Posts Tagged ‘andy kaufman’

by Brendan Wahl

(Season 3, Episode 13)

Paul Simon was on the show frequently, but this is Artie’s first and only time as a host. He has also never appeared as a musical guest. To be fair though, Simon ended up a lot more popular than ol’ Big-Hair.

The Show:

“Jacques Cousteau Gets an Undersea Enema” will not be seen tonight. Darn…

1. Modern Crimes (1:51)

In a spoof on the recent events involving the theft of Charlie Chaplin’s body, two men (Aykroyd & Belushi) attempt to steal the body of the Tramp himself (Radner) while trying to not be thwarted by a police officer (Murray) on patrol.

– I had to look up the news item in question because I had no idea this actually happened, but let me tell you my friends, it was well worth it.
– Doing the entire thing as a silent movie parody was obvious and brilliant at the same time. I especially loved Belushi clearly mouthing “let’s get the fuck out of here,” but the caption leaves out the profanity.
– Murray is also great as the cop, swirling his baton around in a hilariously over-the-top way.
– The LFNY part was pretty clever too.
– The camera lingered on the sketch a BIT long, it seemed. After Radner opened the show, you could see Danny and John start to smile and begin to walk away.
**** 1/2

2. Monologue (4:44)

Art comes out to sing “Wonderful World” with Stephen Bishop (the Sam Cooke one; not the Louis Armstrong one), but falls victim to the faulty microphones and sound system. John Belushi comes out to defend him and rag on the network for mistreating the show, but his rant soon turns towards Garfunkel instead when Art refuses to join in on the NBC-bashing.

– Belushi was his usual hilarious, manic, ranting self here and I’m glad he interrupted so we got a proper monologue rather than a song at the top of the show. John’s acting here was great and it proved to me that he probably could have had a real future with dramatic work, even.
– Art plays a good victim of slow burn here and he still had quite a bit of difficulty at maintaining a straight face in front of John’s theatrics.
– Best line: “There’s no reason why Garrett Morris should have to get up early and drive Jane Pauley to work every single morning.”

3. Art Garfunkel & Stephen Bishop sing “Wonderful World” (2:24)

– I’m making this and the monologue two separate segments because that’s what the SNL Archives did and it makes sense to me…
– This was a pretty good performance. It’s a shame that Garfunkel never really did much post-breakup.

4. Kromega III (1:43)

Repeat from Steve Martin/Jackson Browne (9/24/77).
*** 1/2

5. Tomorrow (4:29)

Tom Snyder (Aykroyd) interviews a battered husband (Garfunkel); a man who wants to be left anonymous as he sits in the dark. However, Tom has a hard time concealing the identity of the young man as he drops the man’s name by mistake and several other obvious indicators related to who the man is.

– A home-run recurring impression for Danny. He really nails Snyder’s cadence and in particular, he does a great job with the little side conversations he has with people in the crew and that damn laugh.
– Artie was actually pretty good here too, as he talks about being caught masturbating by his abusive wife and then getting increasingly frustrated by Snyder’s comments that give away his identity.
– Aykroyd’s quick description of who his guest was at the end of the sketch was pretty amusing too thanks to his rapid-fire delivery.

6. Stephen Bishop sings “On and On” (3:03)

– This was a hugely popular song at the time. I think pretty much anyone would recognize it as soon as it starts playing.
– Bishop is certainly a talented musician and it makes for a pretty good performance. Nothing outstanding, but it’s a nice song.
– His set was really cool, too. I miss when musicians were able to have influence on their own backdrops and stuff. Although it seems like that’s picked up a bit recently with Kanye West and Cee Lo Green this past season.
– Is he actually real good friends with Garfunkel? Anyone know? I know he would go on to do the theme song for Animal House so there’s a connection to Belushi. He’s also in the movie as the hippie who gets his guitar broken by John.

7. Miracle In Chicago (4:12)

At an Irish pub, the bartender (Aykroyd) complains about the jukebox people not including “Tura Lura Lura,” especially because it’s St. Patrick’s Day. One of the patrons, a construction worker (Murray), discusses the possibility of the deceased Mayor Daley making an appearance this year.

– This sketch meant well, but was lacking in the laughs department.
– Belushi looked funny as Daley and had a couple of amusing moments, explaining that his theory on “one vote – one turkey” has changed.

8. KISS Concert (4:24)

A security guard (Belushi) employs some tough measures when several people attempt to get into the backstage area at a KISS concert including a “friend of Peter Criss’,” Stephen Bishop, and many others.

– This was a funny walk-on sketch that had many funny characters from Garfunkel being the brother of Paul Stanley, who escaped the air force just to see his brother and the first appearance of Bill Murray’s smarmy agent character, Jerry Eldini.
– Belushi’s exchange with Stephen Bishop (“I hate that song!”) was a really funny exchange as well.
– Did Danny look freaky in that Paul Stanley getup or what? Yikes.
*** 1/2

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

– Elizabeth Taylor being force-fed for charity.

10. WEEKEND UPDATE w/Dan Aykroyd & Jane Curtin (9:15)
Guests: Garrett Morris & Bill Murray

Best Jokes: Orson Welles; violent police force; Charlie Chaplin; Larry Flynt shooting; Bubbles the Hippo

– The sponsor bit (“Hershey Highway”) was hilarious but got barely any reaction.
– Garrett does the first commentary as “scientist, Dr. Garrett Morris” to introduce a new medical piece of business that will stop blood clots in their path. It seemed to be going nowhere at first with Garrett stumbling over many of his lines, but the Mighty Mouse footage was pretty funny and saved it. I also liked the bit at the end where Danny and Garrett talk about how glad they are that President Nixon had the affliction.
– Bill Murray’s bit is on the “Hanoi Jane” controversy, but then he segues into a review of Coming Home and praises Fonda’s political activism. Murray then declares his opposition to the Vietnam War and solemnly states that he doesn’t care what it does to his career, despite the protests being over for nearly ten years.
– Aykroyd being caught with his feet on the desk was a good capper to the entire segment.

11. Art Garfunkel sings “All I Know” & “Scarborough Fair” (5:44)

– Another performance from Art? Alrighty then, no complaints here. It seems a bit odd though that Bishop hasn’t been given a second performance instead.
– Artie does really well by himself and proved that he is no second banana even though history will always see him as “the partner of Paul Simon.”
– It was awesomely awesome to hear “Scarborough Fair;” one of my favourite S&G ditties.

12. Looks At Books (3:35)

Jane Curtin interviews the Nerds (Murray & Radner), who have written a book on the class of ’77. Lisa and Todd proceed to annoy Jane and make dorky remarks as per usual.

– Like I said during their first appearance, these sketches usually work because of Bill and Gilda’s performances and their chemistry together.
– Gilda’s description of different classmates was funny as was Bill’s constant goofy laughing throughout the whole sketch.
– Murray’s character is still being referred to as Todd LaBounta. I believe the character’s name would change when they did this sketch the next time.
– By their next appearance, they finally broke out of the talk-show format and would get involved in some classics. This was still pretty average though; not quite as funny as their first outing.
** 1/2

13. Schiller’s Reel: Don’t Look Back in Anger (3:51)

Sometime in the distant future, an elderly John Belushi visits the graves of his fellow Not Ready for Primetime Players and comments on how each of them died from Dan Aykroyd loving motorcycles too much to Jane Curtin dying from complications with cosmetic surgery. John solemnly states that he misses them all, but suddenly gets a joyful look in his eye when he reveals how he was able to outlive them all.

– This was hard to watch to say the least. The idea of Belushi outliving everyone else on the show is a sad, ironic twist on the same man being dead a mere four years later from this date.
– That being said, this was a classic film piece and probably the best Schiller’s Reel that was ever done.
– The jokes revolving around how each person passed away was pretty funny (although the story about Garrett was eerily close to John’s real fate), but this sketch was done more for mood and tone and that’s where it really excelled.
– John’s performance here is magnificent; this has been a really strong episode for him. The final image of him dancing is not something I’ll easily forget.

14. Andy Kaufman (7:56)

Frequent special guest on SNL, Andy Kaufman, makes his eighth appearance and sports a British accent, “his true voice.” Instead of entertaining the audience with silly characters and goofy songs, he reads The Great Gatsby and keeps going on and on, despite the audience eventually getting visibly pissed off.

– Andy is brilliant. This is perhaps his finest work on the show. It’s an exercise in patience and how much you can get away with in front of a hostile New York audience.
– There is no joke here. Andy just reads the book as the audience chuckles at first at the absurdity of this piece and then some begin loudly coughing and hissing in opposition to the segment.
– Andy has the audience at his whim and command. I particularly liked him teasing them with playing a record and then it ended up being just more audio of him reading the book, but the fake-out with him leaving and then coming back was hilarious too.
– With Lorne Michaels making a quick appearance and whispering to Andy to leave, it gave this a sense of legitimacy.

15. The Looking For Mr. Goodbar Sleepytime Playset (2:10)

(For anyone who is not aware, “Looking For Mr. Goodbar” is a 1977 film based on a true story about a teacher who seemingly had a double life and was always searching for scummy-type guys in bars to take home with her and have rough sex with. She was eventually stabbed, killed, and raped (in that order) when one of these guys didn’t turn out to be as friendly as the rest.)

The toy promoting senseless sex and violence is finally released! As a little girl (Radner) discovers it, the narrator describes the different aspects of this inappropriate children’s playset.

– This is definitely a Michael O’Donoghue piece. It has the dark humour that he is known for and the juxtaposition of the little girl with the dark source material. Classic stuff.
– I liked Gilda using the Teddy Bear purse to save the day (a callback to that sketch where she played a woman stricken with Gidget’s Disease?) and her performance as a little girl was perfect as always.
– This also reminded me of the Creeley’s Soup ad from Julian Bond/Tom Waits, Brick just because of Gilda being the little girl and Bill Murray’s voice as the narrator telling her what to do.
**** 1/2

16. Art Garfunkel sings “Crying in My Sleep” (3:32)

– A FOURTH song from Garfunkel and Bishop only gets two?! And on one of those, he was just back-up for Artie. Wow, good thing I like you, Mr. Garfunkel.
– This was actually my favourite performance from him of the night, actually. I really liked the very ending of the song, which was a little nod to “All I Have to Do Is Dream” by the Everly Brothers.
– Kinda weird how Art was absent on the sketch side of things after Update. In fact, he was only in two sketches all night!

17. Goodnights

– Evidently, the show was running pretty long as Garfunkel very quickly thanks everyone and only about three credits are shown. It wasn’t even 20 seconds.

OVERALL: A big step up from last week’s above-average broadcast. Artie helmed one of the top shows of the season so far with only two sketches that didn’t quite connect and what seemed like classic-after-classic in terms of the other material. Garfunkel himself was a fairly non-descript host; he certainly wasn’t bad, but he only appeared in two sketches (unless you count the monologue) and his other three appearances were musical performances. He never played anything more than deadpan or the straight man, but he was still adequate in his roles. His music was really good, though. Stephen Bishop was a worthy addition and sadly only got one performance, but he made the most out of that and his cameo in the KISS Concert sketch. The real star of this episode though is John Belushi. The man owned this one and delivered some truly great performances. Danny and Billy are close contenders, but this was Belushi’s home run.

BREAKDOWN: (because of the fact that Artie did a lot of music, I will include it. I don’t normally though, nor will I for Stephen Bishop)

HOST: ART GARFUNKEL – 6 segments (Monologue; “Wonderful World;” Tomorrow; KISS Concert; “All I Know” & “Scarborough Fair;” “Crying in My Sleep”)
MUSICAL GUEST: STEPHEN BISHOP – 2 segments (Monologue; KISS Concert)


DAN AYKROYD – 5 segments (Modern Crimes; Tomorrow; Miracle In Chicago; KISS Concert; Weekend Update)
JOHN BELUSHI – 5 segments (Modern Crimes; Monologue; Miracle In Chicago; KISS Concert; Schiller’s Reel)
JANE CURTIN – 3 segments (KISS Concert; Weekend Update; Looks At Books)
GARRETT MORRIS – 2 segments (KISS Concert; Weekend Update)
BILL MURRAY – 5 segments (Modern Crimes; Miracle In Chicago; KISS Concert; Weekend Update; Looks At Books)
LARAINE NEWMAN – 1 segment (KISS Concert)
GILDA RADNER – 3 segments (Modern Crimes; Looks At Books; The Looking For Mr. Goodbar Sleepytime Playset)


TOM DAVIS – 1 segment (KISS Concert)

EPISODE MVP: John Belushi

by Brendan Wahl

(Season 3, Episode 3)

In December of 1953, the very first issue of Playboy Magazine was put on shelves and in mere moments, it was off the shelves. No, not because of some screwy censorship board that had it removed or some lobby group. The publication sold like hot cakes and people read the articles! The man behind this phenomenon was a fresh-faced 27-year old Chi-town resident named Hugh Hefner. He probably didn’t know it when he first got into the business but by this episode in 1977, Hefner was almost a household name just for being associated with the ever-popular Playboy brand. The mansion itself became the source of many wild stories and rumours and the only one who truly knows how many or if ANY are true is our host for this episode, Mr. Hugh Hefner.

The first non-actor host of the season is joined by musical guest Libby Titus. While only 28 at the time, Libby still never really found a whole lot of success in her career. She floundered around with a couple of decent hits but had nothing to set the world on fire and was never in talks for a Grammy or anything. She was still fresh at the time of this episode making for another fairly unknown musical talent that Saturday Night Live was willing to showcase and award some exposure to. 

There’s nothing much more to say except that maybe this will be the sexiest episode ever?


The Show:

1. Playboy’s Party Jokes (:54)

A relatively simple cold open starts this episode off with one Playboy bunny (Newman) attempting to make jokes in front of a crowd, but she is so dense that she can only remember the punchlines to a joke without the setup. It’s a role Newman was able to do well: air-head Valley girl-types, so this is kept rather brief and inoffensive. B-

2. Monologue (2:57)

Hef sports the bathrobe and pipe of course and seemingly takes a rather straight-forward approach to his monologue while cracking a couple of jokes here and there. However, he quickly segueways into a somewhat-creepy rendition of “Thank Heaven For Little Girls” while some text scrolls by on the screen describing Hefner’s fascination with girls in general. Not bad. C+

3. Angora Bouquet (1:15)
-Curtin, Murray

Another classic commercial parody. In this one, a housewife who is not too far removed from a Stepford Wife as she talks about how she is kept submissive and beautiful by the new soap product. Containing miniature tranquilizers, it “washes your brain as well as your face.” This is also a true showcase for Curtin, who really shines in this piece. A

4. Planet of the Men vs. Planet of the Women (4:14)
-Hefner, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Newman, Radner

Well, this kind of sketch was expected. In the distant future, Captain Macho (Hefner), Corporal Hardin (Aykroyd), Lieutenant Testosterone (Belushi), and another corporal (Morris) take aim when they plan to collide with the ship containg the planet of the women and Captain Estrogena (Curtin), Lieutenant Areola (Newman), and Corporal Fellopia (Radner) . The shape of the ships takes an obvious shape but the sex jokes are still funny despite them being pretty cheap for the most part. I guess this is just a guilty pleasure sketch. B+

5. Libby Titus sings “Fool That I Am” (2:59)

As Hef proclaims Libby to be a future superstar, she does her best to prove her worth. Her performance is good. It’s definitely not a standout or anything, but it’s “good enough for government work.” B

6. Anyone Can Host (1:34)

Garrett gets his turn at hyping up the Anyone Can Host contest and goes over the rules and regualtions as well. Much like last week, this isn’t really a comedy segment so I can’t lend a rating to it.

7. X-Police (3:03)
-Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Murray

After a tough study session, two lovers (Belushi & Curtin) decide to cut loose and smoke a joint but before they can get going, two men burst through their door claiming to be former police officers! The X-Police (Aykroyd & Murray) go way overboard in dishing out the punishment to these lawbreakers in humourous fashion. By the conclusion though, the sketch gets really dark and it results in a classic recurring bit. A

8. Circular Bed Sex Research (4:00)
-Hefner, Aykroyd, Curtin

Taking a break from his hectic work life, Hefner helps one of his Playboy bunnies (Curtin) with her research but the distractions keep piling up. Of course, this “research” involves two people having sex at various quadrants to see if they can achieve pi. The sketch gets even more fun as President Carter (Aykroyd) himself shows up to get some advice on headphones and ask if the Secret Service can use the Jaccuzzi. B+

9. Listening To Great Music (3:06)

John Belushi sits down in a classy office and prepares to discuss Ride of the Valkyries, a tune well-known for its impact in the film, Apocalypse Now. It’s a fairly simple premise as Belushi discusses the images that should appear in one’s mind while the song plays but he quickly gets off topic and delves into one of his Weekend Update rants and begins to trash the room. It was an interesting idea to try to make the Belushi rants into a sketch and because of John’s wonderful performance, it works very well. A-

10. Weekend Update with Dan Aykroyd & Jane Curtin (7:32)
-Also: Gilda Radner

A great exchange between Aykroyd and Don Pardo starts off this edition of Update and the laughs remain consistent because immediately after, Jane tells a great story involving a homosexual man throwing a pie in bigot Anita Bryant’s face. They even show the footage in a rare occurrence on Update for the time, but one that would be picked up by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler some-27 years later. During the broadcast, a tour is brought through the set in an oddball throwaway bit with writer Tom Schiller leading the way. No commentaries this week, but we do get “footage” of Nadia Comaneci (Radner) doing some of her trademark cartwheels and flips while looking oppressively adorable. Her little speech was pretty amusing too. The Dancing N also stops by to drop off a note that “cocaine and heroin don’t mix.” B

11. Sex In Cinema (3:00)
-Hefner, Murray, Newman

Hugh (playing himself yet again) presents a clip from an old Cary Grant (Murray) picture to show how censorship has changed over the years. The “one-foot-on-the-floor” rule is broken, making this very harmless movie clip a supposedly controversial one. The close-ups of their feet while the sounds of love-making can be heard is one of the more hilarious aspects of the entire piece. B+

12. 3 R’s (3:10)
-Belushi, Curtin, Radner

Jane hosts a talk show that highlights various aspects of the educational system in the US. Belushi plays a Greek father planning to sue the educational board because despite his daughter, Colleen (Radner), passing high school she is not allowed to attend college. The twist at the end of this sketch salvages it because the rest of it is fairly pointless. C

13. The Story Of H (3:05)

Our host narrates his life story through a quick succession of pictures and clips from his child and adulthood. The tone of it is playful and it seems like Hefner is being a bit sarcastic with his “woe is me” type comments. It’s a well-made piece and the style of which that is never seen on the show. B+

14. The Playboy Philosophy (3:09)
-Hefner, Belushi, Morris

Hef is thrust into a scene from over a thousand years ago as several philosophers ask him of his theories on life. This sketch drags more than the 3 R’s sketch despite its short runtime. It’s just a series of questions that set up some very obvious jokes. D

15. Funeral Magician (6:30)
-Hefner, Aykroyd, Murray, Radner

During a somber scene, a magician named Hartley Raymond (Murray) tries to liven things up with a cheerful magic show involving the deceased’s widow (Radner) and his friend, Gary (Hefner). Much like his lounge singer sketches, Bill Murray shines throughout this whole piece and really carries it on his back. Incredibly he makes this character extremely likeable despite the odd setting and the upbeat nature of his attitude in a completely inappropriate setting. Best sketch of the night. A+

16. Andy Kaufman (6:59)

One of the best special guests the show’s ever had, Kaufman brings his inventive brand of comedy to SNL for the sixth time. This time, he sings “Oklahoma” and a sing-along song with the audience before transforming into the king himself, Elvis Presley. It’s a spot-on impression and Andy absolutely delights the audience with it. This segment should be noted that it really doesn’t contain any jokes or punchlines. It’s just Andy being goofy and entertaining and it makes the whole segment work. A-

17. The Farbers at the Playboy Club (4:47)
-Hefner, Aykroyd, Belushi, Newman, Radner

America’s favourite conservative couple, Bobbi (Radner) and Larry Farber (Belushi) meet with a keyholder (Aykroyd) at the Playboy Club in the hopes to meet the founder of Playboy itself. Despite how uncomfortable Bobbi gets, Larry is only too anxious to pile on the questions for their inside guy, who offers incredulous answers. Of course, Hugh eventually shows up and in an ironic twist, he ends up courting Bobbi and walking her out of the club. It’s another amusing piece from the Farbers. B+

Hugh thanks everyone for such a wonderful time, blows everyone a kiss, and then exchanges hugs with Libby and the cast.

In theory, last week’s episode should have been better than this one. To go from an Oscar-nominated actress to a philanthropist of filth is a pretty big change in direction for the show and it proved that the quality of the host didn’t always dictate the quality of an episode. While Hefner wasn’t awful, he was a very limited host who was clearly happy to just play himself in every sketch or a very quiet man at a funeral. It was probably cool to hang out with the Playboy mogul for the week leading up to the show but he was no Steve Martin, that’s for sure.

Libby Titus only had one chance to shine much like Taj Mahal last week. She did a pretty decent job though and proved to be another pretty good musical guest. I don’t really have too much to say about Libby.

The standout of the cast this week is tough to mention because there were quite a few standouts by everyone this week (outside of poor Garrett Morris) and it all added up to a pretty good episode.


For a second, I thought Laraine was actually naked in the cold open…

Wow, they went all out for Hef this week, even designing the main stage with a big Playboy logo.

“Hi, I’m beautiful and stupid.”

I love how they made the two X-Police victims sound like the nicest, most caring people in the world before the former coppers bursted in. “Another marijuana-related death!”

How come almost every single sketch was three minutes tonight?! That was odd.

It was strange to see Hef in that funeral sketch if only for the fact that he barely had any lines.

Host Rating: C

Musical Guest Rating: B

Show Rating: B+

by Brendan Wahl

(Season 2, Episode 11)

Well, we’ve seen quite a slew of hosts so far this season. We’ve seen some bonafide stand-up comedians (Steve Martin), witty quipsters (Dick Cavett), and even show creators (Norman Lear), but one thing we haven’t had yet is a consumer advocate. Yes folks, before Ralph Nader was thwarting the Democratic and Republican parties, he was working for the people to save them from the greed of evil corporate giants and the dangerous ingredients of various foods and chemicals used in hair dye and other similar products.

Joining the bastion saviour is musician George Benson, who I know very little about besides the fact that he is a jazz musician from the 1970s, who happened to be the musical guest on this edition of Saturday Night Live.

Well, let’s get goin’!

The Show:

1. Ralph’s New Image (3:02)

Ralphie arrives to the show a minute late and is greeted with some trepidation, but the consumer advocate is quick to inform one and all that he is there for one reason — to have fun! Of course, he can’t shut off the alert Ralph Nader and he criticizes the makeup for containing cancer-causing agents and Garrett’s hot dog for containing “rat excrement and rodent hairs.” With an amusing botched visual gag at the end of the sketch, this is a really fun way to open the show. It already gives me hope for Ralph as a host. A-

2. Monologue (1:09)

Of course, Ralph quickly attacks the RCA building that houses the show and NBC as well, so of course the network does their best to censor him. A decent, if thoroughly predictable monologue. B-

3. Long Distance (2:28)

Bill Murray! Yes, it’s the first appearance of Bill Murray (in old man get-up) as he awaits a phone call from his grandson so that they can play chess. It’s a funny play off the old phone company commercials and the dark turn that the sketch (and Murray in particular) take at the end puts it over the top. Terrific debut from Billy. A

4. Televised Execution Rehearsal (4:26)

In a role meant for John Belushi (but he suffered a broken leg, so he is absent for the show), Tom Schiller plays a death row inmate, Dean Slydell. The beauty of this sketch is that this whole thing is a rehearsal for the man’s execution and Bill Murray plays the director of this execution with the appropriate amount of Hollywood smarm. It is a role that Murray excels in and one that he would do many times on the show. A

5. Baba Wawa Talks To Herself (1:31)

Baba (Radner) herself is tired of interviewing boring celebrities so she has decided to interview someone she most respects…herself. In this piece, Baba hypes her interview special by promising “cwever rebawations and wepartee” and that she will make up for her last “cwummy” special. Gilda is wonderful, of course. B+

6. George Benson sings “Masquerade” (3:20)

Nader announces that Benson has just been nominated for five Grammys before George starts crooning. It’s a slow-moving beat with a jazzy tempo to it. Very smooth listen. A-

7. Confederate Takeover (4:48)

Ralphie straps himself securely to his chair before falling asleep and dreaming of an encounter with President-Elect Carter (Aykroyd) where he is allowed to let his suggestions be heard. The tables are turned, however, when Carter dons a confederacy outfit and swears that “the flagrant rape of the confederates by the Yankee war dogs is gonna be avenged.” Carter outlines his plan to punish the Yankees much to the shock of a shaken Nader. I loved the little details of this sketch like Carter offering peanuts, Nader using a seatbelt in his chair, and I especially loved Carter’s war cry. B+

8. Weekend Update with Jane Curtin (10:26)

Before Jane can get started, Belushi calls her up and says that despite his injury, he will be back next week. They discuss the new castmember Bill Murray and Jane hangs up before John can get violently angry. Bill Murray provides a commentary on Rosalynn Carter and talks about her attractiveness with some creepy undertones as he promises the next commentary will be on Amy Carter. Jane does a very funny story on the “Flying Fords” (the picture alone is worth it) and then a similar piece on the actress who played the flying nun. Laraine Newman interviews the Texxon chairman, Mr. Rigg (Nader), who gives three ridiculous demands for his company in an amusing bit. In a callback to Gary Gilmore, Jane announces that he will not attend the post-execution ball. Finally, Emily Litella (Radner) stops by again with an official correspondent job and discusses the notion of President Ford “making Puerto Rico a steak.” Great edition this week. A-

9. Andy Kaufman (8:15)

Frequent special guest Andy Kaufman does his “Foreign Man” character (a precursor to Latka on Taxi) and then delves into a number of very similar impressions. Of course, the icing on the cake is when Andy goes all-out and imitates Elvis Presley and performs a couple of songs. It should be noted that Elvis was still alive at the time. Another great Andy Kaufman appearance. A

10. Doll Testing (3:46)

During an interview with Ralph Nader, the interviewer (Morris) is somewhat creeped out by all the inflatable party dolls strewn about his apartment. Though Nader claims that they are all merely for experiments and research, it is clear that his deep connection to the dolls is harbouring a sick sort of fascination. It’s an enjoyable sketch if only for Ralph putting his image on the line. B+

11. Film: Garbage (3:40)

It’s a repeat from the Ron Nessen/Patti Smith Group episode with a bunch of garbagemen talking about the strange things they find in the trash. It’s actually one of the better Weis films as his subjects here prove to be more interesting than usual. B+

12. The Coneheads At Home (6:50)

Ahh, it’s the first appearance of the Coneheads! Beldar (Aykroyd) and Prymaat (Curtin) deal with their daughter’s (Newman) insecurities with the shape of her head and her general awkwardness at school. In this first edition, Connie waits for her date, Ronnie Getsetter (Murray). The majority of the sketch is some exposition from Beldar but it also contained some great straight-man work from Murray and the “mass consumption” scene is worth it alone. Wonderful. A+

13. George Benson sings “Gonna Love You More” (2:43)

The second tune from Benson is more of a bouncy, peppy song with some nice lyrics and another soulful performance from the singer himself. B+

14. Youth Asks The Questions (3:29)

Ralph opens himself up to questions from some young Americans, Sherry (Newman), Gerard Aldini (Murray), and Rhonda Weiss (Radner). This has drawbacks though as their questions pertain to asking where they can get great stereo equipment or if he’s ever met Ricardo Montalban. The performances from the three questioners are fun, while Nader does a good job of playing straight man to the lunacy. B+

15. Ambassador Training Institute (1:43)

They must’ve ran short on time because this is a repeat from Candice Bergen/Esther Phillips with Andrew Duncan advertising a program that allows anyone to become an ambassador for a foreign country. It’s a mildly amusing ad parody. C+

Ralph and the gang throw out some peanuts to the audience that are left over from the Carter sketch and then wish everyone a good night, bringing the show to a close.

While I was expecting a somewhat lackluster show following the Christmas break, what we got instead was a very fun show with a definite non-actor at the helm and despite that fact, he still managed to be entertaining (despite playing himself in all but one sketch) and was limited to what he could easily do. Nader brought a goofy charm to his performance on this week’s episode and didn’t mind putting his own image on the line in a couple of sketches, particularly the one involving inflatable party dolls. Overall, he was an effective host.

Despite my lack of knowledge about George Benson, he proved to be quite entertaining with his two musical numbers and they differed enough from each other to prove that the man had some versatility in his repertoire. As far as other guests go, you can’t go wrong with Andy Kaufman coming back for the fifth time and finally unleashing his pitch-perfect Elvis Presley impression among the SNL fanbase.

Even with John Belushi out for the week, the cast pulled through and put together a slew of great performances but special mention should go to Bill Murray, who proved in his first episode that he was going to be a force to be reckoned with on the show. Unfortunately, this would sizzle for a while after this episode but he would still become a great castmember in seasons to come.

Host Rating: B

Musical Guest Rating: A-

Show Rating: A-

EDIT: I just noticed Dan Aykroyd is not in the goodnights here. Anyone know if there’s a particular reason for that?