Posts Tagged ‘chevy chase’

(Season 38, Episode 16)




JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: “The 20/20 Experience” (album)



COLD OPENING: Hugo Chavez Memorial (3:54)
Hugo Chavez Memorial

–      I enjoyed the fact that someone finally did a bit on Hugo’s death and didn’t present him as a 100% pure great guy… because let’s face it, he was not.

–      Armisen’s opening bit was pretty amusing and I liked Cecily’s voice as the translator. Fred later holding a glass of milk was also funny.

–      Justin’s Elton John impression was pretty funny too and his singing voice was pretty close to the real thing. I especially liked the lines about Hugo being just like a candle in the wind “if a candle could pull out two guns at a press conference,” his parrot wearing the same red beret, and the whole bit about capitalism killing a former civilization that lived on Mars.

RATING: *** ½



That was definitely still Darrell Hammond doing the introductions rather than Don Pardo.



MONOLOGUE: Justin Timberlake (7:57)

–      This was chock-full with cameos and yes… I loved it. All the cameos were great and there weren’t really any that stood out from any others.

–      Dan Aykroyd being the bartender was hilarious and reminded me of Jon Lovitz having to serve the other five-timers during Tom Hanks’ 1990 monologue.

–      Chevy Chase’s appearance also really surprised me because I expected his portrait and there he was on the phone ordering a Rolls Royce on Steve Martin’s bill. I also liked Chevy telling Steve that they never see each other anymore and “it’s on purpose.”

–      Martin Short’s appearance was great too seeing as how he hosted earlier in the season. He also kinda played the same type of role he did back in the Alec Baldwin show in Season 32.

–      Candice Bergen’s appearance was legitimately the most surprising appearance out of all the cameos. She also cracked up a bit at Martin Short’s line, “I go in the sink.”

–      The Django Unchained reference with Bobby and Taran doing mandingo fighting was great, especially Bobby yelling out, “I KILLED MY FRIEND!”, Hanks saying he loves Drunk Uncle, and Bobby quickly thanking him and walking off.

RATING: *****



GAMESHOW: It’s a Date (7:58)
It's a Date

–      Awesome sketch.

–      Loved the opening announcer bit: “the only dating gameshow still on TV.”

–      I agree with Stooge that this was the perfect way to utilize Samberg’s cameo and his and Timberlake’s singing characters rather than doing a brand-new digital short with them singing about some other type of their anatomy.

–      Aykroyd and Martin appearing as the Festrunk Brothers was COMPLETELY unexpected and awesome as well. You could tell that the audience knew exactly what was going to happen as soon as Hader mentioned that they were brothers from Czechoslovakia. Them saying they’ve been in America for 37 years was also a great meta-reference.

–      Bobby was an excellent straight man here too like always and I loved his reactions to all the insanity going on around him.

–      Vanessa Bayer was also pretty solid here and I liked her not enjoying Bobby’s decidedly normal answers but rather wanting to go on the date with the singers AND Festrunks.

–      Steve telling the singers he can’t believe they’re not black was also quite funny.

RATING: **** ½



SKETCH: Veganville (5:35)

–      You had to expect this character of Timberlake’s to come back because it’s probably the easiest thing for them to write for him and he has enough charisma and dance moves to carry the whole thing. The Dancing with Myself parody was the best.

–      Moynihan’s appearance here was another great one. He is so good at playing straight roles or slightly-offbeat characters.

–      The Harlem Shake thing at the end was the only real downside but I guess they were going to parody the stupid fad at some point. Hopefully they just leave it alone now to all the shitty internet videos.




COMMERCIAL: NuvaBling (1:23)

–      This reminded me of a commercial parody they would’ve done back in the late 90s with most of the female cast.

–      I really liked the idea of reusing the NuvaBling as earrings as it provided for an amusing visual and Aidy and Cecily’s exchange (“Did you get those earrings Tiffany’s?” “Close, I got them from my vagina!”)

–      I wonder why Taran played that role that any male extra could’ve taken over.

RATING: *** ½



MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: “Suit & Tie” (5:06)
Justin Timberlake1

–      Love the fact that JT introduced his own performance and merely said, “Make some noise! LET’S GO!”

–      This was a really good performance; Jay-Z coming out and adding to the performance was also unexpected and another fun cameo as well. The man was actually smiling!



WEEKEND UPDATE with Seth Meyers (7:31)

Guest: Stefon
update1 update2 update3 update4 update5

–      Best Jokes: Chavez funeral; Dennis Rodman/fake bishop; TSA restrictions; Hebrew Playboy jokes; Hooters; Daylight Savings Time

–      Stefon was awesome. This may have been the best edition thus far. The ovation for this character went on for quite a while as he has easily become one of the most popular ones in a long time. I actually noticed Hader making confused looks at the cue cards from time to time at the lines that were clearly written after he was given the final script. I especially loved the Sweet Willie Walker bit, the burned-down Red Lobster, Donald Duck having a Vietnam nightmare, a club being based on the novel Push by Sapphire, and of course… the human fanny pack. I also liked Stefon asking if Seth was taking his girlfriend to Mexico to kill her and then inviting him to join HIS five-timers club.

RATING: ****



SKETCH: The Tales of Sober Caligula (3:49)
The Tales of Sober Caligula

–      I know most people have been writing this off as the requisite bad sketch of the night but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. At first, I thought it was gonna be a rehash of that sketch where they would make references to things that Caligula did that sounded a lot like things that Timberlake did but I was quite happy when it was not that.

–      Taran was pretty funny here in his brief role; I liked his little moment where he felt up Justin’s golden armour. It also seemed to make Justin come very close to cracking up afterwards.

–      Bobby, once again, was also tremendous here. Tim Robinson also deserves credit though for the moment with his little sex pig.

RATING: *** ½



SHOW: Maine Justice (5:40)
Maine Justice

–      I never ever expected this to come back and while it definitely couldn’t live up to the original sketch, it was still entertaining. Sudeikis was hilarious as usual and Timberlake was also great in the role replacing Jamie Foxx.

–      I loved Kate McKinnon’s New Orleans accent.

–      Andy Samberg was a good straight man as expected. He would always do these roles really well back in the days when he was a castmember as well.

–      The conversation that Sudeikis had with the big fake alligator was insane and just amped the sketch up in terms of ridiculous-ness. It was definitely my favourite part.

RATING: *** ½



Justin Timberlake2

–      Loved the Three Amigos introduction.

–      Another great performance. Timberlake is so great.



COMMERCIAL: She’s Got a Dick (1:44)
She's Got a Dick

–      This meant well and it seemed to be a good parody of the type of romantic comedy that Timberlake would star in but I believe this was kinda the stinker of the night.

–      I did like Fred as Eugene Levy and Kenan’s lines.

–      I don’t agree with all those stupid GLAAD people believing the sketch is “transphobic” or whatever though. First of all, it’s not. Secondly, change the channel if you don’t like it.




COMMERCIAL: Moet & Chandon (3:49)
Moet & Chandon

–      Did NOT expect Vanessa and Cecily to bring back these characters but I really enjoyed this just as much as I did the first time back in the Jamie Foxx episode. Timberlake was also a great addition here. I have a feeling this will come back again multiple times.

–      So many great lines here like Bayer talking about her middle parts being just plastic bags, jerking off a horse (“now who’s the horse!”), Cecily being covered in blood that wasn’t hers (“I was like ‘hello!’”), and the final bit with Cecily saying “oral.”

RATING: *****






–      Justin Timberlake/Bobby Moynihan/Vanessa Bayer




What else can I really say? This was an awesome episode chock-full of great performances, another superb job by Justin Timberlake, and some great music as well. All of the cameos were delightful! Only one middling sketch! This was the second-best episode of the season thus far, coming awfully close to the Christmas episode.



by Brendan Wahl

(Season 3, Episode 11)

The only thing I really have to add before I type up this episode is the little debacle which took place about two minutes before the show began.

Tensions had been building up all week when Chevy returned to host and it was especially showing between Mr. Chase and his replacement, castmember Bill Murray. Eventually, it all came to a boiling point. As insults like “Medium talent!” and “Why don’t you fuck your wife every now and then?” were thrown out, the two finally came to blows and had to be pulled apart by cast, crew, and writers alike.

Thirty seconds later, Chevy had to be thrust out onstage for the show…

The Show:

“The Little House on the Prairie Burns to the Ground” will not be seen tonight..
1. A Former President Speaks To The Nation (3:53)

Former president Gerald Ford (Chase) addresses the advantages surrounding the Suez Canal and criticizes President Reagan’s points. He is consoled by wife Betty (Curtin) and also uses the assistance of a map to illustrate why the canal is important.

– Chevy looks a bit shaken from the aforementioned fight with Billy.
– As good as these Ford sketches could be when Chevy was on the show, they have lost a bit of their edge as time gone by, these have lost a little bit of their bite.
– A couple of technical issues here as Chevy looks in the wrong camera for almost a minute.
– I did like Chevy referring to his wife Betty (Curtin) as Ron Nessen, his outlining of why the canal is important with the assistance of a map, and some of his typical stumblebum hijinx. And of course, he takes the fall.


– Just wanted to point out that they used the same opening montage from late-season 1 and season 2 from when Chevy was a castmember.

2. Monologue (4:25)

Chevy is elated to be back on the SNL stage and talks about the thing he misses most of all: the cheap applause one can get from a live audience.

– Chevy seems a bit more at ease here, but still seems a little more off than usual.
– I did like the idea of the monologue though with Chevy getting a cheap pop by referring to different sections of New York, pointing out how much he likes the show, and his attempts to get the band to stop playing.
– “You know what I really love about your applause.. is its spontaneity.”
– Again, another average segment but it had potential to be much better.

3. Moth Masher (1:37)

A spokesman (Aykroyd) demonstrates his new product and how it can be used to crush moths into an easier, more manageable size.

– Another one of Aykroyd’s crazy commercial pitchman ideas; this is one that had to be written (or at least co-written) by him.

4. Post-Coital Discussion (5:51)

After having a one-night stand, a man (Chase) and woman (Radner) discuss what went right and wrong. Through their discussion, it is revealed that the two had other things on their minds and the guy may not have been completely honest about who he is.

– This is a very well-written Miller piece with Chevy and Gilda both giving very subtle, relaxed performances.
– I especially liked when Chevy asked her if she had an orgasm and Gilda said that she stores them up and feels them all at once, “usually on the first day of Purim.”
– The discussion regarding the names they each screamed out during sex was also very funny, especially when Chevy is questioned for saying his own name and reasons that it’s because he’s used to spending so many nights by himself.
**** 1/2

5. Billy Joel sings “Only the Good Die Young” (3:32)

– Chevy mentions before the song that Billy missed his high school reunion to be the musical guest; this is true.
– This is an absolutely fantastic performance of a classic Billy Joel tune. It almost sounds like the album version; it’s crystal-clear and the instrumentals never overpower the vocals.

6. King (4:01)

John F. Kennedy (Aykroyd) and Bobby (Murray) attempt to bug Martin Luther King Jr. (Morris), so they can track everything he says.

– Odd placement of this sketch, but it’s understandable as Lorne had to rearrange the show a bit to avoid another Chevy/Murray scuffle.
– The performances were good here, but the sketch never really came together as a whole though.
– I liked the opening disclaimer where it said “some half-truths and lies have been invented to make it entertaining.”
– The reference to Billy Joel’s previous performance was amusing and clever.
** 1/2

7. UPDATE TEASER w/Jane Curtin (:08)

– Leon Spinx wins the Heavyweight Title.

8. WEEKEND UPDATE w/ Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, & Jane Curtin (14:31)
Guests: Laraine Newman, Ray Floyd (Al Franken), John Belushi, Emily Litella (Radner), & Garrett Morris

Best Jokes: Pussywhip; Rhythm & Blues contraception; Billy Carter; Bert Lance

– Chevy joins in as an anchor a few minutes in by calling Aykroyd during the segment and convincing him that his mother is ill. Before he sits down, Jane gets a great look on her face like she’s taking over before our host makes his appearance.
– Laraine interviews a coal miner named Ray Floyd (Franken), who tries to comment on the situation but can’t stop hacking and coughing after working the mines for nearly 20 years. Filler.
– Chevy attempts to lure Jane away from the desk as well, but she catches Chevy on the other phone and calls him Sparky in an amusing moment.
– John Belushi stops by to give his thoughts on the Ali/Spinx championship fight and of course, it develops into an off-topic rant. This time, John talks about a time he got into a fight after his roommate was beaten up. He then attempts to see if Jane can defend herself and after beating her down with boxing gloves, he tells Chevy “it’s all yours.” Funny segment.
– The last guest to show up is Emily Litella (Radner), who complains about how she hasn’t been invited back onto Update very much now that “Ms. Clayton” is the anchorperson. Jane starts to walk away and freaks out at Emily and Chevy (specifically, she chastises Mr. Chase for mugging) and they both respond in kind.
– And to end Update, we get a real callback to the first season with Garrett Morris repeating the top story for the Hard of Hearing. His line flub was amusing too.
– Overall, while it wasn’t full of great jokes, the commentaries were mostly funny and the whole dynamic with Chevy trying to take over his old show again was great.
*** 1/2

9. Baggage Inspection (5:25)

A dimwitted baggage inspector (Chase) is grilled by his superior (Aykroyd), but fails to see the obvious drug smuggling being committed by a couple (Belushi & Newman).

– This is a classic; one of my absolute favourites, in fact.
– Even though it was only a quick scene from Garrett, he was hilarious slipping off to the bathroom and casually putting a joint in his mouth, saying that he had to go to the bathroom.
– Chevy being so oblivious to the cocaine in the couple’s suitcase was very funny as were John and Laraine’s reactions.
– Great visual gag with Laraine’s boob “leaking” as the cocaine just pours out and Belushi tries to stop it without being too obvious.
– Bill Murray pops by for a hilarious appearance at the end of the sketch but has barely any interaction with the host.

10. GARY WEIS FILM: Bad Day Soundtrack (2:32)

A woman (Newman) has one of the worst days of her life, but spends most of it trying to find out where the singer (Valri Bromfield) is that is song-narrating it all.

– This seems like something that would be in a digital short today and the idea reminded me of “Harpoon Man.”
– Newman was good enough as the frustrated lead, but the singing got annoying towards the end. And why was it stand-up comedienne Valri Bromfield instead of a castmember or something?
* 1/2

11. Sermonette (3:27)

Reverend Archbishop Maharishi O’Mulliganstein D.D.S. (Chase) of the Church of Confusion sermonizes some scripture that makes absolutely no sense.

– This sounds like it would be stupid, but it actually was kind of amusing for Chevy’s performance as the nonsensical preacher even if it did go on a little long for a one-note segment like this.

12. World War II GI Quiz (4:04)

A pair of obvious German spies (Aykroyd & Murray) attempt to make their way past enemy lines, but are stopped and quizzed by an American sergeant (Belushi) to find out if they are truly part of the American military or the German side. Soon after, he begins questioning his own men (Chase & Morris) before doubting his own allegiances.

– Dan and Billy were very funny as the obvious spies with Billy counting to himself in German and Aykroyd declaring, “you can’t be too careful mit dose krauts!”
– Chevy didn’t do a whole lot in this sketch, but his impression was funny.
– This sketch shared a very similar structure to the Baggage Inspection bit, but it was still pretty funny just for the performances alone.
*** 1/2

13. Billy Joel sings “Just The Way You Are” (4:11)

– Another fantastic Billy Joel tune; the audience response upon hearing this song just tells you how good it is.

14. No Funny Ending (5:01)

A Victorian scene between Jane, Laraine, and Gilda is interrupted by Chevy, as he declares that they’ve run out of time for his final segment and that there’s no ending that is fit for the sketch. Several endings are then attempted (Twilight Zone-style) which get increasingly more ridiculous from Truman Capote (Belushi) without pants on to the Land Shark (Chase) devouring another victim.

– Another classic and one of my favourite sketches of the early years.
– The beginning with the three girls was funny in an “it’s obvious that this won’t be the focus of the sketch” kind of way.
– There’s lots of things to love here from Aykroyd’s Rod Serling to Belushi as Truman Capote getting interrupted by a smarmy director (Murray) right to the end where everyone suffers heart attacks but get up in time to answer the door for the Land Shark (Chase).
– Garrett’s appearance at the end was hilarious too as he comes in with his Archbishop outfit and then shuffles on outta there when he realizes that the scene has ended and he has missed his cue.
**** 1/2

15. Goodnights

– Bill Murray noticeably walks in a bit late and Belushi jokingly spars with him as the credits start to roll in a little nod to the fight that took place before the show.

OVERALL: Some people maintain that this is one of the few low points of Season 3 and while I agree to the extent that it’s not in the cream of the crop of the season, it’s certainly not a bad episode. Despite a number of average sketches throughout and a couple of misfires (the Weis film, King), this was still a really solid show with a very capable host, who was clearly shaky at the top of the show and settled down just in time for the first real sketch of the night. The cast also did a wonderful job as usual (it’s getting kind of redundant to say that) and even though Bill Murray was kept away from Chase for most of the night, he still turned in a few funny performances and showed his professionalism. All in all, a good episode with two bonafide excellent sketches and a number of average pieces.


HOST: CHEVY CHASE – 8 segments (A Former President Speaks To The Nation; Monologue; Post-Coital Discussion; Weekend Update; Baggage Inspection; Sermonette; World War II GI Quiz; No Funny Ending)


DAN AYKROYD – 6 segments (Moth Masher; King; Weekend Update; Baggage Inspection; World War II GI Quiz; No Funny Ending)
JOHN BELUSHI – 4 segments (Weekend Update; Baggage Inspection; World War II GI Quiz; No Funny Ending)
JANE CURTIN – 3 segments (A Former President Speaks To The Nation; Weekend Update; No Funny Ending)
GARRETT MORRIS – 5 segments (King; Weekend Update; Baggage Inspection; World War II GI Quiz; No Funny Ending)
BILL MURRAY – 4 segments (King; Baggage Inspection; World War II GI Quiz; No Funny Ending)
LARAINE NEWMAN – 5 segments (Moth Masher; Weekend Update; Baggage Inspection; Bad Day Soundtrack; No Funny Ending)
GILDA RADNER – 3 segments (Post-Coital Discussion; Weekend Update; No Funny Ending)


TOM DAVIS – none
AL FRANKEN – 1 segment (Weekend Update)

EPISODE MVP: John Belushi

by Brendan Wahl

(Season 2, Episode 22)

Well, this is it. After an exciting season filled with highs and some lows, we come to the end of it with another reliable host in Buck Henry. What can be said about the second season? While it was definitely more consistent than the debut year for Saturday Night Live, it still wasn’t at its peak for this cast yet. The second season was filled with many memorable moments/sketches/musical guests and the cast was more than up for it despite some brief downtime after losing Chevy Chase. Bill Murray’s time on the show had a shaky beginning but it was just starting to gain some momentum at this point and this is his last shot before the season ends to really make his impact.

Going with a reliable go-to host, Lorne hired Buck Henry for this episode (and would do so for every other season finale during the first five years). Buck was a man who was game for pretty much anything and that was pretty evident when looking at his past hosting appearances earlier in Year 2 and his two appearances in Year 1. However, his willingness to participate would become even more evident in future episodes, but that’s another story. Anyway, I digress. Buck is one of the great hosts on the show and one of the easiest to work with so its plain to see why they would want him back again and again.

Joining Mr. Henry are two musical guests, although performing as a duo. Jennifer Warnes, who would be best known for her duet with Joe Cocker of “Up Where We Belong,” joins Kenny Vance on the show. Vance, who is somewhat of an unknown to me, would return to the show during the infamous Doumanian era to become musical director and managed to acquire acts like Aretha Franklin, Prince, and James Brown. Not too shabby. Warnes has a heck of a voice but having no knowledge of Vance, I have no idea what to expect from this guy.

For the final time this season, START!

The Show:

1. A Fireside Chat (3:06)

The energy shortage was a major issue during President Carter’s regime and this sketch highlights that fact in a humourous fashion as members of the Presidential family must keep pedaling a bike that is powering the White House energy. Jimmy (Aykroyd) and Rosalyn (Newman) have no problem switching off between manually running the generator, but when poor Lillian (Radner)  has her turn, it’s an entirely different story. It’s a clever sight gag and one that makes this brief opening a classic. A

2. Monologue (3:11)

Buck announces that he wanted to do something different this time and so, having the clout and being cleared to do anything by NBC, he invites a lady on-stage to perform a live sex act. Unfortunately, a rather burly man somehow misinterprets Buck’s invite and manhandles the host onto the bed he has carefully set up. Buck’s monologues are usually wonderful and this was funny as well. B+

3. Samurai B.M.O.C. (7:04)

After discussing semantics with a black revolutionary leader (Morris), the Dean (Henry) of the university meets with Samurai Futaba (Belushi), who is being halted from graduating. Like always, Henry has terrific chemistry with Belushi’s Samurai and they switch it up enough every time to keep the recurring character from becoming stale.  The sketch is like poetry and though the Samurai works with Buck-less sketches as well, Mr. Henry always brings out the best in him. A-

4. Jennifer Warnes sings “Right Time of the Night” (2:50)

Sporting some glasses that immediately give away the decade she’s from, Warnes belts out a tune that manages to entertain and have some pretty good lyrics as well. Warnes looks high, though, by her body language that she exudes during this performance. Either way, it’s solid. B+

5. In The Shower (3:42)

Spastic and entertaining Richard Herkiman (Murray) turns a shower with his wife (Radner) into a variety-style show with songs and guests including the man she’s cheating on him with. As her secret lover (Henry) enters the shower, he and Richie’s wife are all hugs and kisses while he talks about how hurt he is in a very off-putting smarmy way. Much like Nick the Lounge Singer, this character plays to Murray’s strengths and is another breakout moment for him during the second season. B+

6. Return Of The Coneheads (9:49)

This time, Beldar (Aykroyd) and Prymaat (Curtin) welcome Dr. Ray Bondish (Henry), who brings a large pyramid with strange writing on it. It is interpreted as an urgent message from Remulak and the family finally explains their origins much to the delight of their visitor. After ejecting him, the Coneheads plan to drive away so they can return home in a hilarious filmed portion of the sketch. There, we get to meet another Conehead (Morris) and the High Master of Remulak (Belushi) who is set to have an arranged marriage with Connie (Newman). Unfortunately, she is not the virgin bride he expected. This sketch really pushes the absurdity of these characters, but it’s fantastic and the best of their appearances so far. A+

7. Weekend Update with Jane Curtin (7:03)

Commenting on the Frost/Nixon interviews, Curtin announces that Tricky Dick has also committed petty crimes like robbing liquor stores in the Washington area. There’s also an amusing piece involving a microphone being attached to Seattle Slew and his jockey (with the voices done by Chevy Chase!) as they bump along during the race. Emily Litella (Radner) interviews Bella Abzug (the real McCoy), who apparently has a huge announcement to make but Litella fumbles the introduction up so much so Bella just stops the interview with “nevermind.” Even our host stops by to deliver Jane an award for Outstanding Television Journalist for the 1976-77 season, but begins to regret it and take it back after he realizes that Curtin won’t sleep with him for it. B+

8. Rhonda’s Bridal Shower (5:30)

Another appearance by the Jewish New Yawker (Radner) sees her gathering with friends and has the same response for every gift she receives from her friends. The sketch basically consists of a bunch of typical New York gals talking about all things New York. There’s not a whole lot of substance to this sketch and though the performances are fine, the piece is kind of stale. The sketch is a little too long as well and just doesn’t feel like it really has a point. C

9. How Your Children Grow (3:37)

Jane hosts a show featuring a scientist (Henry) showing off his recent experiments of one girl (Radner) who has to enunciate the punctuation in his speech. The second girl (Newman) rings a bell and then Jane gets a cookie. The twist of the sketch is really funny and that’s mainly where the humour comes out of. Don’t get me wrong, though. This is a very cleverly constructed one-joke sketch. A-

10. Film: Dog In Bed (:43)

A film by Bill Wegman rather than the Weis man this week features his dog taking a snooze in bed until the alarm clock wakes him up. That’s literally the entire sketch. I don’t even know how to rate that. So I won’t.

11. Kenny Vance sings “The Performer” (3:58)

A rollicking little tune by Vance, who looks really, really tired. It’s got a bit of a mariachi sound to it as well and that only adds to the enjoyability. Not as great as Warnes’ tune, but still pretty solid. B

12. Lucky Lindy (6:12)

Charles Lindbergh (Henry) attempts his flight from New York to Paris despite the distractions of a narrator (Aykroyd) and his pornographic magazines. Every time he drifts off to sleep or becomes distracted, he gets very close to the Atlantic Ocean and eventually is visited by a certain shark (Chevy Chase!) that can live on land. It’s a pretty big surprise and a funny one at that which is a great way to finish off the sketches for the year. A-

13. The SNL Band performs “Departure Lounge” (3:50)

With a piece written by Howard Shore, the Saturday Night band performs the instrumental piece and despite the fact that Howard freakin’ Shore wrote this and it’s obviously going to be a good ballad, it kind of takes some of the momentum away from the show. Still, it’s a good tune. B

14. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir (2:12)

Mr. Mike makes his return as an impressionist and this time, his big act is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (the cast & writers)… if they had large steel needles shoved into their eyes. It’s essentially a repeat of the last two times he did “needles-in-the-eyes” impressions, but it’s still odd and darkly amusing. B+

Buck thanks the shark, who then promptly “eats” him. Chevy then pops out to say hello and everyone else waves goodbye for the summer.

And that, my friend, is that.

So what can be said about the second season of Saturday Night Live? I think I’ve said everything I’ve really wanted to say about the season already and have nothing too much to add. This episode, while certainly not the best one this season, was a solid one and held up as another fine set of performances from Buck Henry. Buck proved once again that he was a most qualified host and that he doesn’t even need to be the center of attention to be funny. He provided the cast with a shot of adrenaline like he usually did.

Jennifer Warnes proved to be a pretty good musical guest as did Kenny Vance, but both performers really only did one song each so it’s hard to get a good grasp on how either would be were they to be the solo guest. However, judging from this episode, they were both apt and performed well. The SNL Band acted as a sort of unofficial third musical guest and while I’m not a huge fan of that type of music, their performance was fairly good as well.

I will post my year-end awards/demerits for Season 2 in a few days.


Pretty clever bit of business was Buck Henry referencing the monologue at the beginning of Samurai B.M.O.C. Speaking of that sketch, why did it have such a long build-up to the Samurai’s entrance?

Buck Henry was still wet from the shower sketch during his brief appearance in the Coneheads bit. Pretty funny to see, but I don’t know why.

I think those people that were in New York during the filmed Coneheads portion did not have a clue what was going on.

How Your Children Grow: “The doctors removed half his colon.” “Semi-colon.”
“As far as we know, she’s just some dumbo who likes to ring a bell and point to her right.”

“Unexpected turbulence suddenly jerked the plane off… course.”

Host Rating: A

Musical Guest Rating – Jennifer Warnes: B+

Musical Guest Rating – Kenny Vance: B

Show Rating: B+

by Brendan Wahl

(Season 2, Episode 9)

How many firsts have we come across so far since these past two SNL seasons have begun? The first season saw the very first female host in Candice Bergen, the first time a host was banned (Louise Lasser), and the first ratings hit for the show (Pryor/Heron). Now here we have 14-year old Jodie Foster, fresh off her amazing performance in Taxi Driver as the youngest (at the time) host that SNL had ever had. Now at this time in history, having someone this young around these maniacs seems like perhaps not the wisest move, but it was one that Jodie and the cast were willing to take a risk on.

Joining Ms. Foster is a member of one of the greatest bands of all-time (in my opinion, anyway). Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys joins Jodie as the musical guest and having a huge name like that at this stage of infancy for the show must have been a true honour for all involved. Brian, unfortunately, was going through some really intense turmoil (mostly involving his introduction to cocaine which caused some mental instability and a huge change in his voice) at the time. Will that affect his performances? We’ll see.


The Show:

1. Phasing Gilda Out (1:58)

We start things off with the “oppressively adorable” (as Nathan Rabin likes to call her) Gilda Radner standing center-stage and explaining that she isn’t in much of the show tonight, but the producers told her she could do the opening. All the while during this, a screen crawl reveals that Gilda is actually being phased out of the show. The joke combined with Gilda’s infectious energy makes this a winning opener. B+

2. Monologue (1:39)

Jodie is a ball of nervous energy as she stumbles through her jokes regarding her age and her duties as a host before reading off a written note from her mother regarding the show starting late. Uncomfortable to watch. D

3. Pilson’s Feedbag Dinners (2:45)

The third cameo in a row from Chevy Chase, who is there to shill for a meal-in-a-bag that you can just strap to your face and dig in. It’s one-note, but slightly better than the Mobile Shrink piece. C+

4. Peter Pan Bees (4:53)

A strung-out young rocker (Foster) is interrupted in her bedroom by a pair of bees (Belushi & Newman), but of course the girl is a skeptic and doesn’t believe for one second that either one of them is a bee. Aside from the audience participation bit, the crowd is fairly dead for this one (especially Jodie’s lines) and yes, the sketch is pretty much DOA aside from Belushi’s charm. C

5. Brian Wilson sings “Back Home” (2:37)

Ah, moment of truth. Well, Brian’s voice is definitely very different here and a lot more gravelly. Does it hinder the song and his performance? Well, kind of. While disappointing, it’s still a decent little performance. B-

6. Puberty Helper (1:46)

Jodie advertises (with the help of a spokesperson (Aykroyd)) Puberty Helper, which is essentially a paper-bag like covering over the entire body. Dan completely sells this piece and makes it another one of his amusing commercial parodies. B+

7. Metal Detector (3:23)

What starts off seemingly like another Newman-playing-a-ditzy-character sketch turns into something much more original and amusing as one man (Aykroyd) keeps removing his metal objects to the point where it gets ridiculous in a hilarious pour-it-on sight gag. All the while, Brian Wilson stands uncomfortably in the background as a security guard. Another piece that Danny sells beautifully and it’s actually my favourite of the night. The ending was kind of stupid though. A-

8. Weekend Update with Jane Curtin (Part I) (total: 9:02)

After a cruel joke about Dwight D. Eisenhower, Curtin does a good job selling some decent material this week including an amusing joke about speed (that the audience didn’t really seem to dig, but screw ’em). In an amusing piece, Curtin calls President-Elect Carter himself (Aykroyd’s voice) and even though he answers a question incorrectly, she gives him a consolation prize. I love when they mock Carter’s down-home attitude. A mudfight between “Jackie Onassis” and “Tina Onassis” falls flat, but the aerosol cap-off to the story is pretty cute.

9. What Kinda Guy Watches Saturday Night (1:11)

Another appearance from Belushi’s non-recurring character, Steve Bushakis. As a typical SNL viewer, Steve announces that he’s had gonnorhea five times and that “the more promiscous a girl, the more I respect her.” B

10. Weekend Update with Jane Curtin (Part II)

Update peters out a bit here, but picks back up for another piece on Morris the Cat’s suicide suggestions and some really good ones from the viewing audience are read. B+

11. Brian Wilson sings “Love is a Woman” (2:56)

Eeep. His voice suffers a bit more here. I enjoyed the song, but man Brian is not ready to perform this song as his voice crackles several times and he struggles to get through it. C+

12. Little Known Talents Of The Not Ready For Prime-Time Players (2:29)

Gilda and Laraine stand center-stage and present some unique impressions courtesy of Ms. Newman herself. The devil chicken is my favourite, but she is pretty good at imitating a yelping dog too. However, this whole thing felt like some desperate filler material. C+

13. Don Pardo: The First 50 Years (8:28)

An announcer with a ridiculously-long name (Aykroyd) narrates a story that chronicles Don Pardo’s life from childhood to present time. There’s some intermittently funny stuff here including Dan Aykroyd’s ridiculously fake television laugh to Don being portrayed as an invisible entity with a voice (Don himself). Belushi gives a good performance in a number of roles (Don’s father, a radio exec, an actor) but the whole thing drags for a bit despite being mildly amusing. I did enjoy the audition where Don Pardo meets with Lorne Michaels himself. C+

14. Jodie’s Teacher (4:53)

Jodie spends a few moments at the end of her last day of school chatting it up with her favourite teacher, Mr. Davis (Aykroyd). Despite her teacher’s trepidation, Jodie is relentless in keeping him there and what follows is a funny second city-style sketch about the relationship between a student and teacher. B+

15. Film: Kids’ Dreams (2:08)

Gary Weis gets cutesy on us this week by showing footage of little kids revealing their dreams to their teachers and the camera. This material just does not fit in with the groove of the show at all, making it one of my least favourite Weis films. D

16. The King Kong Dirge (2:49)

Garrett Morris sings/narrates the tale of King Kong while images from the 1933 film are projected in the background. Yeah, I’m not really sure what the point of this was although I know that the remake had come out that year so maybe this was the cast’s way of honouring the original classic. B-

17. White Like Me (3:27)

A couple argue over the wife’s (Curtin) secret that she has trouble revealing to her husband (Morris). After finally revealing that she isn’t black, Garrett is extremely surprised and has trouble coming to terms with the truth. The twist at the end is the cherry on top. B+

18. Mr. Mike’s Least-Loved Bedtime Tales (2:13)

This time, Mr. Mike tells the story of The Little Engine That Could to Jodie Foster, who sits on his knee and listens intently. In Mike’s version of the story, the engine has a heart attack and a school bus full of children (9 and under) are brutally murdered. Plus, a frog gets butchered. A-

19. Brian Wilson sings “Good Vibrations” (2:21)

Wow. Just wow. Brian sings a tune that is definitely meant for all members of the Beach Boys and unfortunately he butchers the song to death. I feel bad for Brian and his troubled personal life, but there is no way in hell I can give this thing anything even close to a passing mark. D

Jodie thanks the cast and the audience before being joined by Brian Wilson, the cast, and Mr. Mike (who actually looks to be fairly kind to her). Brian Wilson dances with Gilda in a heartwarming moment.

A very inconsistent show. Jodie had a lot of energy but unfortunately it was the wrong kind of energy as she went from sketch to sketch like a nervous wreck, constantly jumbling up her lines and missing a couple of cues. She wasn’t the worst host or anything close to that, but she was definitely one of the more awkward ones of the first few years. Thankfully, the cast kept her in a limited amount of bits but even that didn’t stop the show from being painful at points (like the monologue, Brian’s last number, and that godawful Gary Weis film), despite the few high points strewn throughout the show.

Brian Wilson was a severe disappointment despite the knowledge that his performances could be iffy at best. What should’ve been a monumentous moment for SNL ended up resulting in the worst musical guest so far this season. With a not-so-great host/musical guest combination and the bad stuff being pretty damn bad, what we got here is an early candidate for the worst episode of the season.

Host Rating: C

Musical Guest Rating: C-

Show Rating: C

(Season 1, Episode 24 (Season Finale))

As was made very evident by last week’s classic episode of Saturday Night Live, sometimes the quality of the host could have a major impact on how the show turns out as a whole. Because of Louise Lasser being one of the worst and most difficult hosts in history, the writers being a bit burned out and angered about having to return during the summer, and the general malaise of the cast at having to do the same, it turned out to be the worst episode of the show for quite some time.

This week, it would seem to be another possible train-wreck in the form of the host, country singer Kris Kristofferson. I will be the first to admit that I am not a fan of country music in the least. In fact, I think the only “country” I can really enjoy is some of Johnny Cash’s stuff. That being said, I’ve always liked Kris in small roles in a lot of the movies he’s been in but as for being the anchor on a late-night comedy show? Yeesh.

He brings along then-wife Rita Coolidge with him for the ride as the actual scheduled musical guest and yes, also a country singer. So this already has potential to be the darn tootin’est episode of Saturday Night Live at least.

Just for some extra tidbits for fans of the show here: Apparently, some minutes before the episode went on the air, Kris was found to be quite inebriated. With a sense of desperation, Lorne cried out for someone to fetch their host some black coffee and rush him on the air.

The Show:

1. “Help Me Make It Through The Night”

I put it in quotes because this episode essentially starts with a performance of this song by Kris Kristofferson, while wearing a trendy open shirt with a big gold chain dangling in the middle. But it wouldn’t be a first season cold open without Chevy Chase and so during the musical performance, he attempts to have an affair with Rita Coolidge, but can’t manage to get her undressed without fumbling all over himself. This opening felt a lot like the Paul Simon one but with a tad more plot. It was still a fairly underwhelming way to start the show. C+

2. Monologue

Oh boy, this would be where a drunk person shines. Talking about stuff that needs to make sense without playing a character. Thankfully Kris keeps it short by saying that he needs to give equal time, which segues into the next piece. C

3. I Was Not A Sucker For Saturday Night

One of Laraine Newman’s very few recurring characters, Sherry, makes an appearance here to talk about working as an intern for Saturday Night Live and the various disgusting quirks that the writers on the show have. O’Donoghue’s is the best (“He couldn’t finish writing the ‘Star Trek’ sketch until I told him ‘rocket ships are okay, but your missile is tremendous'”). B

4. Samurai General Practitioner

Ahh yes, it’s the fifth installment of John Belushi’s classic Samurai Futaba pieces. In this one, he plays the role of a general practitioner visited by Kris Kristofferson (in a huge acting stretch: playing himself), who comes to see him after some general problems while traveling on the road. The reason that these samurai sketches were always good is the different quirks that Belushi would throw in sometimes. For instance, in this one he does an ages-old comedy routine with a skeleton in his office like something out of a vaudeville act and then puts a picture of a naked chick on his x-ray display. A-

5. Rita Coolidge sings “Hula Hoop”

Mr. Kristofferson’s wife is out to do her part now! I mentioned earlier that I am no fan of country music, but this song is catchy enough I guess. Even Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner come out and join in on the fun. B-

6. Great White Athletes

Garrett Morris is on this show? Huh. This time, good ol’ GM plays the role of Olympian Jesse Owens, who offers a new product to the public in the form of some medallions commemorating the last of a dying breed, great white athletes. This was whatever. C+

7. Mississippi Delegate

More Gerald Ford goodness! For the most part, I always loved when Chevy would “impersonate” Gerald Ford (I put it in quotes because his impression was basically just being really clumsy and looking nothing like the then-president). This time, Ford welcomes an undecided delegate from Mississippi, Frank Wade (Kris), who gets one of the best lines of the whole night: “Mr. President, there’s a flower in my drink.” Ford goes for the usual goofiness including forgetting who he’s talking to or where Wade is from, embarrassing himself in front of Betty (Curtin), and various other hijinx. B+

8. Police State

Head writer Michael O’Donoghue continues to prove himself this season with this cop show parody Police State. In this piece, the entire city has turned into, yes, a police state. Brut (Aykroyd) and McCord (Chase) shoot first and ask questions later while encountering several “criminals” (one of which includes Kristofferson in a very brief role). Best sketch of the night. A

9. Weekend Update with Chevy Chase (Part I)

Chevy is on his A-game with jokes about how Olga Korbut will “mistakenly shoot” Nadia Comaneci as part of her Olympics strategy, Jimmy Hoffa being a “cornerstone in the organization”, and Reagan making the bold statement that “two Republican nominees could hurt the election in November.”

10. Talk Country

Kris plays himself and advertises his own book of catchy country phrases and ways to sound as dumb as a good ol’ boy like dropping the g’s off the end of words and getting into trouble with the law. Yee-haw! Stereotypes…C+

11. Weekend Update with Chevy Chase (Part II)

Correspondent Laraine Newman reports from beautiful Nassau instead of NASA in a cute bit, but that only serves as the appetizer for one of the best bits of the whole segment as Chevy quotes Spiro Agnew as saying “All of these allegations [of anti-semitism] are pure nonsense. Some of my best friends are Christ-killers.” A-

12. The Real Bobbi McGee

After singing a few bars of “Me and Bobbi McGee”, Kris brings out the real Bobbi McGee (Radner), who by now has gotten married to new husband Larry (Belushi) and is a stereotypical middle-class Jewish woman. This is a rather predictable bit as Kris starts singing the song and Larry keeps interrupting, getting more and more suspicious of the activity that occurred between the two in the past. Rita Coolidge joins in on the fun too, but this whole thing went a little too long. C+

13. Gynecologist Blind Date

It’s every woman’s dream! One young woman (Curtin) prepares to go on a blind date…with her gynecologist (Kris)! What one may expect to be a barrage of genitalia-related jokes actually turns out to be a quieter character piece filled with nice, subtle comedy. B+

14. Kris & Rita sing “Eddie the Eunuch”

This time, husband and wife perform together. It’s another country tune but for some reason, that didn’t bug me again and I found myself enjoying it quite a bit. B+

15. Praising Carter

It’s time for another sketch to be weakly written around Aykroyd’s Jimmy Carter impression! This time, Andrew Young (Morris) praises the future president in his church only for his mood to change quite a bit when Carter himself says that Young will not receive any position of power or buy-out for his continued support. The ending was a cop-out as well. C

16. Waiting For Pardo

In this obvious parody to something I just can’t put my finger on, two men (Kris & Chevy) wait for Don Pardo while philosophizing about his great traits. Pardo’s interruptions to shill several products are the only highlights in this rather dry piece. C-

17. Kris Kristofferson sings “I’ve Got A Life Of My Own”

It’s a great choice to close the show, in fact. Kris sings a lesser-known classic while thanking his band in the midst of the song and brings the house down. A

Kris delivers a pretty humble goodnight to one and all, thanks everyone for helping him make it through the week, and the credits roll.

Well, this was much better than last week’s.

It’s not a terrific episode by any stretch, but still a solid one that saw everyone put in quite a bit more effort than last week’s anyway. Kris, despite being tanked, put in a decent amount of effort but of course shined the most whenever he had to sing.

Host Rating: B-

Musical Guest Rating: B

Show Rating: C+

Hello one and all!

You are probably wondering right now why I am doing a review of Saturday Night Live from the first season and the answer is this: I used to do these on my own personal MSN blog but instead of that go-nowhere venture, I decided to occasionally post one on here as this seems to garner more traffic and comments.

Unfortunately, since I left off at a certain point in my reviews, I start off with this “gem” of an episode.  Louise Lasser was one of the more notorious hosts in the show’s history and ended up being the first one banned coincidentally. According to several sources inside the show at the time, she was currently going through a lot of personal problems and relied heavily on the crutch of narcotics and other various substances to help her make it through her daily schedule.

Not only did the drugs have an effect on how awkward and stumbling she was, she also was an apparent chore to work with and planned on not even doing the show at the last minute until the producers threatened that if she didn’t, they would do an entire show using Bill Murray (who was not a castmember, but rather a small-time comedian in the audience that night) to play her parts with a wig on. Finally, she relented but demanded she only be in sketches with Chevy and also that a short film that was deemed unwatchable by most be shown instead of a much better piece that was scheduled to run.

The reviews of Saturday Night Live (both past and present) will be slightly different than my usual ones. I will delve into each sketch one-by-one and talk about it a bit. That means there will be some semblance of structure. Huzzah! Also, I will be using letter grades instead of ratings out of ten because…I wanna!

1. John & Chevy’s Handshake

At this point, the show had just come back from a brief summer vacation and there had been rumors regarding a tumultuous work relationship that had developed between John Belushi and the obvious star of the show, Chevy Chase. John then confirmed this in public by actually stating that he was tired of Mr. Chase getting all the publicity. This cold open attempts to summarize all that in one swift motion. In the piece, the rest of the cast attempts to settle things between John and Chevy with a little reconciliation. It doesn’t go exactly as planned. C+

2. Monologue

Louise Lasser makes her first appearance in the episode for the traditional monologue and makes a wonderful first impression by looking absolutely coked out to the power of infinity. The idea here is that she acts all faux-nervous, but the actress’ real fatigue, depression, and anxiety shines through and makes the monologue really uncomfortable to witness. There’s also a backstage bit towards the end of the monologue in which Lasser is eventually goaded out of her dressing room by a few members of the cast (Aykroyd, Chase, and Radner), but the set-up was so painful that it fails to make an overall entertaining segment. D

3. Venereal Disease: Nothing to Clap About

Garrett Morris makes his only other appearance of the night (he was briefly in the cold open) and does his impression of General Idi Amin, the lovable dictator from Uganda. But don’t be fooled because this is not a politically-inclined sketch at all. Instead, Amin talks about getting syphilis and how it has only eaten away the weaker parts of his brain, leaving it to resemble a thin slice of Swiss cheese. This was pretty much an excuse to use several “hilarious” terms for genitalia. Although I did like his comment that “it’s too bad that venereal disease doesn’t just strike Jews.” C-

4. Sven & Inger

Oh, here are Louise’s terms coming into play. In this strange piece, a couple (Chevy & Louise) stare at each other while Death narrates in a foreign language. I didn’t really know what to make of this whole piece other than to say it was a half-assed attempt at some type of Ingmar Bergman homage, I suppose. The ending was pretty stupid too, so no salvaging here. C

5. Human Hair Potholders

Most people are probably too young to know who Squeaky Fromme (portrayed by Laraine here) and Sandra Goode (Curtin) are, but in short they were two followers of Charles Manson. Fromme was also known as a woman who tried to assassinate President Ford and failed miserably. Here, the two women speak from their jail cell and advertise human hair potholders. Curtin’s insistence at hurting herself for the slightest little error is the highlight in this bit that just continues the mediocrity. C

6. Woman & Dog

Now we get to the truly ridiculous and brutal material. This sketch involves Louise sitting at a table and talking to a Golden Retriever just as a jilted lover would talk to their spouse. It didn’t even seem that Louise was reading off cards, which leads me to wonder if she just decided to do this and talk to a dog for four minutes about whatever came across her mind. If so, that would explain this sloppy, unnecessary and poorly-written sketch. D-

7. Tribute to Television.

Finally, the first GOOD sketch of the night. Instead of going for broad ha-ha-type laughs, this bit relies in the fact that this musical tribute to television contains so many obscure technical references that “only eight people in the world” truly understand them. Dan is a little bit more mellow than usual as a TV spokesman, while Jane, Gilda, & Laraine lend their voices and fun performances to the sketch. B+

8. Weekend Update with Chevy Chase

“I’m Chevy Chase and boy are you glad to see me.” Truer words have never been spoken. While you could never count on every single sketch working in a given episode, Chevy was pretty reliable for getting yuk-yuks on his delivery of the news. This week, Chevy’s guests include John Belushi interviewing Olympic hopeful Olga Korbut (Radner) commenting on Nadia Comaneci in a not-so-friendly way. In a great anti-climactic ending, Chevy gets a phone call “live” from the Democratic Convention, but it’s already taken place so he just quickly asks for the results and closes out the segment. B

9. Boy Talk

Jane and Gilda (playing younger versions of themselves with the same names, I guess) sit around the living room while Gilda intently listens to Jane’s stories about her boyfriend and their various sexual escapades. This is another sketch that gets laughs (much like “Tribute to Television”) but rely on broad tactics and instead is presented as a well-written sketch. This is what SNL fans refer to as a “Miller piece.” That is in reference to one of the show’s then-writers Marilyn Suzanne Miller, who wrote more of the subtle and more nuanced sketches during her tenure. B+

10. Film: The Diner

Talk about taking a nose-dive. This has to be one of the most incoherent things to ever air on Saturday Night Live. In this film, Louise Lasser and her lover (I guess) sit in a diner as she tries to break off the relationship with him. The only problem is that she keeps “forgetting” her lines and needs to be reminded by fellow extras around the set. Lorne makes an appearance here and so does future host Michael Sarrazin. Simply awful. F

11. John Belushi’s Wardrobe

You would think that the perennial charm of John Belushi would be able to cover for weak writing, but not in this case. In this bit, JB offers to sell the very clothes that he wears day-to-day in order to cover his financial losses. C

12. Carter’s Campaign

Dan Aykroyd debuts his wonderful Jimmy Carter impression, but for some reason it’s not as good here as it would get in the next season. At least it seems like that to me. Again, the writing is the culprit here as we really only get a rundown of Jimmy’s mannerisms and then the sketch ends kind of abruptly. C+

13. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs “Panama”

I’m sorry, Van Halen fans. This is not the “Panama” song you think it is. In fact, it’s a jazz instrumental piece. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has had a rich history and all, but I guess jazz just isn’t my type of music. I’ll be fair and go with a B-

14. Louise’s Year

Oh hoorah, more from our wonderful host! Louise offers her most incoherent performance of the night (okay, maybe aside from that filmed piece) and just rambles on and on…and ON about her life for the past year. She actually had a few moments during this where she looked completely lost and that made it only more painful to view. F

It is evident that the cast is maintaining their distance from Louise during the closing credits as she pets the dog from the earlier sketch and waves goodnight to one and all.

This had to be one of the worst episodes of Saturday Night Live during its entire run (well, except for most of the sixth season, but that’s an entirely different beast).

Host Rating: F

Musical Guest Rating: B-

Show Rating: D-

PS: If you’re interested at all in classic Saturday Night Live, don’t let this episode be a representative of the entire season. Do yourself a favour and pick it up at Amazon. It’s only $18.99 for the first season right now!