SNL: S01E21... HOST: BUCK HENRY... DATE: MAY 22, 1976

or...

Hero of the Average

There will often be a non-comedic actor who hosts Saturday Night Live that claim they're fulfilling a childhood dream. I often think of this claim as something the squares say in an attempt to appear hip enough for the show. The moment I saw that Buck Henry was hosting again, I started to wonder if he's the one to credit or blame for planting the seed that literally anyone has what it takes to host.

This is by no means an attack on Buck Henry's hosting abilities, in fact, as I pointed out in his first appearance, he's one of my favorite hosts in the history of the show. Part of his appeal was that I didn't who he was but still found him to be fun. 

The best part about this appearance is that that the show seemed to validate my insights on his appeal almost moments after I made it when the show started with Henry unable to get past security because they are expecting a celebrity. 

Here's what else happened as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Chevy Chase opens the show with a cast on his leg claiming he can't do the fall this week due to an accident while getting an award. He acts extra arrogant as he announces Loraine Newman would be doing the fall in his place while continuing to act arrogant. She steps out and pushes him over so he ends up doing the fall.
  2. Buck Henry opens the.... nope... there is no Buck Henry so Loren Michaels calls Belushi out to open the show while he looks for Buck. This is maybe the second time we venture behind the scenes as Loren learns that Buck stepped out to get a pack of smokes. Loren heads to security to find the guard won't let Buck pass because he is expecting a star to host the show. 
  3. They go to restart the show despite the director not wanting to and then rushing Buck Henry when they do.
  4. Chevy Chase then plays a cheesy lounge singer that changes colors like a mood ring passed on the tempo of the song.
  5. The classic Samurai Tailor.
  6. Talk Back with Frank Nolan, was a sketch where Buck Henry plays a host of a call-in show where he has ten phones to answers only no one calls and he has to list off each phone number each time he tries to get callers.
  7. Dell Stator's 99cent Toad Ranch, the 99 cent restaurant with 99 cent frog steaks.
  8. Gordon Lightfoot sings Summertime Dream.
  9. This was followed by another real live commercial for Polaroid.
  10. Next, was the news which is so interesting to watch having distance and knowing how things turn out.
  11. The news commercial was a repeat of the Roll-On Room Deodorizer ad.
  12. The news returned and I'm not sure if it was just that I was very high but Chevy's eyes looked extremely red.
  13. Next was my favorite sketch to date, which sent me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. In this sketch, they are casting a movie and have all the background actors for a crowd scene audition at once implying that they always audition as the same exact group. The audition process cracked me up because everyone had to react to everything as a group and it reminded me of awkward auditions that I witnessed when I worked in film. I then started to note smiley faces to note this as my favorite sketch only to have it transition to an over the top out of the blue offensive scene where the group tries to lynch Garrett Morris. Once again I have mixed feelings about funny when factoring in time, leaning toward being okay with it because it was a different time.
  14. Loren then sweetens his attempt to get the Beatles to reunite on the show by boosting his offer from $3,000 to $3,200.
  15. This was followed by Gilda Radner as Barbara Walters having another crazy voice off between her and a German Director.
  16. This week's short film was Buck Henry in a hardware store interviewing people about toilet seats.
  17. Looks at Books is a fake interview show where Jane Curtin interviews a sex therapist who tip-toes around actually talking about sex.
  18. Gordon Lightfoot then sings Spanish Moss. There was then a fake bit where Lightfoot and Henry were bickering over an encore only to have the Samurai step in.
  19. Garrett Morris then came out and sand an operatic song. It was actually really good. It was also really funny because halfway through the song they run a message explaining that it is not PBS and that this was the last song they expected to hear when Garrett said he wanted to sing.
  20. Michael O'Donoghue and assistants impersonate Tony Orlando and Dawn getting stabbed in the eyes with long steel needles.
  21. Finally, Buck Henry says his good night. 

Here are my top three favorites of this episode. First, there was the sketch with the auditioning crowd. Next, I liked the Samurai Tailor because I like all the sketches in the Samurai series. Finally, I liked Garrett Morris singing with the subtitles explaining why.

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.