Posts Tagged ‘eric idle’


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 2, Episode 20)

Hosts that are invited back usually means at least two things: A) They were a lot of fun the last time they were there and got along great with the cast & crew and B) They provided for some great laughs and captained a good episode. It should come as no surprise then that Monty Python alum Eric Idle was invited back to the stage for some more laughs at the expense of no one. Idle’s first appearance was a fantastic episode filled with memorable sketches and a wonderful moment where John Belushi mimed Joe Cocker side-by-side with the man himself. Not to mention that Idle was a perfect fit for the madcap goings-on by the Not Ready For Primetime Players and found himself almost becoming an honourary castmember that night (incidentally, Sid Caesar would be awarded a trophy that actually SAID he was an honourary castmember in Year 8).

Joining the Pythoner would be someone else who is pretty familiar with the British troupe. While Neil Innes was best known as playing a member of the Rutles, he was also well-established as having helped the Python crew write quite a few of their songs and sketches during the Flying Circus television show. It doesn’t happen so much anymore, but this is clearly a case of the musical guest being chosen based on which celebrity is running the show as the host. Along with Innes, the main musical guest is Alan Price. 

Price, another British musician, was best known for playing the organ for The Animals, who were responsible for hits like House of the Rising Sun. Price would also have some success with a solo career with songs like “I Put a Spell On You,” “Don’t Stop the Carnival,” and a few others. By this point in time, he wasn’t doing a whole heck of a lot though as most of his fame centered in the 1960s.

Will this all equate to another home-run episode from Idle?

Time to investigate!

The Show:

1. Irish Interrogation (1:57)

As the last straw during the interrogation of an Irish terrorist (Murray), a British military man (Idle) threatens to turn his potatoes into french fries. Murray looks like he is about to break character for the entire sketch but that doesn’t take away from this amusing little cold open. It’s one of the rare instances (well, at least now) of an opening sketch that is not political in the least. The way they got to the opening line was pretty clever too. B+

2. Monologue (4:55)

Instead of the traditional monologue, Eric comes out to introduce Queen Elizabeth (impressionist Jeanette Charles, who also played the queen in The Naked Gun) and the Save Great Britain telethon because they are lacking in funds and seek the necessary reparations. His reasoning? The American people using a language that the British invented and not having to pay any royalties in regards to doing so. Idle also introduces the ‘Kick a Canadian’ contest involving a volunteer constable (Aykroyd), who is kicked by her majesty in the grand opening. This monologue was sheer brilliance. A+

3. American Dope Growers Union (1:15)

Supporting the poor American drug dealer who has to compete with Mexican smugglers, several spokespeople (Curtin, Morris, Murray, Newman, & Radner) sing about looking for the union label when buying your cannabis. This was clearly a parody of something, but regardess it was a funny, quick commercial piece. A

4. The Nixon Interviews (8:59)

Spoofing the infamous Frost/Nixon interview where the former president revealed some intriguing details, this sketch features some brilliant interplay between Idle as Frost and Aykroyd as Nixon. Tricky Dick is portrayed as that of a detailed storyteller of the mundane including some riveting tales of breakfast and Papa Nixon shaving his face in 1921. There is so much brilliant material in this sketch that it’s impossible to go over it all. To say the least, the performances by both our host and Danny are fantastic and there are a couple of amusing side performances like Gilda as Julie Nixon and Curtin as his disillusioned wife, Pat. When the subject of Watergate comes up, there is a huge revelation explained by Nixon but of course they lose the sound and nothing is revealed to the American public. This is an absolute classic sketch. A+

5. Alan Price sings “Poor People” (1:45)

After a quick update on the Save Britain telethon, it’s time for Alan Price. It’s a pretty good little tune that is fast-paced and enjoyable. I don’t really have too much to say about this performance really other than to say that Price is a welcome addition to the show thus far and this song is very, very short. B+

6. Film: Body Language (2:26)

The best film that Gary Weis has ever done. To be fair, Eric Idle can be credited with being half the reason this rules. In this piece, the art of body language is discussed with ridiculous, exaggerated examples from Idle himself, Innes, as well as Garrett, Billy, Laraine, and Gilda. My favourite has to be Eric’s explanation of a prostitute’s body language (“I am available for sophisticated sexual activity at a reasonable rate to be determined by mutual free exchange open-market bargaining”), but this is yet another classic piece. A+

7. Weekend Update with Jane Curtin (Part I) (Total: 7:24)

After announcing Update’s win for a Pullitzer Prize in journalism, Curtin announces a story so ridiculously false to completely off-set it. Another funny piece for Jane is a story regarding Roots author Alex Haley being accused of plaigarism, which happened to interrupt his writing of his next classic work of literature, Moby Dick. Commenting on the ruling that declared that the spanking of children in school is constitutional, Bill Murray goes from funny to creepy and back to funny in a hilarious commentary. Murray reverts back to traumatic childhood memories while getting unreasonably excited over the spanking of little girls.

8. Oxxon (1:14)

Spoofing Exxon of course, an announcer (Don Pardo) comments on how expensive the commercial was to make and that it can be used as a reason as to why gas prices are so expensive. Pretty clever little parody actually. A-

9. Weekend Update (Part II)

Emily Litella (Radner) stops by to do a commentary on “air solution,” but can’t contain herself due to her joke being one of the worst ones ever. When sharing her preoccupation with the man in her life, Jane learns that her love is Tom Snyder of the Tomorrow show. Litella then butchers “I Will Follow Him” and is interrupted by Jane of course, but without the little added snide remarks by our newscaster at the end. Another really solid edition of Update this week; even Litella was bearable. A-

10. Heavy Wit Championship (6:12)

Introducing a boxing match of a different sort! Aykroyd plays ring announcer to a battle of comedic timing between British funnyman Ray Grimley (Idle) and the Undisputed Champion Mohammed Stallion (Belushi). Instead of punching each other, they trade barbs to see which one will crack. Aykroyd and Murray then play announcers and call the thing just like the typical boxing contest along with strategy and a blow-by-blow analysis. It’s a fun sketch with some amusing moments, but overall it kind of falls short. C+

11. “Ron Nasty” (Neil Innes) sings “Cheese and Onions” (1:21)

As the number to save Britain flashes on the screen, Innes sings a funny ditty as his John Lennon-like personality from the Rutles. This isn’t a laugh-out-loud song but it is quite fun to listen to in all of its homage glory to the Beatles. B

12. The Battle of Britain (8:17)

Due to budget cutbacks and to illustrate the fact that the British still need financial help, the Battle of Britain is a series created on a $900 budget that features most of its “action” through a letter read by a possible war-time widow (Radner) from her beau, Rodney (Aykroyd). The constant flashbacks to Rodney and his wife in happier times started out amusing but became quite hilarious when additional characters are added only making the entire situation even more ridiculous. Idle has a fairly small role in this bit actually, playing one of Rodney’s airmen along with Billy. Absurd gold. A

13. Neil Innes sings “Shangri-La” (3:18)

Sporting a glittery suit and some big, fake ears, Innes sings a fun bouncy tune named after the perfect society known as Shangri-La. During this performance, there’s lots of colourful background images like some odd cardboard cutouts and some back-up singers in bright costumes. Very inventive. A

14. Plain Talk (1:47)

This one takes the cake for the absurd. Eric hosts a talk show where he and his guest (Aykroyd) simply carry on the tone of a normal conversation using words that absolutely don’t fit in at all. It’s quite a marvel to watch both performers run through this sketch without faltering once despite saying all this nonsense at a machine gun-pace. A+

15. Trans Eastern Airlines (3:53)

Sherry Norwalk (Newman) has no problem doing anything for the passengers in first class due to their tendency to threaten her with a gun before making their requests. This sketch works for reasons unknown as it essentially consists of people pointing guns in a valley girl’s face and making simple requests. It also may be because all of their requests are common complaints one would make on an airline and its fun to see the passengers finally get the upper hand. What also works is that Newman sells this life-threatening act as a pretty harmless thing. A-

16. Alan Price sings “In Times Like These” (2:35)

A much different song from his previous one, this is more akin to Innes’ second song. It’s catchy, bouncy and has an infectious spirit that makes it very enjoyable. Also, the lyrics are quite good and it doesn’t hurt that Price has a good voice on him as well. A

17. Save Great Britain Telethon (1:17)

Unfortunately, the telethon has actually LOST twenty dollars so Bill Murray makes a last-ditch effort to save Britain by chugging a bottle of grape juice. Murray makes it about halfway through before giving up and Idle chases him off in anger. B+

All of a sudden, the phones are ringing off the hook when the show comes back for the goodnights as the queen herself has been sold… to Exxon. I love the fact that the total includes John Belushi’s vest. Idle then comically fumbles the announcement for Daylight Savings Time before the cast joins him onstage for the traditional goodnight waves and hugs.

Eric Idle came back in full force! After a superb first showing, Idle delivered again this time with a superb performance as host, particularly in bits like “The Nixon Interviews” and “Plain Talk.” Idle is a perfect mesh for the cast and also doesn’t mind serving a sketch while not always having to be the center of attention as could be seen in the brilliant “Battle of Britain” piece. Idle’s Monty Python sensibilities also help when it comes to Dan Aykroyd in particular as those two seem to have the best chemistry together throughout this entire episode.

As for Eric’s guests, Price and Innes, both men were constantly entertaining during their appearances. While Innes extended his appearances to a couple of roles in the fantastic Gary Weis film (!), Alan Price was limited to his musical performances. While “Poor People” was good, his second song was even better and had a much more enjoyable and rollicking tune. Neil Innes was in the same boat. While his performance as Ron Nasty was certainly not a throwaway, “Shangri-La” was loaded with lots of entertaining stage direction, lyrics, costumes, and some good singing on the Brit’s part.

The cast was more than game for this week, but Dan Aykroyd shined in particular here mostly starring opposite Eric Idle. He more than dominated the episode but even so, this time it appears the other castmembers got quite a bit of screentime for the most part.

Notes:

Runners are rare in most episodes of Saturday Night Live, but the “Save Great Britain” pieces are the cream of the crop.

The apple doesn’t fall too far from the Monty Python tree. Michael Palin would later prove to be well-suited for the show as well.

The Frost/Nixon sketch isn’t just a great sketch. It may be one of the best ever on the show. I know that’s a pretty bold statement, but I stand by it.

Unfortunately, I don’t see Shelley Duvall continuing this winning streak of episodes into next week, but I’ve been surprised before.

Host Rating: A

Musical Guest Rating – Alan Price: A-

Musical Guest Rating – Neil Innes – A

Show Rating: A


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 2, Special Episode)

Saturday Night Live was known for breaking their own format several times throughout the early years of the show. There was the second-ever episode, of course, that essentially served as a concert for Paul Simon & Friends, there was Andy Kaufman doing some groundbreaking stuff in his first few appearances, and even one episode was entirely devoted to how “inept” the host (Charles Grodin) was. Nothing would touch the insanity of the idea behind this SNL special ever again though. Instead of Saturday, this would take place on a Sunday and in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, the party central of the country, instead of the usual stand-by: New York City.

I don’t want to mention too much in the pre-amble here because I will explain most of it in the contents of the sketch-by-sketch review.

Enjoy!

1. Carter at Mardi Gras (2:25)

El Presidente (Aykroyd) addresses the state of the nation atop a statue of a horse, of which Rosalynn (Newman) warns him to get off. And after bellowing out a battle cry, Carter obliges. C+

2. Randy Newman & The New Leviathan Orchestra sing “Louisiana 1927” (2:54)

Newman opens the show strongly with a stirring rendition of a New Orleans favourite on an absolutely amazing-looking stage. He also gets quite the ample support from a very capable orchestra in the background. A

3. Bacchus Parade (2:32)

Buck Henry appears out of nowhere to join Jane Curtin to discuss the upcoming parade about to pass through before showing some footage from the “Hit Al Hirt In The Mouth With A Brick” contest. Hirt (Belushi) manages to play some sax and avoid of the few bricks, but eventually is sent on his way. Throwaway bit. C

4. Quarry (1:57)

A repeat from 11/20/76. B+

5. The Wild Bees Motorcycle Club (3:58)

Starting off with an awkward moment from Penny Marshall (“I can’t see the cards!”), Sherry (Newman) and Rhonda Weiss (Radner) join her in waiting to see when the guys will show up. Eventually, the bees (Aykroyd, Belushi, & Murray) show up with hogs in tow and pick the girls up, driving away with them. (Edit: It seems like it was actually Gilda (in character) who said “I can’t see the cards!” before the sketch began) B

6. Fats Domino As Sung By Garrett Morris (1:30)

Just like it sounds. Garrett points out the similarity of all of Domino’s songs by playing the same chords for every single song. Not a bad little piece. B

7. Randy Newman & The New Leviathan Orchestra sing “Marie” (2:57)

Randy Newman is and was an absolute powerhouse of a singer and this is another song that is no exception. I only wish he didn’t devote most/all of his time to Pixar films now, as good as those songs are. A-

8. Film: Cemeteries (1:46)

AHHH! Gary Weis invades New Orleans! This time, a rambling old man paints tombstones and talks about whatever in one of the more pointless Weis films to date. I understood maybe two words he said. Seriously. C-

9. Tomorrow (4:40)

Emanating from Bourbon Street, Tom Snyder (Aykroyd) interviews the proprietor of a top & bottom-less bar (Murray). We also get to meet one of the dancers, Velocity (the lovely Cindy Williams), who Snyder does a humourous back-and-forth interview with as well. Bill holds his own against Aykroyd’s Snyder impression and Cindy Williams has a funny part. B

10. Baba Wawa At Large (4:42)

Baba Wawa (Radner) presents a filmed interview with the Fonz himself, Henry Winkler. What appears to be a grounded, down-to-earth man turns into a deluded schizophrenic who believes that the Fonz is literally a part of his personality. Henry also tries to help Baba appear cooler than she usually does, but to no avail. B+

11. Mussolini Re-enactment (2:53)

After a few clever quips from Curtin & Henry, Ricky Mussolini (Belushi) re-enacts his grandfather’s commencement address and tells everyone to have a good time. What was the point of that? C-

12. Crowd Reaction (3:39)

Wasting more time before the parade arrives, Jane & Buck make some more jokes before sending it over to Eric Idle, who covers the crowd reaction. However, he announces that the cameras are a bit too late because all that’s left is one drunk guy passed out. Idle’s charm and wit kills here. B+

13. Film: Gary Weis Down South (:50)

A SECOND Gary Weis film?! This one was even more pointless than the first, just showing off the Dixie pride in New Orleans. C

14. The New Leviathan Orchestra sing “Rebecca” (2:20)

The wonderful back-up chorus get their own time to shine and sing a tune about some gal named Rebecca. The singer in the group has a pretty unique voice and the instrumental sections only enhance this goofy, enjoyable number. B+

15. Apollo Ball (2:37)

Penny Marshall takes about twenty seconds to realize the camera is on her as she watches on during the Apollo Ball. She clearly seems awkward and nervous around the cross-dressing taking place in the ball and for some reason, Cindy Williams got lost before getting there. This was as close to dead air as you can get. D

16. Stella! (2:08)

Stanley (Belushi), of A Streetcar Named Desire fame, yearns for his Stella, but the resident (Morris) wakes up to tell him that he’s at the wrong house. The police sirens in the background were the only interesting things happening during this brief, silly bit. C

17. Paul Shaffer and Mr. Mike sing “The Antler Dance” (3:28)

In a rehash from the season premiere, “The Antler Dance” (complete with goofy hand motions) is performed but at least this time, they have Paul Shaffer singing it and not botching it like Lily Tomlin did it. Like everything else though, this was pretty suspect and a waste of time. C+

18. Weekend Update with Jane Curtin & Buck Henry (7:25)

Surprisingly, they still run an edition of Update despite a hostile crowd below and a botched parade so far. New Orleans resident Garrett Morris is given the combination to the city by Mayor Moon Landrieu, who promises to change it back shortly after. Laraine Newman interviews one reveler (Belushi), who shows her that one of the new kicks is to tape white mice to one’s face just above the eyelids. Emily Litella (Radner) interviews a “liverboat” captain (Murray), who of course corrects her by telling her that it’s a RIVERboat. The highlight of Update is Jane trying to deliver a story on a possible presidential assassination, which Buck constantly interrupts with matters that are slightly less pressing. A little jumbled, but it had its moments. B

19. Randy Newman & The New Leviathan Orchestra sing “Kingfish” (2:40)

Thanks to Newman’s little pre-amble, I can tell you that this song is all about Huey P. Long. It’s another enjoyable Newman tune, but not as much so as his other two. B

20. A Visit With Jean Lafitte (5:06)

We get a look back at Jean Lafitte (Murray), the ultimate pirate who took exception to being called one by all of those around him. Murray’s performance here is pretty good and he is starting to show signs of improvement in the show. An enjoyable sketch with a good sight gag ending. B+

21. Apollo Ball (1:15)

This time, Cindy Williams joins Penny Marshall and does most of the work. Just as pointless and drab as the first part. D

22. Randy Newman & The New Leviathan Orchestra sing “Sail Away” (2:44)

Due to protests from the crowd (apparently), Randy Newman performs one more song, his classic, “Sail Away.” It’s definitely one of the best songs in his repertoire. Really nice way to close the show as well. A+

For the goodnights, Randy Newman thanks everyone in the audience and then sends it to Jane Curtin and Buck Henry to close out the show. Due to the parade’s no-show, Curtin announces that “Mardi Gras” is simply a french word meaning “no parade.”

What. A. Mess.

This was the very definition of a trainwreck. While not as bad as the debacle that was the Louise Lasser-hosted episode from Year 1 or the upcoming Malcolm McDowell/Capt. Beefheart episode from Year 6, it was one of the more disorganized, sloppy moments in SNL television history. Barely any pieces in the whole episode were fully-concocted sketches and a lot of them featured some very lazy writing and unruly crowds. Weekend Update and the Jean Lafitte sketch held up well enough, but there was an awful lot of underwhelming and just plain boring material. Did we really need the Apollo Ball stuff?

Randy Newman and the New Leviathan Orchestra were the main highlights as they provided some wonderful music throughout the entire episode. Newman acted as an anchor of sorts, but that’s not to take away from Jane Curtin and Buck Henry, who pretty much controlled the reigns of the entire broadcast.

In short, this was not a good idea.

Notes:

Lots of notorious back-story here: Penny Marshall was almost kidnapped by a biker moments before the Bees sketch, Gilda was mauled right after her bit with Bill Murray and still in her Emily Litella costume, people tried to climb to the stage where Jane and Buck were sitting several times, and the parade never arrived because a reveler was crushed and killed by one of the floats earlier in the night. Anyone else care to contribute?

Randy Newman is a pretty funny guy. His little introduction to the entire show and brief interludes throughout the show were naturally funny.

This was the most awkward episode of Saturday Night Live ever. Just sayin’.

Anyone else enjoy the wonderful new opening sequence they put together for this episode only? Only good thing Gary Weis did in this whole episode.

I heard the Meters were cut out of this episode as well as a “Roots” sketch with Garrett Morris. And yet they left the Apollo Ball crap in and the two pointless Weis films that shamelessly pandered to the city.

That character Bill Murray played in the Tomorrow sketch seems like a precursor to his groundskeeper character in Caddyshack.

Show Rating: C-


by Brendan Wahl

(Season 2, Episode 3)

One thing that Lorne Michaels tried to accomplish with Saturday Night Live from the beginning was to have an American version of Monty Python. The kind of madcap hilarity that would seamlessly go from segment into segment and then he also wanted to borrow some of that absurdity that came along with it as well. The only problem with that is that it is a lot harder and nearly impossible to seamlessly go from segment to segment with a live show and so Lorne had to go with what he could do. But if he was going for the Monty Python sentiment, what better host to choose than Eric Idle?

Eric was, of course, one of the Pythoners and some might say the best one (not me, I always preferred Cleese). It must have been a wonderful surprise to the cast and crew to be able to land Eric Idle for a hosting gig and have a superb comedic ringleader at the helm. Eric brings along tons of comedic baggage with him and a vast knowledge about how sketch comedy works, which is always good to have around.

Joining Eric is rock star Joe Cocker, who John Belushi famously did a spot-on impression of early in the first season. Joe’s strange on-stage (and off-stage, no doubt) mannerisms should not be brushed away as his true singing talent was vast and he had a real presence. Joining Cocker is a second musical guest in Stuff. You’ve probably never heard of Stuff, but essentially they provided backup for several huge rock & roll stars and with this episode, they get to have a showcase for their own talents.

Here we go!

1. The Real Chevy Chase (2:48)

We continue now with the trend of Chevy Chase being absent. We get the introduction of Weekend Update “with Chevy Chase,” but instead of Mr. Foul Play himself, we get comedian Richard Belzer filling in for him, pretending to be the famous stumblebum. Of course, Chevy calls in angrily and proves to the fake one that he is indeed the real Chevy Chase, but Belzer of course denies it and then we get another creative “fall.” B

2. Monologue (:59)

Eric sits with guitar in hand and prepares to sing a ridiculous shouting version of “Here Comes The Sun”, but is quickly interrupted by Jane Curtin, who convinces him to save it for later in the show. B+

3. Genetic Counselor (2:52)

Immediately following the monologue, Eric walks right into his first sketch (remember that thing about seamlessly going from sketch to sketch) and plays a doctor who is interviewing a couple (Aykroyd & Radner) on how they want their soon-to-be newborn to look and act. It seems simple but questions like “tongue or dipstick?” and “fur or quilted?” This is a terrific start. A

4. KLOG Radio (4:55)

A Radio DJ (Aykroyd) alternates between bright and chipper Kip Casey and dark and gloomy Kenneth Wardell depending on which radio station he is currently running. This is a fantastic performance from Aykroyd, who utilizes every inch of his talent to truly deliver and carry this great, great bit. It should be noted that there is yet another reference to the “Antler Dance” in this season. A+

5. The Killer Bees (4:07)

Making their second appearance after Gould/Murray, the Killer Bees (Aykroyd, Belushi, Morris, & Belzer) are back and this time they are invading a clinic to prevent nurses (Curtin & Radner) from killing their friend, the Swine Flu. Unfortunately, one of the bees (Idle) makes it clear that he is NOT Mexican and it breaks the fourth wall and prematurely ends the sketch. Idle trying to prove his Mexican roots is the highlight of this fantastic piece and the sketch also starts the running joke of someone cheering up another castmember or the host up only to have it end with a supposed future sexual encounter. A+

6. Eric’s Song (:31)

Our host believes it’s time to do his song and starts to play again, but Jane interrupts again and tells him to save it for the end of the show. B+

7. Joe Cocker sings “You Are So Beautiful” (2:54)

For some reason, every time I hear this song all I can think about is The Little Rascals and Alfalfa singing it to Darla. Despite that, Cocker delivers a wonderful performance here with his usual mannerisms and strange facial expressions in full effect. A-

8. Baba Wawa’s Farewell (1:01)

One of my favourite “impressions” on the show. Baba (Radner) bids everyone a farewell as she is leaving NBC for “Hawwy Weiseneh.” How the real woman ever got to be an interviewer with that strange speech impediment, I’ll never know. B+

9. Weekend Update with Jane Curtin (Part I)

Once again, Jane takes the helm in place of the injured Chevy Chase and once again kills…much like last week. This time, Jane comments on some very racist comments from Earl Butts and then does a clever callback to the story during a riff on an Ali/Norton fight. In one of the funnier commentaries in recent memory, Garrett Morris interviews a Rabbi (writer Alan Zweibel) for his opinions on the recent circumcision of Michaelangelo’s David.

10. Epifix (1:11)

Dan plays a spokesman for a super-fast headache relief called Epifix which is essentially a high-powered acid combination along with a needle. I love some of these more absurb products. A-

11. Weekend Update with Jane Curtin (Part II) (total: 7:26)

After doing a hilarious piece on comic character Mary Worth becoming pregnant, Jane quickly corrects one of last week’s stories and then continues to kill with joke after joke. We also get some “footage” of Ed Aames (Belushi) throwing an axe on The Tonight Show. Instead of the spontaneous incident that actually occurred though, Ed goes right for the crotch in a moment of frustration and then Jane offers a sarcastic laugh. A+

12. Beatles Offer Backfired (1:30)

Lorne Michaels makes an appearance to mention his $3000 offer to the Beatles and that Eric Idle had formerly agreed to get the Beatles to appear tonight as long as he could get the money ahead of time. Unfortunately for Lorne, Eric was only able to get the Rutles… A-

13. Film: The Rutles (3:18)

This wonderfully-constructed film doesn’t go for easy laughs but rather exists as a scarily accurate depiction of the Beatles and its insane fanbase. Idle, of course, plays one of the Rutles and then an interviewer who just can’t seem to catch up with the cameraman. If I had a rating higher than A+, I would award it to this film. It’s just so unbelievably well-done and funny. A+

14. Nazi Spies (3:26)

Two American spies (Idle & Aykroyd) meet in a Nazi bar and trade lingo between each other and talk in code. Eventually, they quietly discuss their plan to eliminate Hitler and then break into loud, obnoxious German when anyone else comes near their table. The ending makes the sketch but really, the setup is quite hilarious too. A-

15. Eric’s Song (:57)

This time, Eric is dressed in a funny looking hat with stringed marshmellows hanging off the side of it. Before he can get into this different song, this time Garrett interrupts and tells him to save it for later. A-

16. Joe Cocker & John Belushi sing “Feelin’ Alright” (3:39)

Joe comes out for his second number and (along with Stuff) sings a rollicking rock tune. The highlight though is when John Belushi makes his way out shortly after doing his best Cocker impression (which apparently took Joe a while to warm up to) and singing alongside him for the remainder of the song. An absolute highlight and one of the iconic moments of the show. A+

17. Dragnet (4:04)

Officers Friday (Aykroyd) and Saturday Morning (Idle) report for duty in full women’s clothing. There are, again, so many highlights in this sketch. From Garrett Morris telling the two officers he got “a snag in [his] pantyhose” to the strange phone conversation at the beginning, the sound effects, and the final fourth wall-breaking by Belushi. Once again, the sketch ends with a couple of people running off to have sex after one of them is consoled by the other. This time, it’s Eric and Dan. A+

18. Film: Drag Racing Today (1:16)

Eric and Dan essentially play the same characters as the drag racing entails two men wearing dresses and wigs racing each other. After the race ends, they decide drag is still “not working.” A clever sight gag ends this funny piece. A

19. Stuff performs “Foots” (3:16)

The talented backup band perform an instrumental number of their own and as expected, it is quite an enjoyable listen. B+

20. The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (2:37)

The host (Idle) of a deep-sea information show proceeds to abuse a tank of goldfish by giving them chicken, coffee, and other various things that just do not belong in a fish tank. It was quite funny though PETA would have a ball with this today. B+

21. Boxer Talent Spot (2:02)

Ken Norton (Morris) makes his case for winning the championship fight against Ali and then claims that the judges were voting based on style and voting against his aggressiveness. Norton then performs his talent spot by singing. This was a somewhat clever take on beauty pageants under the guise of a boxing commentary. B-

22. Cufflinks of the Gods? (3:44)

Erica von Donnigan (Newman) plays host to a show in which the ultimate answer is seeked out as to how far back comedians date to. Another clever sketch, but this one was marred by somewhat of a dull execution. C+

23. Pong (2:13)

Franken and Davis bring their “Pong” bit back (for the last time, I think) and talk about their mini-quiz they had earlier, more specifically a question about barometer. B

And the show comes to a close with Eric, Joe Cocker, & the cast singing his loud, obnoxious version of “Here Comes The Sun.”

What a wonderful, amazing, awesome, thrilling show. Eric Idle led an absolutely no-holds-barred fun-filled comedy extravaganza. It seems like everything killed and that’s because the stuff that did kill was pretty near everything on the show. Despite a few sketches at the end that petered off a bit more, the show was loaded with classic after classic and featured Idle doing more than his share as host to keep everything afloat.

Joe Cocker was a wonderful musical guest and his duo with Belushi will forever be remembered as one of television’s iconic moments. Stuff, on the other hand though, were also quite good and their little performance piece wa worthy of a spot on the show to be sure.

Everyone worked really hard this week. From the cast, the host, the director, the writers, it was an extremely well-oiled machine that never faltered once even when it neared the end and began to run out of gas a bit.

Host Rating: A+

Musical Guest Rating: A

Show Rating: A+