SNL: S01E15... HOST: JILL CLAYBURGH... DATE: FEBRUARY 28, 1976

or...

And Then a Couple Hours Later, I Was Born

It was kind of weird watching this episode of Saturday Night Live knowing that I was born a mere few hours after it was originally aired. It would be one thing if this was a prerecorded show that could have been filmed over several weeks to air months later where the significance of what date it was wouldn't even matter as much as it does to a live broadcast.

Though I couldn't genuinely place who the host was beyond thinking she looks like the love interest from The Foot Fist Way, and the episode seemed to suffer from the second half slump there were a couple real big moments that have always stood out to me as influential moments in how I grew to love the show. 

One of my biggest observations is that I Mr. Bill is my celebrity birthday twin since his introductory sketched aired after midnight making it the day that I was born. I was a huge fan of Mr. Bill, to the point where my cousin would torment me by calling me as the clay characters and act like he was getting killed by either falling off the roof or getting eaten by the dog. 

The other thing that stood out to me was the opening sketch when Chevy Chase refused to do the fall. Granted I didn't see this sketch until at least five years had passed, but I have distinct memories of freaking out because I thought this was real. Even now I have a feeling that the fight between Chevy and Lorne had to have been based in reality, especially with Chevy leaving the show at the end of the season but as a kid, I remember having anxiety over the conflict and remember being scared that Chevy would quit the show.

My reaction to both of these sketches is evidence as to how young I was when I first saw this episode. One, I was young enough to believe Mr. Bill was real and two, I didn't put together that Chevy Chase had been off the show for years. Along with being moments before my birth, I think this episode had something to do with the birth of my interest in blurring the lines between fact and fiction.

I've been looking forward to watching this episode since seeing they weren't on hiatus the night before my birth, again, not the best episode I've seen to date but I am happy with what I saw, and with that, I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show started with Chevy Chase fighting with Lorne Michaels about how he's sick of how he's being treated by the show, the lines between fact and fiction felt a little blurry, especially knowing the history of the show.
  2. Jill Clayburgh then opened the show on the night before my birth as discussed in the intro above. She did a bit with Don Pardo where he was using his game show announcer voice to describe their night on the town, the night before the show. She pointed out that he announced Jeopardy and I was a bit shocked that I wasn't shocked by how old Jeopardy actually is.
  3. Jane Curtin then introduced Moments in Herstory which seemed to be about women making bad choices throughout time. In this segment, it was Freud's daughter to tell her dad her dirty dreams that triggered the creation of psychoanalysis.
  4. This was followed by a sketch called Gill Carson Guidance Counselor, which must have been in reference to something the host worked on because it was a parody of a story where a white woman transfers to a rough school to then change the lives of every minority they interact with. This sketch went on way too long and felt dramatic enough to be the real deal with barely any parody at all.
  5. Leon Redbone then performed Ain't Misbehavin' which led me to forget how interesting and original his style is, even to this day.
  6. Garrett Morris then breaks down the issues with race relations and offers to accept donations from those suffering from white guilt.
  7. This was followed by another Great Moment in Herstory which was about the Mother of Modern Dance who must have died from decapitation as the sketch was about her opting for a long scarf to wear on her ride in her new man's convertible. 
  8. This was followed by the news which is continuing to grow some legs, but there were still too many stories like how it was Popeye's birthday with no connection to a real life event.
  9. The news commercial was a repeat of the first H&L Brock commercial from a couple weeks ago.
  10. The news returned to Emily Litella was ranting about the Deaf Penalty and finished off on a couple standard stories. 
  11. The Singing Idlers then came out and sang a song about the Coast Guard as a list of people dumber than dolphins scrolled across the screen. 
  12. After the Coast Guard song, Jill Clayburgh joined the group and sang Sea Cruise by Frankie Ford.
  13. Next was a fake commercial for car treats with people talking about their car as if it actually ate the snacks and the benefits that could be felt.
  14. The host then announced that there would be no Muppets this week, even though they've been gone for over a month but they then use the set to do a Muppet Show with just hands.
  15. This was followed by a short film which was pretty much the same thing as the pre-YouTube cat video from the week before only this week it was a dog owner obsessing over his pet.
  16. Andy Kaufman then came out and performed Old MacDonald with the help of a couple volunteers from the crowd.
  17. Next, we had Chevy and Jill Clayburgh out on a date where she pesters him about what is on her mind. He's nice and says it's her who's on his mind but she wants more and more details as to why. When he asks her what she's thinking about, she just says warthogs and moves on.
  18. Leon Redbone then returned to sing Big Time Woman and again, I'm very intrigued by his overall style.
  19.  This was followed by another Great Moment in History where Gandhi's daughter decided to opt to be evil constantly wanting to own guns, which was an interesting history lesson to me after looking her up when the episode was over.
  20. OH NO... IT'S MR. BILL in his introduction to the cast of SNL/
  21. Finally, the show ended on a lesbian marriage where there must have been some historic references to the two brides because it got quite the reaction when their names were revealed.

This has been the first time in a couple days that it was easy to come up with my top three sketches First and foremost, I was very excited to see Mr. Bill. My next pick could have very easily been my first pick if I hadn't already seen Andy Kaufman in the first few episodes. It was also a routine that doesn't get much airplay so it felt like a new bit to me. Finally, I was entertained by Garrett Morris's attempt to get guilty white people to send him money. 

Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.