact the show one way or another.


HOST: MICHAEL SARRAZIN – 3 segments (Monologue; Josh Ramsay: V.D. Caseworker; Penalty Box)

DAN AYKROYD – 6 segments (The President’s Message on Inflation; Josh Ramsay: V.D. Caseworker; Weekend Update; Penalty Box; E. Buzz Miller’s Exercise World; La Dolce Gilda)
JOHN BELUSHI – 3 segments (Josh Ramsay: V.D. Caseworker; Penalty Box; La Dolce Gilda)
JANE CURTIN – 3 segments (Angora Bouquet; Josh Ramsay: V.D. Caseworker; Weekend Update)
GARRETT MORRIS – 2 segments (Josh Ramsay: V.D. Caseworker; Penalty Box)
BILL MURRAY – 4 segments (Angora Bouquet; Josh Ramsay: V.D. Caseworker; Weekend Update; Penalty Box)
LARAINE NEWMAN – 6 segments (The President’s Message on Inflation; Josh Ramsay: V.D. Caseworker; Weekend Update; E. Buzz Miller’s Exercise World; La Dolce Gilda; Archaeologicus)
GILDA RADNER – 4 segments (Josh Ramsay: V.D. Caseworker; The Hate Jennifer Show; Weekend Update; La Dolce Gilda)

TOM DAVIS – 1 segment (Penalty Box)

EPISODE MVPs: Laraine Newman/Gilda Radner

by Brendan Wahl

(Season 3, Episode 16)

I’ve been away for a real long time. Sorry gang! Well I decided to do a little bonus review before I tackle Anna Faris/Drake tomorrow. I know I haven’t been keeping up with my Season 3 reviews so well, so here’s another one featuring Monty Pythoner Michael Palin taking the reigns of host. Only five more shows left in this season!

The Show:

“Grandma Walton Tries To Tie Her Shoelace” will not be seen tonight.

1. Cold Opening: The Oscars (3:57)

After Vanessa Redgrave’s (Curtin) stunning speech in which she condemns the Jewish Defense League, several other people are brought on-stage to commend her like Yasser Arafat (Belushi), Anwar Sadat (Morris), and finally President Jimmy Carter (Aykroyd).

– Hilarious cold opening and some brilliant political satire while at the same time, it did an excellent job of attacking the Oscars and the speeches made by some of the far-left celebrities that use it as a plateau for their political views.
– Jane was terrific here with a very understated performance and I particularly liked her beginning the speech by saying “there are so many people to condemn.”
– There were more funny moments here from Belushi-as-Yasser and even Garrett got a few laughs as Anwar Sadat though I have to agree with Harry Shearer that it’s a rather weak impression overall. Aykroyd as President Carter here was the absolute highlight though, especially the best line of the night that he spouts: “I’m sick and tired of people using the Oscars as a platform to recognize outstanding achievement in the motion picture arts.”
Rating: ****

2. Monologue (5:03)

Michael’s manager Sid Biggs (Palin) comes out instead and tries to stall for time while our host gets ready in the backstage area. He talks about how wonderful of a client Michael is and then demonstrates a trick that one of his other clients does: stuffing cats into his pants after putting some seafood salad down there as well.

– One of the rare occasions where the host did a character for the monologue instead of being themselves. One can’t be that surprised that Palin would do something like this though; he was very funny and his timing was impeccable.
– PETA would have a field day with the “cats” trick that he does here but it was very funny because it was so bizarre and out there. Apparently, one of the cats didn’t think it was so nice and they took a dump in his pants.
Rating: **** 1/2

3. Little Chocolate Donuts (:57)
– Repeat from Buck Henry/Leon Redbone (11/19/77).
Rating: *****

4. IRS Confession (4:47)

A priest (Palin) speaks to an IRS agent (Aykroyd) in the confession booth and gets interrogated about his tax returns while trying to help another man (Morris) with his tax issues.

– Decent sketch with funny performances from both Dan and Michael, who was more or less playing the straight man here but did a great job of it.
– Bill Murray’s appearance was very funny in a dry, Murray-esque way.
– The highlight of the sketch is the appearance of John Belushi as Lowell Brock from those H&L Brock sketches in Year 1.
Rating: ***

5. The Seagull (5:56)

Michael Palin himself presents a challenge for himself: he will attempt to perform a scene from Chekov’s The Seagull all the while being trapped in a straitjacket and locked in a trunk. Meanwhile, the other actors (Curtin and Murray) proceed like normal while Michael attempts to get out in time for his cue.

– This was a very strange high-concept sketch but it works really well here due to the great sense of humour of the host and the theatrical acting from Bill and Jane.
– Of course the best part was Michael attermpting to break out of the trunk all the while the actors are trying to perform a serious scene from a well-known play. I have no idea how they kept their composure.
– The character break at the end coupled with Michael’s freakout about not breaking the record was a good capper and I loved how it lead into a brief reference to The Lumberjack Song.
Rating: *** 1/2

6. Eugene Record sings “Have You Seen Her?” (3:48)

– One of those talk-sing types of tunes but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. I can imagine Samuel L. Jackson doing this type of act for some reason.
– Loved the background with the giant jukebox.

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

– Suzy Chapstick gains 200 pounds.

8. WEEKEND UPDATE w/Dan Aykroyd & Jane Curtin (7:48)
Guests: Lee Kim and John Belushi

Best Jokes: fig neutron; Billy Carter; suicide rate; John Wayne

– The Sirhan Wrap sponsor bit at the beginning was great.
– Akira Yoshimura makes an appearance here as Tung-Sun Park or at least that’s who says he is. He’s awkward mostly because Akira is not an actor but it’s an amusing segment nonetheless especially with Dan taking his bribe money and Jane dismissing him as being a fraud.
– Jane has a great ad-lib about the crowd’s non-response to one of her jokes (“How quickly they turn”)
– John Belushi delivers another one of his manic rants, this time on the closing down of Radio City Music Hall. It’s another great rant by John that escalates to an almost-violent plateau and of course, John goes wildly off-topic. Jane always plays off him so well in these bits too.
Rating: *** 1/2

9. Nerds Piano Lesson (6:42)

Lisa Loopner (Radner) awaits her teacher Mr. Brighton (Palin) to teach her the ways of the piano all while Todd (Murray) does everything in his power to annoy and distract her.

– Classic sketch. This is the first time the Nerds get their own proper sketch and they get to flesh out the characters a lot more. Bill Murray, in particular, really excels as Todd DiLaMuca (still named LaBounta at this time) and plays him in total Bill Murray mode with a healthy dose of smarmy class and playfulness.
– The chemistry between Bill and Gilda is really what elevates these sketches though and it would only get more and more focused. Watching this sketch, you can pretty much tell that the two of them were fairly close (they were dating at the time).
– Palin does real well here too as the straight-laced teacher and then ramps up the creep factor when he starts hitting on Gilda’s character. I also like how he responded when Gilda told him his fly was open.
– Let’s not leave out Jane as Gilda’s mother though. She’s always very committed to any character she plays.
Rating: *****

10. The Forgotten Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (8:55)

A coked-up Sherlock Holmes (Palin) has trouble staying focused on his various cases and instead lives his life as a paranoid detective who can become agitated at the slightest things.

– This was a hilarious sketch and had one of the strangest introductions. Palin starring as Orson Welles stumbling in a filmed introduction was quite good (especially with the off-screen voice constantly correcting him on his grammar).
– Palin walking around with the rolled-up dollar bill up his nose was a great sight gag coupled with the weird things he did like play violin and shoot at a target on the wall.
– Jane was very funny as the maid (“You should eat more and sleep more and do a little less cocaine”) and Aykroyd was quite good as well as the stuffy Dr. Watson, who is also concerned with Holmes’ consumption of the illicit drug.
– I especially liked the bit where Palin told Aykroyd some man’s life story simply by looking at him but then learning that it was simply a statue.
– Loved Bill Murray’s cockney accent.
Rating: **** 1/2

11. Party Arguments (4:10)

A young couple (Murray & Newman) argue about a party they’re planning to go to with the wife feeling as if the husband will make an ass of himself rather than talk to her.

– A nice, quiet Marilyn Suzanne Miller piece with some great dialogue and good acting from Bill and Laraine.
– I especially liked the story about Bill laying face-down in the street yelling “DISCO!” and then Bill responding by saying he was only kidding.
– By the way, I definitely sided with Bill’s character here. Just saying.
Rating: ****

12. Eugene Record sings “Trying To Get To You” (3:25)

– A tune that was quite a bit different than the first as it included all singing while not really relying on any of that talking that the first one had. Another fine performance.

13. The Mr. Bill Show: Mr. Bill Pays Taxes (2:02)

The usual stuff occurs with the devious Mr. Hands and Sluggo while Mr. Bill attempts to pay his taxes.

– Didn’t we just have one of these in the previous episode?
– Nevertheless, this was another decent installment and the abuse of Mr. Bill is usually pretty entertaining to watch. I particularly liked H&R Sluggo saying that his taxes literally cost him an arm and a leg.
Rating: *** 1/2

13. Danger Probe (3:21)

In this short-lived recurring sketch, host Dave Mable (Aykroyd) chronicles the story of an 18th century Belgian fop (Palin) and a Spanish blackamoor (Morris) being threatened by a bigoted former rapust (Al Franken) and a bigoted equipment operator (Belushi) who has been known to use martial arts.

– Following the theme of tonight’s episode, this was another absurd idea but it was made entertaining by the performances and Aykroyd made a great Dragnet-like host.
– Al Franken was really good here as a backwards southern racist but Belushi was terrific too with his almost-unintelligible dialogue. Palin and Morris, of course, don’t fit in at all and that is the reason why this sketch works so well.
– The ending where Mable and the authorities bust in was a good one too.
Rating: *** 1/2

14. Goodnights

– Palin shows the two cats to let the audience know that they’re perfectly fine.

OVERALL: Excellent show this week with a great performance from Michael Palin as the host. Not every single sketch was a classic (The Seagull was above-average and the IRS Confession segment was good) but everything worked here. There was not a single segment that I disliked but that’s pretty much par for the course when it comes to this season in general.


HOST: MICHAEL PALIN – 6 segments (Monologue; IRS Confession; The Seagull; Nerds Piano Lesson; The Forgotten Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes [2 roles]; Danger Probe)

DAN AYKROYD – 5 segments (The Oscars; IRS Confession; Weekend Update; The Forgotten Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes; Danger Probe)
JOHN BELUSHI – 6 segments (The Oscars; Little Chocolate Donuts; IRS Confession; Weekend Update; The Forgotten Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes; Danger Probe)
JANE CURTIN – 6 segments (The Oscars; IRS Confession; The Seagull; Weekend Update; Nerds Piano Lesson; The Forgotten Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes)
GARRETT MORRIS – 3 segments (The Oscars; IRS Confession; Danger Probe)
BILL MURRAY – 6 segments (The Oscars; IRS Confession; The Seagull; Nerds Piano Lesson; The Forgotten Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes; Party Arguments)
LARAINE NEWMAN – 3 segments (The Oscars; The Seagull; Party Arguments)
GILDA RADNER – 3 segments (The Seagull; Nerds Piano Lesson; The Forgotten Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes)

TOM DAVIS – 2 segments (Little Chocolate Donuts; Danger Probe)
AL FRANKEN – 1 segment (Danger Probe)

EPISODE MVP: Dan Aykroyd

by Brendan Wahl

(Season 3, Episode 15)

Keep in mind that immediately upon arriving in New York to Studio 8H, Christopher told all the cast and writers that he did not want to play Dracula in any segments and that he was tired of doing the character he had made famous back in the 1960s within the old Hammer horror films.

The Show:

“101 Dalmatians Get Run Over by 101 Moving Vans” will not be seen tonight…

1. Cold Opening: John’s New Name (2:50)

As Bill Murray and Gilda Radner discuss John Belushi’s newfound fame, Gilda mentions that the network has made John change his name to Kevin Scott as the start of an all-new image for the reckless castmember. “Kevin” soon enters the locker room and tells his compadres to just treat him as they would always have treated him despite the image change.

– There were a lot of these backstage cold opens back in the day and for the most part they’re funny because it gives the cast the opportunity to just be themselves and act loose. This one was pretty decent.
– There’s a really funny bit at the end where Belushi pronounces the “live” in LFNY like a word rhyming with give instead. He then just quickly corrects himself at the end of it and you can noticeably see Bill and Gilda crack up at the very end. I wonder if this was intentional. John made it look so real but the fact that Bill and Gilda broke character makes me think that it might’ve been an honest mistake.
– Gilda’s explanation of how everyone is being bumped up one notch at NBC was pretty funny, especially how Tom Snyder was being replaced on Tomorrow with Grizzly Adams.
Rating: ***

2. Monologue (7:27)

Christopher talks about some awful ideas he’s been given for horror movies and adds that he didn’t accept every one of them. He then shows a trio of movie trailers that he didn’t agree to star in. The Island of Lost Luggage features a young woman (Newman) who suddenly can’t find her suitcase on an island run by a scientist (Morris) and his assistant (Radner). The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave is almost semi-biographical featuring a beastly man (Belushi) who simply won’t leave a couple’s (Curtin & Murray) home. Finally, Dr. Jekyll and Mister Rogers features Vincent Price (Aykroyd) playing scientist Dr. Jekyll, who suddenly transforms into kindly Fred Rogers when he drinks a concoction from his laboratory.

– Longest. Description. Ever.
– Christopher’s dialogue before the trailers was pretty amusing, especially when he mentioned his role as Trixie in The Honeymooners. I also liked some of the other films that he rejected like The Creature from the Black Studies Program.
Lost Luggage was amusing, especially because of Garrett’s strange performance as the scientist. Gilda’s facial expressions were funny as well.
The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave was especially funny because of it being rooted in reality. Belushi was known for his incessant need to crash at friends’ houses and just never seem to leave. That had to be the basis for this hilarious piece. Jane’s over-dramatic screaming made this even better but Belushi was also great with his very dry delivery.
– The final trailer was perhaps the funniest as Aykroyd did a perfect imitation of Price-as-Mister Rogers and I love how that was seemingly more terrifying and dangerous than his creepy scientist character. Also, how did Laraine get changed so quickly to be in this bit as well as the first trailer?
– Tom Davis as the announcer in all three trailers was pitch-perfect, especially his last line: “Just keep saying to yourself… it’s educational… it’s educational…”
Rating: ****

3. Speech Therapy (5:46)

In an obvious take-off of My Fair Lady, Professor Henry Higgins (Lee) along with his assistant, Colonel Pickering (Aykroyd), is assigned to help Baba Wawa (Radner) learn the English language properly. Specifically, he is tasked with the dubious responsibility of teaching her how to pronounce her R’s.

– A clever way to utilize Christopher’s theatre acting background and also a brilliant way to insert Gilda’s Baba Wawa into a sketch where it isn’t just a straight interview with her and some celebrity.
– I like the immediate reference to Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady being an ungrateful woman.
– All the musical cue teases were hilarious and I like how they didn’t turn this into a musical sketch like everyone was probably expecting.
– The ending was especially funny with Christopher and Dan’s characters speaking just like Baba instead of her being cured.
Rating: *** 1/2

4. Meat Loaf sings “No Place to Go” (3:39)

– Christopher Lee’s cheeky introduction to the musical guest was pretty amusing (“I would like you to meet… Loaf!”)
– Great energetic coked-up performance by Loaf here. Everytime I see this guy perform, it makes me appreciate Chris Farley’s impression of him even more because it was so spot-on.

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

– David Brenner looks back…

6. Weekend Update w/Dan Aykroyd & Jane Curtin (9:35)
Guests: John Belushi and Bill Murray

Best Jokes: pay-toilets; Spinks/Norton fight; Sesame Street

– Funny introductions.
– In the first commentary, “Kevin Scott” (Belushi) goes into detail about the problems involving giant oil tankers with the aid of a toy model. As he describes the way the tanker moves, John gets some fake oil all over Dan’s face despite his attempts to get out of the way. To be quite honest, this didn’t really get a great reaction and kinda fell flat.
– Bill Murray debuts his Oscar Predictions segment and it gets a great overall crowd reaction. My favourite comments from Bill were about John Travolta, Marcello Mastroianni, the “who cares” comments regarding the supporting actors/actresses, and the way he goes about choosing the best picture winner.
– We get the debut of Point/Counterpoint, which focuses on the notion of the validity of the point/counterpoint concept itself. Jane starts off with a really good string of comments but Dan seals the segment with “Jane, you ignorant slut” and thus, a monster is born.
– Update started off slow, but got really good with the second commentary and the point/counterpoint segment.
Rating: ****

7. Mr. Death (6:08)

Shortly after a young girl’s (Newman) puppy has been killed, she is visited by Death (Lee), who explains to her why he does the ghastly things that he has to do and apologizes for taking away her precious dog.

– This is a fairly well-remembered classic. In fact, in Christopher Lee’s autobiography he mentions that he was approached by Lorne Michaels himself who told Mr. Lee that it was one of the most fondly-remembered sketches in the show’s history.
– This sketch also has a backstory involving Laraine Newman threatening to quit the show unless she was given the main role here as she was tired of getting looked over for major parts on the show. Once she found out it was Alan Zweibel and Gilda Radner who co-wrote the sketch with Gilda in mind for the part she was devastated and felt very badly about it.
– The actual sketch though? It’s a brilliant bit of writing and performances. Christopher’s delivery is wonderfully dry and serves this sketch perfectly. This may have been one of the best pieces ever written by Zweibel, who was a very prolific writer to begin with.
– My favourite parts are Lee looking over his scroll, his comments about Richard Harris and Nick Nolte, Death confessing that he doesn’t like small animals, and especially his remark at the end about visiting the girl again on her 15th birthday.
Rating: *****

8. Suggestions for Sadat (1:35)

Anwar Sadat (Morris) is so frustrated that he asks people to mail in suggestions for what he should do with his regime in Egypt.

– Quick piece and Morris did a decent job here. It was fairly one-note though.
Rating: ** 1/2

9. Gary Weis Film: Cold as Ice (3:08)

A music video set to the “Cold as Ice” by Foreigner in which a young homicidal woman slowly kills a man (Stacy Keach).

– I have done my fair share of criticizing Gary Weis’ oddball taste in filmmaking but I rather appreciated this strange yet well-made video.
– Stacy Keach showing up is a pretty awesomely random cameo too even though no one in this really had any lines or anything. He was still good though with his facial expressions and body language. Whoever played the woman was real good too.
Rating: *** 1/2

10. Del Stator’s Rabbit Hut (1:47)

Del Stator (Aykroyd) presents a restaurant where families can pick out their rabbits from a number of cages right by the entrance.

– Pretty funny commercial parody. I especially liked the little kid nearly crying before taking a bite out of a rabbit and then proclaiming it “better than chicken!”
– Not a classic like some of Danny’s other commercial parodies though but it was still funny just for the premise alone.
Rating: ***

11. Nixon’s Memoirs (6:31)

As Richard Nixon (Aykroyd) finally completes his memoirs, Maureen Dean (Curtin) enlists the help of a vampire slayer (Lee) and his assistant Carl (Belushi) to destroy the book before it can be released upon the unsuspecting public. Nixon does everything in his power to thwart their attempts.

– What do you do when Christopher Lee refuses to play Dracula in a sketch? Why, you cleverly work around that blockade, that’s what! This was a brilliant way to utilize the host in a horror movie setting and also to make mention of the news involving Nixon’s book release.
– Aykroyd was fantastic as Nixon here, making him even creepier than usual to have him resemble Dracula as well as the former president.
– One of the more scathing indictments of Nixon to be sure.  The ending was great too with Nixon starting to type his book all over again after it had been stabbed.
Rating: **** 1/2

12. Stand-Up: Richard Belzer (5:09)

– Not bad. I liked the wedding singer/Rolling Stones medley, his Mick Jagger impression, and the brief bit where his hand was caught in his hair. The Bob Dylan bit at the end was brutal though.
Rating: ***

13. Meat Loaf sings “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad” (3:51)

– Even better performance than the first one. This man has energy up the yin-yang. You don’t think he was chemically-enhanced in any way, do you?!

14. The Mr. Bill Show: Mr. Bill’s Circus (2:20)

At the circus, Mr. Bill is tortured once again by Mr. Hands and Sluggo, this time by cutting off his arm with helium balloons and shooting him out of a cannon for example.

– The usual hijinx. It’s a bit of a waste of time going into details about this recurring segment but this one was pretty funny. This hadn’t really gotten old yet at this point in time.
Rating: *** 1/2

15. Goodnights

– Laraine and Gilda give flowers to Christopher, who looks elated with the whole experience.


OVERALL: A pretty strong show that didn’t sport any bad sketches aside from a below-average piece with Garrett as Anwar Sadat, but even that was still okay. Christopher Lee was a really good host, giving everything a sense of class and poise no matter how silly the concepts were. There was a lot of good material on this episode but it also contained two bonafide classics (Mr. Death and Nixon’s Memoirs) and a slew of great performances from cast and host alike. Unfortunately, Mr. Lee would never come back and host but his presence on this one episode is enough to give him a good reputation on the program.


HOST: CHRISTOPHER LEE – 4 segments (Monologue; Speech Therapy; Mr. Death; Nixon’s Memoirs)
FILMED CAMEO: STACY KEACH – 1 segment (Cold as Ice)


DAN AYKROYD – 5 segments (Monologue; Speech Therapy; Weekend Update; Del Stator’s Rabbit Hut; Nixon’s Memoirs)
JOHN BELUSHI – 4 segments (John’s New Name; Monologue; Weekend Update; Nixon’s Memoirs)
JANE CURTIN – 6 segments (Monologue; Speech Therapy; Weekend Update; Mr. Death; Del Stator’s Rabbit Hut; Nixon’s Memoirs)
GARRETT MORRIS – 2 segments (Monologue; Suggestions for Sadat)
BILL MURRAY – 4 segments (John’s New Name; Monologue; Weekend Update; Del Stator’s Rabbit Hut)
LARAINE NEWMAN – 3 segments (Monologue [2 roles]; Mr. Death; Del Stator’s Rabbit Hut)
GILDA RADNER – 4 segments (John’s New Name; Monologue; Speech Therapy; Del Stator’s Rabbit Hut)


TOM DAVIS – 1 segment (Del Stator’s Rabbit Hut)


Episode MVP: Dan Aykroyd