I just got done watching the very first episode of Saturday Night Live for the first time since, well, I don't know when. Though I do remember most of the sketches in this episode, I kind of surprised I wasn't more familiar with some of the specifics of this inaugural airing.
For example, I totally remember that the Muppets were on SNL but I would have thought, being a fan, I'd have that fact nailed down. Even worse, I didn't realize that Andy Kaufman made such an early appearance.
Then again, I don't think I ever watched the first episode knowing that it was the first episode. I was introduced to the classics through best of compilations, reruns and clip show specials. Well, now I can officially say that I've seen the first Saturday Night Live which means that this challenge has officially begun.
This challenge has the potential to go on for over four years and if you've followed my progress with any of my other experiments then you know that I'm dumb enough to stick to stick it out to then end, even if I do find it torturous. That's why I'm happy that I genuinely enjoy my viewing experience.
There is nothing worse than revisiting a childhood favorite only to find that t didn't age well at all. Though there were a few sketches didn't really hold up and the chemistry and writing is there but not quite to the levels of the later seasons, I did feel like I was entertained and even laughed out loud at least four time, which is pretty good when you consider that I was watching the show alone.
Here's a quick breakdown of what this episode had to offer:
- Michael O'Donoghue tries to teach John Belushi's foreigner character English, only to teach him hilarious nonsense and die of a heart attack at the end.
- George Carlin comparing baseball and football in his classic routine.
- Fake commercial for New Dad, where Chevy Chase plays one of those 70s lecherous characters that could easily replace a husband and father because a woman just needs a man and it doesn't really matter who.
- Billy Preston sings Nothing From Nothing.
- A sketch that worried me at first because it was a court case where Chevy Chase was trying to get Jane Curtin to repeat what someone who was trying to sexually assault her. She wouldn't say it so she wrote it down. It seemed like it was heading down another sexist road but then Gilda Radner saves the day with a hilarious reaction that accounts for one of my laugh out loud moments.
- The classic bit where Andy Kaufman sings Mighty Mouse.
- Some more Carlin stand-up where he has an interesting bit about airport security and how he could hijack a plane by holding a piece of sheet paper to the stewardess's throat.
- Janis Ian sings 17 and does a pretty good job.
- John Belushi makes me laugh just looking at him in a sketch about shark attacks.
- A fake commercial for a product called Jamitall, a dumb play on words to make a gay joke, but not like a homophobic one, just a bad one. If anything they played their gay characters so straight (no pun intended) that they were just a couple, they didn't play off of one stereotype but the funny thing is, you can tell they are trying to be shocking which I'm sure it was at the time.
- News, which was fun but I was hoping that it would be more topical and less surface level jokes about how Ford is dumb.
- The news then broke into a dumb fake commercial for an arthritis pill called Triopenin. I guess I just don't like the dumb play on words from those days.
- Back to the news for a real quick bit that was kind of funny.
- Then the Muppets were on, these weren't the Muppets we all know and love but they did have familiar voices. I wanted to like this sketch more than I did but it was more interesting than funny in a way that I wasn't really in the mood for.
- This was followed by more Carlin doing more of his classics.
- Carlin then introduced a short film by Albert Brooks, this had some interesting political commentary that we are still dealing with to this day. It was cool to see that there was this segment for interesting short films way back then.
- It was fun to see the Bees at Bee Hospital but it was a little on the boring side with not much of a pay-off.
- Yet another fake commercial this time it was an ad hiring operators to answer calls for commercials like the one being spoofed. I liked the Meta aspect of this sketch but this point I was a little over the fake ads.
- Comedian Valri Bromfield performed. I never knew she was a comedian and a pretty good one at that. Other than Belushi and Radner she was the third person from this episode to get me to laugh out loud.
- This was followed by the classic, "Show us your guns America" sketch which is the type of "still the same" satire I was looking for as part of this experiment.
- More Carlin.
- Billy Preston sings Fancy Lady.
- It was around this time that I started to check to see how much time was left because it started to feel like things were winding down and the "toward the end" sketch for a simulated assault and robbery service left me hoping it was the last.
- It wasn't the last. Nope, there was one more fake commercial for a three blade razor that didn't seem like a parody at all since their big joke was about how there were three blades.
- Finally, the show wrapped up with Janis Ian singing another song but I didn't catch the name.
I don't know if this is the structure I'm going to stick to throughout this entire experiment but for now, here are my top three sketches from this episode. Be sure to check my Favorites link for an ongoing list of my favorite aspects of the show.
#1: Michael O'Donoghue tries to teach John Belushi's foreigner character English, only to teach him hilarious nonsense and die of a heart attack at the end.
#2: A sketch that worried me at first because it was a court case where Chevy Chase was trying to get Jane Curtin to repeat what someone who was trying to sexually assault her. She wouldn't say it so she wrote it down. It seemed like it was heading down another sexist road but then Gilda Radner saves the day with a hilarious reaction that accounts for one of my laugh out loud moments.
#3: John Belushi makes me laugh just looking at him in a sketch about shark attacks.