SNL: S02E01... HOST: LILY TOMLIN... DATE: SEPTEMBER 18, 1976

SNL: S02E01... HOST: LILY TOMLIN... DATE: SEPTEMBER 18, 1976

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Chevy Chase and Gilda Radner wait out in front of the studio for Lily Tomlin to arrive. First off, I thought Chevy left after season one, but other than that they talk about how Tomlin's gone Diva since last hosting the show. She finally does arrive, and it's true. Lily Tomlin has a huge entourage and is barely missing everyone's names. This sketch goes on and on until finally Chevy is stuck with a mini driver, not Minnie Driver but the dwarf that starred in the movie Freaks, who has no idea who Chevy is and eventually trips Chevy to trigger the opening fall.

  2. Lily Tomlin then comes out to open the show. She is acting humble to throw off the diva scent of the opening scene, but they pretend to go to commercial only to catch Lily in another diva moment before the camera really cuts away.

  3. Next, was a sketch that was about the presidential debates between Carter and Ford. Though they did mention a couple current events, the main focus was slapstick and stupid humor, so I kind of tuned out.

  4. James Taylor then stepped on the stage to sing Shower the People.

  5. This was followed by the news with gets better and better each week. 

  6. The news's commercials are still alive, and this time it was for Lily Tomlin representing the phone company in her famous, "We're the Phone Company: We Don't Care," fake commercial line.

  7. The news returns with Emily Litella calling to complain about the five crustaceans that hijacked a plane only to find out they were actually Croatians and she knew even less what that meant.

  8. The Muppets returned from storage that seems to be their new set. They think they've returned from the afterlife and are plotting ways to get back onto the show. Lily Tomlin joins them and tries to get them to sing the whistle song which was pretty hilarious because, try as they might, the Muppets just couldn't work out how to whistle. This led to a sort of touching goodbye.

  9. Lily wonders from the Muppets to the stage where she has a moment with James Taylor over her interaction with the Muppets, and he takes over to sing the song Roadrunner.

  10. The next sketch started as a Christmas looking scene with the sound of Three Stooges filling the air. Lily Tomlin plays a weird shut-in lady who talks with door to door salesmen just to fill the time. She then talks their ears off until they decide to leave before sealing the deal.

  11. James Taylor then returns to play Sweet Baby James.

  12. Next, was a fake ad that started with a commercial pitchman getting Lily Tomlin to do all the weird infomercial tests including washing all the dishes to see how silky it leave your hands, smearing jelly on clothing to see which side washes out first... This goes on and on until he has her go into a room, get naked and do the antler dance. It's also revealed that this is a commercial to do whatever an SNL cast member tells you to because it is going to be fun.

  13. This was followed by a reoccurring sketch called Women in Literature. This segment was about Emily Sullivan. I don't know who she is, but they were making fun of her very mundane journal entries, so I'm guessing she had a very flat tone to her writing.

  14. This week's short film was a guy that was interviewed before, but this time he seemed drunk and very excited to talk about TV. It was pretty interesting to see a shut-in's life from this time.

  15. Finally, Lily Tomlin closed out the show by teaching everyone in the audience how to do the Antler Dance as she sang the titular song, which was apparently written by Paul Schaffer.

Read More

SNL: S02E02... HOST: NORMAN LEAR... DATE: SEPTEMBER 25, 1976

SNL: S02E02... HOST: NORMAN LEAR... DATE: SEPTEMBER 25, 1976

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Gilda Radner opens the show with an announcement that Chevy Chase will not be a part of the show this week due to an injury from a fall from the week before. She went on to attempt to do the fall to open the show only to be interrupted by a phone call from Chase who is in the hospital and trying to talk her out of stealing his thunder. The sketch ends with the phone falling off the edge of the desk so Chevy could fit in one last "Live from New York," before quitting the show (or at least I assume this is coming up very soon.)

  2. Norman Lear then opens the show. He is one of these people that I've always been aware of his name but am never sure if he's a famous writer, politician or personality. It turns out I know his name because he produced every show from the time.

  3. The monolog leads to a bit where Lear interviews all the famous people that he has worked with over the years. Everyone from All in the Family to The Jeffersons had nothing but good things to say about Lear, at least to his face because they all make faces at him the moment he looks away.

  4. Next was a "Paid Political Announcement" from Aykroyd as Carter as he discusses sexual performance in the White House while he stopped to stump for his campaign. 

  5. Boz Scaggs then performed Lowdown.

  6. Normal Lear then plays himself as he discusses the creative process as a producer where he ends up talking to a clone of a writer selling him everything he wants to hear, mainly focused on ratings and tested storylines to draw in a very broad audience.

  7. The story being pitched by the writer is then played out in a live sketch. It's mainly All in the Family with plug and play character prototypes all with simple to understand opposing views. It was so over the top in its simplified formula that I could see it being very close to the truth of the working of a non-creative producer's views on what makes a good show.

  8. Gilda Radner then came out to announce the next weeks show as someone was behind her aggressively reading the newspaper.

  9. Next was the news with Jane Curtin. I already like the news much better because there is a better blend of real news to silliness that makes the stories easier to consume.

  10. Norman Lear then steps out on the stage to finally fulfill the full Chevy fall.

  11. This was followed by the girls from the show dressed in doo-wop clothing singing a song to get Chevy back, this adds to my suspicions that this was when he reached the point of no return.

  12. Next, there was an ad from the Council of Standards and Measurements where Aykroyd announces the new metric calendar with a three day week and one hundred hour days.

  13. This was followed by a short film that was very YouTube in style, where there was a guy on the phone humming the tune to a song with live action clips cut in to add punctuation to the notes at the end of each bar.

  14. Belushi then plays a divorce attorney trying to get his client, Gilda Radner, to be more emotional when sharing her story of abuse to the jury. She's so flat in her delivery that Belushi starts to get physical with her until Lear steps in. He tries to show her how to act more emotional only to get abused by Belushi as well.

  15. Boz Scaggs returns to sing What Can I Say?

  16. Belushi then plays Kissinger who works a deal between the ruler of Rhodesia and what I think was a British leader? I wasn't aware of the event in reference to really get any of the jokes.

  17. Next was a quick bit with Lear and a lady from the crowd. He wants to tell a joke and needs her to set it up. She keeps stumbling on the set up in a way that is even funnier than what the joke sounds like it's going to be. It turns out that this is Lear's daughter and they were reenacting a moment he had with her as a child. Though cheesy and sentimental it was a pretty cute bit.

  18. Next was another stop-motion home movie called Spanish Peanuts that had no real story just a bunch of peanuts moving around in sombreros and ponchos to a mariachi sound.

  19. Final the show ended with the host saying his good nights.

Read More

SNL: S02E03... HOST: ERIC IDLE... DATE: OCTOBER 2, 1976

SNL: S02E03... HOST: ERIC IDLE... DATE: OCTOBER 2, 1976

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. They continue to cover the fact that Chevy is gone by having Richard Belzer play him hosting the news. Chase then calls in to try and get Belzer to admit that he is not him. This goes back and forth until the picture of Chevy that's supposed to be evidence of Belzer's identity lie falls off the desk and once again Chevy announces "Live From New York," over the phone.

  2. Eric Idle opens the show with his horrible rendition of Here Comes the Sun. He's quickly interrupted by Jane Curtin who drags him into the first sketch in a very surreal way.

  3. As Jane Curtin explains that he can sing at the end of the show, Idle starts putting on a doctor's lab coat and falls into a sketch where he plays a doctor that customizes babies giving all sorts of crazy options to the parents. Who seem reluctant but play along.

  4. Next, we jump to Aykroyd who is playing a Morning Radio DJ broadcasting on both AM and FM and jumps back and forth between being a crazy morning zoo DJ when switched to AM mode and some stoner hipster when switched to FM.

  5. This transitions into a sketch about Swine Flu shots where the Killer Bees enter to save their deadly amigo flu bug. They are then thwarted when the girls realize the Idle Bee is British not South American like a Killer Bee should be. 

  6. Eric Idle tries to play Here Comes the Sun one more time only to be interrupted to introduce the musical guest.

  7. Joe Cocker comes out and sings You Are So Beautiful to Me.

  8. Gilda as Barbara Walters says her goodbye to NBC.

  9. Then Jane Curtin returns as the head news anchor once again and again, I like the way she delivers the news much more than Chase.

  10. The news’s commercial was a fake ad for Epifix, which I guess was a fast acting injection that claimed to cure headaches. I'm guessing that the EpiPen was new at the time?

  11. The news returns with a shocking story of a comic book character that was born out of wedlock. The news then ends with a real quick bit in reference to a played out Johnny Carson clip of an ax throw "gone wrong."

  12. Loren Michaels then comes out to explain how Eric Idle offered up the Beatles only to rip him off by sending in a video of The Rutles, Eric Idle's Beatle's parody band.

  13. This is followed by a music video for The Rutles song, It Must Be Love that ended with a quick mockumentary segment about the band.

  14. Next was a Cabaret sketch with a room full of Nazis and a couple spies. First, the spies take forever to get through their code word, then once they work out that they are talking to the right person they jump in and out of accent depending on whether or not the barmaid is in earshot. The sketch ended in confusion as the accents flip, and they yell out their plans to kill Hitler so that everyone in the crowd can hear.

  15. Eric Idle then plays an Australian singer trying to start a song about Rover the Dover. Once again the cast stops him to introduce the next real song.

  16. Joe Cocker then sings Feelin' Alright and is join by Belushi Cocker who sings along.

  17. This was followed by a Dragnet sketch which was interesting being that Aykroyd later went on to play the same character in a non-parody role. Anyways, it was DRAGnet where all the cops were in drag. This went on for a bit until Belushi breaks the scene to point out that drag doesn't work in America. They give up on the scene and cut to a short film.

  18. The short film actually picks up where we left off, and there is a DRAG race between Idle and Aykroyd both running in drag.

  19. The band Stuff then performs Foots.

  20. This is followed by a Jacques Cousteau sketch with a toy submarine in a fish tank, that jumped into a how to care for pets video where Idle shows the viewers how to feed said fish from said fish tank, giving them chicken, soup and all sorts of other human foods by just throwing everything in the tank. I started to feel bad for the fish, then they cut back to the Cousteau sketch where he makes a statement on pollution, still in the filthy tank.

  21. Garrett Morris then plays Ken Norton complaining about his latest fight, which then leads to Morris singing opera as Norton for no real reason.

  22. This led to a sketch called Cufflinks of the Gods which was a parody of Von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods. It was pretty much Ancient Aliens but about modern jokes in ancient times, many focusing on the "Take my wife," line of humor.

  23. This was followed by the return of the Pong sketch where one of the players discusses math to his idiot friend.

  24. Finally, Eric Idle was allowed to sing his full song before saying good night.

Read More

SNL: S02E04... HOST: KAREN BLACK... DATE: OCTOBER 16, 1976

SNL: S02E04... HOST: KAREN BLACK... DATE: OCTOBER 16, 1976

The Wicker Breakdown: 

  1. Jane Curtin announces Chevy's return which made me a little sad when she "joked" about how she's going to miss doing the news. John Belushi then wheels Chevy out in a wheelchair as they are still playing up that it was an injury to blame for Chevy's leave. Belushi finishes the bit by dumping Chevy off the stage to fulfill the opening fall.

  2. Karen black then came out with her child and does a monolog about motherhood where she breaks down motherhood throughout time as if they matched the age they were from, i.e., the steam-powered mom during the locomotive era.

  3. Gilda plays Barbara Walters and interviews Gandhi's daughter who was the ruler of India at the time and the two pretty much pit speech impediment against Indian accent as the two discuss the ruler's reign.

  4. This was followed by another Debate '76 sketch this time taking on the second debate between Ford and Carter and covering the same things, Ford is stupid, and Carter is shady, but America has no other choice. Though that wasn't their point, that's what I took away from it.

  5. John Prine then sang Hello In There.

  6. Back to Chevy hosting the news and as I said in the intro, I hate the fact that I'm not a fan of his return because I really am a Chevy fan, just learning now that I am not a fan of his connection to the show. That said, I do really like they walk the line between fact and fiction in dealing with their issues. 

  7. The news commercial is yet another repeat for the three-bladed razor.

  8. More news with no special guest.

  9. The news was followed by a fake commercial for cupcakes that don't cause cancer. They go on and one about how these cupcakes will not cause cancer, even showing tests of rats not getting cancer from them. Chevy eventually comes out dressed as a doctor and announces that he has to chime in as part of the Truth in Marketing Movement and points out that absolutely no scientists believe that any cupcake causes cancer. Funny, but I'm not sure if that is still true in this new world where everything causes cancer.

  10. Next was an Amish sketch that started with the characters speaking the lyrics to Turn! Turn! Turn!, until it is revealed that they are Amish cops and it evolves to be more on a cop show parody.

  11. This was followed by a sketch about Catherine the Great that seemed a little too historical and boring, I zoned out a little and when I mind returned the sketch had evolved to a Mr. Ed parody with Catherine the Great in her quarters talking to her horse as if they were in a relationship.

  12. Next was the short film of the night which was pretty much a mini-documentary about a quirky comedy club owner that would probably be too offensive to go into using the words he used that were perfectly fine at the time.

  13. John Prine then returned to sing The Bottomless Lake.

  14. Aykroyd then meets up with Jane Curtin for a mini 10-year reunion. It turns out he had a massive crush on her in high school even though she has no idea who he is. He wants to get as much out of the encounter as he can, and she just wants to leave.

  15. Garrett Morris then introduces the latest installment of the Mr. Bill series, which made me very happy.

  16. The show then ended with Karen Black singing Ten Cents a Dance. She was eventually joined by other cast members who also sang change-themed songs ending on Belushi singing while the subtitles made fun of a situation that took place behind the scenes.

Read More

SNL: S02E05... HOST: STEVE MARTIN... DATE: OCTOBER 23, 1976

SNL: S02E05... HOST: STEVE MARTIN... DATE: OCTOBER 23, 1976

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1.  The show starts in the Yankee's locker room with the coach giving an inspirational speech as he apologizing for their loss. The team doesn't seem all that press, and Chevy kicks the stool out from under the coach, causing him to hang, leading to the announcement of "Live from New York..."

  2. Steve Martin then opens the show with a comedy/banjo routine.

  3. Chevy Chase then does a paid spot for milk where his information of the product get worse and worse with every take.

  4. Next was a Jeopardy 1999 sketch, which was Jeopardy 23 years in their future, and 18 years in our past. It's always funny to see how far off the predictions are in these old sketches but the crowd was pretty humored by a joke about 20th Century Fox having to change their name at the start of the new year.

  5. Kinky Friedman sings Dear Abbie.

  6. This was followed by Chevy Chase hosting another decent segment of the news.

  7. The news commercial was for a digital dog clock called FidoFlex.

  8. The news returns with Jane Curtin. I was really hoping that they would give her the second half of the show, but no, she just made an editorial reply as Chase did his old making faces behind her back routine. After she left, one of my favorite moments so far happened. Al Franken just walks out onto the stage and starts to read the news over Chevy's shoulder. This freaks Chevy out, so he asks him to leave to which he does, and it is never referenced again. It was so quick and so out of the blue that I hope they let this be a one-time ordeal.

  9. This was followed by a Beatnik sketch where every member of the cast performed a Beatnik style performance. Though sort of funny, this sketch went on forever, it even ended by updating what each and every character was up to now that the beatnik movement was over. The updates were probably funny than the meat of the sketch, but it felt like it was just meant to eat away the time.

  10. This week's Looks at Books was Jane Curtin interviewing Steve Martin as a sports doctor who is studying sex in sports. He shared a bunch of videos, and every highlight clip was supposed to be an athlete that abstained from sex while the bloopers were happening to the sexually active players. 

  11. This week's short film was a bunch of New Yorkers lip-syncing to a song about New York.

  12. This was followed by a Mary Tyler Moore parody where the dopey news anchor from the show accidentally kills Mary with a Draino in the coffee prank. Interesting timing with Mary Tyler Moore's actual death being so near, but this was another sketch that went on and on and on...

  13. Next was a bizarre sketch called Mysteries in Medicine where Steve Martin played a diet doctor whose diet technic was pretty much to kidnap his patients and then take them to the arctic where they had to ice fish with a spear to catch their food. It turns out that the patient isn't alone and has to not only fight with a second patient for food but also an Eskimo named Blog who would eat anything in site. It goes on to reveal that the girls aren't in the Arctic and Blog was actually not an Eskimo at all but the doctor's assistant watching on closed-circuit television to know when they found food. It was like Inception meets Lost, and I loved the way that it left me feeling confused.

  14. The show ends with Steve Martin doing another one of his stand-up routines before coming out with the rest of the cast to say their goodnights.

Read More

SNL: S02E06... HOST: BUCK HENRY... DATE: OCTOBER 30, 1976

SNL: S02E06... HOST: BUCK HENRY... DATE: OCTOBER 30, 1976

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show opened with the Land Shark on Halloween sketch.

  2. Next, Buck Henry did a funny opening monolog where he reveals weird secrets about each member of the cast.

  3. Samurai Stockbroker, not the best of the Samurai series but it is the one where Belushi really bashes Buck in the head with the sword.

  4. Gilda as Barbara Walters then interviews the potential first ladies in her new parody talk show.

  5. Garrett Morris then shows us his Roots as he tells the back story of his family in a photo journey through time.

  6. This was followed by a parody of the third debate from '76. This one was a beauty pageant-themed event, complete with a swimsuit and talent portion of the show.

  7. The news starts with the top story being the Buck Henry incident. From here on out everyone in the cast has a band-aid on their head to show solidarity with the injured host.

  8. The news commercial was for the Bat-O-Matic which was a blender to make magic potions and Aykroyd actual blends a dead bat. Once again, I was surprised by how shocked I felt that they would actually use a real dead bat.

  9. The news returned with a touching moment where Chevy hands off the news segment to Jane Curtin. I have to be honest and admit that I almost cried, but as I said, I was drunk by this time. 

  10. The band The Band then played three songs back to back. Life is a Carnival, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, and Stage Fright.

  11. This was followed by a parody of The Omen called The OintMENt that really felt like it was reaching to make any sense.

  12. The short film of the week was Buck Henry being put into drag.

  13. The next three sketches are connected in a very obscure way. First, they introduce that Garrett Morris will be going to Houdini's grave on Halloween to attempt to interview his ghost if it were to appear. The set up was so quick that it almost didn't make sense. (Link2)

  14. Next, there was a sketch with Michael O Donoghue being weird as he tales the tale of the Least-Loved Bedtime story. I kind of tuned out because I have mixed feeling about O Donoghue and he seemed to just be saying weird things for the sake of being weird.

  15. Finally, my attention was pulled back to the present as they cut back to Garrett Morris who just looked terrified and couldn't speak a word. Nothing else was said, and they just moved on with the show. It was such a jarring return to the reality that it had me laughing the hardest of any sketch I've seen up to this point.

  16. The band The Band then performed Georgia On My Mind.

  17. Finally, Buck Henry closes out the show by saying good night.

Read More

SNL: S02E07... HOST: DICK CAVETT... DATE: NOVEMBER 13, 1976

SNL: S02E07... HOST: DICK CAVETT... DATE: NOVEMBER 13, 1976

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show starts with a sketch with Gilda Radner mind f***ing the home audience by lying about the color of her clothing. Cut to: Garrett Morris watching at home angry that the colors are off based on Gilda's lies. He then beats the TV in an attempt to fix the picture quality, knocking Gilda (inside the TV) around in the process.

  2. Dick Cavett then opens the show with an announcement that he was a last minute replacement for Elliot Gould. He then answered questions from the audience that were surprisingly either very dirty or very cruel.

  3. This was followed by a fake commercial for Puppy Uppers and Doggy Downers that promise to regulate your pooch's mood.

  4. This was followed by a Watergate sketch with flashbacks and flash-forwards that seemed to last a lifetime.

  5. Ry Cooder then came out to perform Tattler.

  6. Next was the news with Jane Curtin, again her stories seem to be more satirical than the joke-heavy Chevy news.

  7. The news's commercial was for the Marines where Garrett Morris plays a gay recruiter looking for "A Few Good Men.

  8. The news then concluded with the worst tale of a Good Samaritan attempt gone wrong. 

  9. Next was a sketch called Crossroads where Belushi plays a young boy who is contemplating dropping out of school. He seems to have a couple of good points, but everyone beats the crap out of him instead of answering with advice.

  10. This was followed by a parody of an upcoming show to NBC. It was called Mobile Shrink and had Chevy Chase providing therapy at other's jobs. Being that Chevy was in this sketch, I'm guessing it was a bit that missed its mark and was supposed to be scrapped.

  11. Jane Curtin then played the host in an episode of How Things Work, where she interviewed Dick Cavett about the power of Pressure Groups and their fake letter-writing campaigns.

  12. The short film this week was a repeat of the old lady that runs the local novelty shop which added to the filler feel of this episode.

  13. The Bees then made an appearance as they broke down their history of their immigration to America and how they were treated by the wasps.

  14. Ry Cooder returned to play He'll Have to Go.

  15. Michael O'Donoghue returned for his weird segment called Least-Loved Bedtime Tales, where he told a bizarre story about a blind chicken that felt over calculated in its quirkiness.

  16. The comedy duo of Franken and Tom then came out to do a survey sketch that was sort of interaction with the crowd.

  17. Finally, Cavett said his good nights after having to kill a couple minutes because they finished ahead of time.

Read More

SNL: S02E08... HOST: PAUL SIMON... DATE: NOVEMBER 20, 1976

SNL: S02E08... HOST: PAUL SIMON... DATE: NOVEMBER 20, 1976

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1.  The show opens with Paul Simon approaching the studio. I'm not sure if Chevy contractually has to make some sort of appearance throughout the rest of this season, but he makes a quick appearance as a Busker now that he no longer has the show.

  2. This is connected to the first bit, but we're now inside, and George Harrison is trying to pester Loran Michaels into giving him the $3300 that he was offering for the Beatles reunion. Paul Simon approaches from the first sketch and starts to complain about the opening idea, only it's kind of vague what the issue is. Paul Simon gives in and heads off to get ready while George continues to push for more pay.

  3. Again the opening sketches carry over to the opening monolog where Paul Simon performs Still Crazy After All These Years, while dressed as a Thanksgiving Turkey. He doesn't get far before breaking into a shame cycle about the suite.

  4. This was followed by a fake commercial for Quarry cereal. Thank God, the sound of people chomping on rocks sounded so over the top and cartoony that it didn't affect my Misophonia because that would have driven me nuts.

  5. Paul Simon then sings 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.

  6. Next was an interview with Barbara Walters and Henry Kissinger, thought all any sketch with Barbara Wawa, is mainly a speech pattern parody, I still find it kind of funny.

  7. This was followed by a Twilight Zone parody where desperate actresses keep showing up to the same room expecting to meet with a movie producer. They keep acting like it some big mystery, but it's obviously playing off the casting couch. It turns out Rod Serling is the producer in question which wasn't even all that interesting as a parody twist.

  8. Once again, Jane hosts the news and starts with a story about how people were outraged that Carter spent a whopping Thirty-Five-Million-Dollars on his campaign.

  9. Paul Simon teams up with George Harrison to sing Here Come the Sun, followed by a joint performance of Homeward Bound.

  10. This was followed by the first of two music video directed by Eric Idle for a couple of George Harrison songs. This song was called Crackerbox Palace.

  11. Next was a long sketch that started with the silly introduction of our hero. His name was Billy, and he's a man of mystery even though they seem to have a lot of facts about him. They then jumped to a sketch at an ice cream shop run by a bigot who would only serve ice cream to the white kids in town. Then our mystery hero Billy stepped in to save the day then shows unity by ordering a chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cone to represent each color of the person involved. 

  12. Paul Simon sings Something So Right.

  13. Aykroyd as Tom Snyder then interviews Paul Simon thinking that he is a trucker, then thinking he is Neil Simon which was followed by more and more mix-ups showing that Tom Snyder does not do his research.

  14. Next was the second music video that was directed by Eric Idle for George Harrison's song This Song.

  15. Finally, Paul Simon sang Bridge Over Troubled Water before saying good night.

Read More

SNL: S02E09... HOST: JODIE FOSTER... DATE: NOVEMBER 27, 1976

SNL: S02E09... HOST: JODIE FOSTER... DATE: NOVEMBER 27, 1976

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Gilda Radner opens the show complaining that she wasn't given much to do this episode and as she rants about it the subtitles explain that they are phasing her out of the show. She goes as far as telling her friends to turn off the show if they're there to see her, then changes her tone as she shouts, "Live from New York..."

  2. Jodie Foster opens the show with a little monolog about being the youngest host to date then reads a note from her mom giving an excuse as to why the show started a little late.

  3. This was followed by a filmed commercial for Pilson's Feed Bag Dinner starring Chevy Chase and is about eating dinner on the go.

  4. Jodie Foster then plays a stoner teen in her room who think she's tripping balls when the Bees enter the room in a Peter Pan parody of sorts.

  5. Brian Wilson sings Back Home.

  6. Jodie Foster then does a fake ad for Puberty Helper which is just a giant potato sack to cover up kids during their awkward stage.

  7. This was followed by an airport security sketch where Aykroyd played a mettle addict trying to get past the metal detector. It's interesting to see them complaining about this level of security at that time.

  8. Once again, Jane does the news, and I'm not sure if they are messing with her sometimes by changing the camera without warning or if she's just not used to it yet.

  9. The news's commercial was a sample of the average SNL fan, which was Belushi playing a manly man who runs a flower shop, in a way that felt aggressively closeted over being a homophobic attack.

  10. Back to the news where they read some of the calls to action asking for alternative ways for Morris the Cat to commit suicide.

  11. Brian Wilson then sings Love is a Woman.

  12. The was followed by a sketch called Little Know Talents of the Not Ready For Prime Time Player, this week was Laraine Newman's week, and she showed off her ability to imitate sounds.

  13. Next was a sketch called Salute to Don Pardo which was a tribute to the announcer's life and career, flashing all the way through his life with him always having that magical voice.

  14. Jodie Foster then plays a student flirting with her teacher on her last day in Jr. High. This was pretty creepy, but at least they didn't have Aykroyd even hint at giving in to any urges. The most disturbing part was the sketch didn't come across over the top enough to be funny so it felt more like a writer's perverted dream and for some reason I feel that writer is Michael O'Donoghue, who has a similar creepy move later in the show.

  15. The short film of the week was kids talking about their dreams.

  16. This was followed by the King Kong Dirge which was once again an excuse to let Garrett Morris show off his operatic voice.

  17. Next was a sketch where Garrett Morris was arguing with Jane Curtin who was playing his wife. It turns out he disappointed that she's finally come out of the closet and has admitted to not being black. They discussed the telltale signs in a funny way, but it's finally revealed that it's actually Garrett Morris that thinks he is white.

  18. Mr. Mike returned to do his Least-Loved Bedtime Tales which is where I mentioned he gets creepy. He calls Jodie Foster up onto his lap as he tells this week's calculatedly creepy tale. I was too bothered by the imagery to really listen to the story of the week. 

  19. Brian Wilson then sang Good Vibrations.

  20. Finally Jodie Foster finished off the show by saying good night.

Read More

SNL: S02E10... HOST: CANDICE BERGEN... DATE: DECEMBER 11, 1976

SNL: S02E10... HOST: CANDICE BERGEN... DATE: DECEMBER 11, 1976

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show starts with a sketch about Patty Hearst being reunited with her family and being unable to avoid references to her kidnapping whether they are playing Scrabble or watching TV. They flip through the channels to finally land on themselves on SNL which leads Gilda as Patty to announce, "Live from New York..."

  2. They go to start the show, but there is no Candice Bergen to be found. Jane Curtin helps the director track her down, and it turns out that she's too upset due to a falling out between her and John Belushi. This leads into a Casablanca sketch as Belushi shows up dressed as Bogart.  This goes on for far too long, but it eventually leads to Candice Bergen opening the show.

  3. Aykroyd then played Carter as he explains how he just doesn't have the power to fulfill all the campaign promises that he made, even though he is the president.

  4. This was followed by a mall Santa sketch that turned out to be a fake commercial for Santi Wrap, the Santa sanitary lap cover.

  5. Frank Zappa then performs I'm the Slime featuring the singing styles of Don Pardo.

  6. Next, was the famous Consumer Probe sketch where Candice Bergen interviews a sleazy Aykroyd who is pushing dangerous Christmas gifts for children.

  7. This was followed by yet another repeat of the Pricing Gun ad that at one point I marked as a favorite.

  8. Next was the best break by far when Candice Bergen was playing the "Smart Friend" in a fake PSA defending the extremely dumb. Gilda plays the dummy until Candice mixes up the names and can't stop laughing when Gilda runs with the ironic flub with some hilarious improv.

  9. Once again, Jane Curtin does the news featuring the fallout sketch that inspired the above intro.

  10. The news’s commercial was a fake ad for a Polaroid-style cheese slicer. This made me laugh because I was annoyed at first thinking it was another legitimate Polaroid ad like the ones that would pop up in the first season.

  11. The news returns with Emily Litella ranting about why anyone would collect money for unisex causes.

  12. Frank Zappa then performs Lagoon with Samurai Belushi on sax.

  13. Garrett Morris then sings Oh Tannenbaum which I thought was just another excuse to get him to sing but evolved into a parody of a horror film called The Killer Trees. Where the trees are on a mission to kill the carolers.

  14. The short film of the week was of a woman who swam around Manhattan Island. Usually, these mini-docs interview quirky people which led me to wonder if the fact that she was a woman made this quirky at the time because even though this was a compelling video, it felt too normal through modern eyes for me to see how it ended up on a comedy show in the first place.

  15. This was followed by the announcement of the Adopt Belushi for the Holidays Contest.

  16. Candice Bergen then shares the horrific backstory of a convicted murderer who had a controversial death sentence that was looking like it was going to be the first televised execution, this led to the song Let's Kill Gary Gilmore for Christmas. 

  17. Frank Zappa then sang Peaches and Regalia.

  18. Finally, Candice and the cast were out on the ice rink in Rockefeller Center where they skated as she said her good nights.

Read More

SNL: S02E11... HOST: RALPH NADER... DATE: JANUARY 15, 1977

SNL: S02E11... HOST: RALPH NADER... DATE: JANUARY 15, 1977

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Gilda and Aykroyd wait in the lobby for Ralph Nader who is "running late." They express their concerns of having a stuffy politician hosting the show until Nader arrives dressed as a Disco Cowboy and acting the total reverse of his character. They take him up to make-up where he tries to keep up the facade but gets uptight about every product they try to put on him because they are all either harmful to the consumer or to the environment. This continues as he makes his way to the stage when he ruins Garrett Morris's enjoyment of hot dogs.

  2. Ralph Nader then opened the show with a monolog bashing RCA, who owned NBC at the time. He kept reassuring that the TV station was respectable and that his issue was with other areas of the company, but the cameras would pan away whenever he’d start to mention the parent company.

  3. Next was a fake commercial for a long distance service that gave great deals after 11:00 in the PM. This was Bill Murray's first sketch on the show, and he plays a poor grandfather playing a long distance game of chess with his grandson. The later it gets, the grumpier grandpa gets until he started griping about his grandson to the point where he wishes that he would die. The grandson finally calls revealing that it is a child who calls his move which is the full extent of the phone call.

  4. Jane Curtin then explains the backstory of another murder who was in line for a potentially televised execution. This then when into a sketch for what rehearsal would look like if the event were to be approved to go live. This makes me wonder if all these pro-death penalty sketches contributed to my early stance on the issue.

  5. Barbara Wawa then promotes an upcoming special where she will be interviewing herself as the most interesting person.

  6. George Benson then sings Masquerade.

  7. Nader then plays himself getting ready for a meeting with the recently elected Carter. He then falls into a daydream where he meets with Carter to help him with his cabinet selection. Though this event happened first, it strongly reminded me of Sanders dealing with Clinton, Nader being Sanders trying to confirm that Carter will stick to at least some of the progressive platform he agreed to during the campaign. Of course, he wakes to the reality that we're all now dealing with.   

  8. Once again, Jane Curtin does the news that starts with Belushi calling in his absence. This must be a way for the cast to make a few bucks when they do not make the show because this isn't the first time this has happened. Bill Murray drops in for his first news appearance, and there is an entire segment about oil companies getting in the way of solar energy. The news ends with the Emily Litella segment that stands out the most to me as a memorable moment when she rants about Ford wanting to make Puerto Rico a steak before leaving office.

  9. Andy Kaufman returns to the show with a segment where he plays his foreign character doing impersonations leading up to his famous Elvis impersonation.

  10. Next was a sketch where Nader was in a room filled with sex dolls ala Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet. Again fully aware that this sketch came first so what reminds me of what should be reversed, where Nader meets with an interviewer and gets very defensive about the dolls saying that it's part of a consumer study, even though he talks to the dolls as if they were real people.

  11. The short film this week was a repeat of the garbage man short from season one.

  12. This was followed by the introduction of the Coneheads, and I forgot just how much I liked them.

  13. George Benson then returns to sing Gonna Love You More.

  14. Next was a sketch called Youth Ask the Questions where they made fun of the youngest voting generation from the time about how stupid and naive their questions are which is another ongoing cycle that annoys me.

  15. This was followed by a repeat of the Ambassador Training Academy that has played multiple times throughout the two seasons.

  16. Finally, Nader came out to say his good night. 

Read More

SNL: S02E12... HOST: RUTH GORDON... DATE: JANUARY 22, 1977

SNL: S02E12... HOST: RUTH GORDON... DATE: JANUARY 22, 1977

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1.  The show starts with Loran Michaels on the phone stressing over the Belushi situation. I think it's a contract negotiation because they are using the same excuses as they did back when Chevy Chase decided to leave the show, even wheeling Belushi out in a wheelchair to blur the line between fact and fiction. I can't wait until this challenge is over to read the books about this time period because I know there are plenty of them out there. The sketch ends with Belushi coming to life when the doctor announces he will not be able to afford the drugs without the SNL income. 

  2. Ruth Gordan then opened the show with a real quick monolog. I had no idea who she was so I broke my rule and turned to the internet before the show was over.

  3. This was followed by another repeat of the gay Marine sketch where Garrett Morris is looking for "A Few Good Men."

  4. Laraine Newman then imitated Judy Garland as she sang a song about her self-absorption. 

  5. Next was a sketch called The Litella Sisters at Home where Gilda played her Emily Litella character still living with her sister (Ruth Gordan) and the two mishear one another as they attempt to come up with Emily's topic for this night's news.

  6. Aykroyd then did his Tom Snyder impersonation as they wheeled out Belushi who was impersonating whoever the crazy Italian was that directed the latest King Kong from the time. It was mainly a sketch of eccentricity while pointing out how bad of a host Tom Snyder was, at least through the eyes of Aykroyd. 

  7. Chuck Berry then performed Johnny Be Good.

  8. Once again, Jane Curtin does the news, and though I didn't find anything this episode, I'm still continuing to get more out of her stories than the silliness and one-off jokes that came from Chase as the anchor.

  9. The news commercial was for Crazy Ernie's Stereo Shop where a literal crazy Aykroyd was selling his cousin's merchandise for outrageous prices while his cousin, who really ran the store, was out of town.

  10. The news returns with Emily Litella having nothing to say even after her brainstorming sketch with her sister. This continues the feud between this character and Jane Curtin who takes the news very seriously.

  11. The short film this week was an unofficial music video for the song Night Moves, where Garrett Morris being broadcast on the TV has a relationship with a very sexy woman.

  12. This was followed by a sketch called Old Ladies of the Night, where Ruth Gordan played a runaway prostitute in her sixties which is a growing trend according to the sketches statistics.

  13. Chuck Berry returns to perform both Marie and Carol.

  14. Next was a sketch that they've done a couple times now where they had Gilda Radner as a little kid asking her elder babysitter about sex. I get that part of the reason is that it allows the characters to be way off on what sex means but it's bordering on a creepy obsession. This may be because I'm assuming that Michael O'Donoghue is to blame for all the creepy kid stuff and there's something about him that makes me question the intent of his humor.

  15. Once again we get another segment with Mr. Bill!!! Though they are all pretty much the same, I am thrilled to see my favorite childhood segment.

  16. Ricky Jay then does a couple magic tricks where there was one misdirect that was pretty funny, but I still hate most magicians.

  17. This was followed by a sketch that delves into the life of Howard Hughes during his crazy years as a shut-in. 

  18. Aykroyd then played the host of World of Adventure which was basically just a show that uses any excuse to show Native African boobs ala National Geographic.

  19. Mr. Mike did another one of his creepy Least-Loved Bedtime Tales this time using it as an excuse to get Gilda to dress as a French maid to sit on his lap as he told his tale.

  20. Finally, Ruth Gordan ended the show by saying her good nights. 

Read More

SNL: S02E13... HOST: FRAN TARKENTON... DATE: JANUARY 29, 1977

SNL: S02E13... HOST: FRAN TARKENTON... DATE: JANUARY 29, 1977

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Since this is the Super Bowl Special, the show starts with Belushi on the sidelines announcing that he will not be acting in any sketches but will be there for any coaching needs throughout the night. Again it feels like a crappy contract negotiation that I have mixed feeling about the way it feels that the fans are the ones that are being punished as these two entities continue to bicker.

  2. Fran Tarkenton then opens the show with a monolog about his season and why his team didn't make it to the big game. He starts to sing Feelings as Murray gives a play by play from the corner of the screen as Garrett Morris steps in to take over the singing duties like a backup quarterback would step in during a game.

  3. Next was a fake ad for the Swiss Army Gun which felt like it was being pitched by the same character that brought us the Bass-O-Matic.

  4. Jane Curtin then plays the teacher that has to deal with a dumb Amy Carter while also having to cope with the ever-present secret service.

  5. Fran then runs to the sideline to check in with Belushi who gives him a pep talk as coach. Meanwhile, one of the helmeted players loses an arm.

  6. Leo Sayer sings When I Need You.

  7. In this week's Black Perspective, Garrett Morris talks to Fran about why "blacks" don't make for good quarterbacks, using many of the "comedic" stereotypes from the time.

  8. Bill Murray and Jane Curtin have a date at an exclusive restaurant where they eat in the chef's home and are treated very passive aggressively while being forced to listen to the daughter's horrible recorder recital while the host fight in the kitchen.  

  9. Next was a fake commercial where Fran pitches Sugar Frosted Anabolic Steroids.

  10. Once again, Jane Curtin does the news, she hints that she might be switched out with Murray, but I really hope that doesn't happen.

  11. Fran does a fake spot with Belushi about drugs where Belushi is dressed like a boy scout and is losing his mind from his drug regimen.

  12. The news then wraps up with more general stories.

  13. Fran brings an annoying groupie back to his hotel room after the Super Bowl she is such a rambling hippy that he calls time out to talk to Belushi to help him figure out what to do. He returns to the room to try to quiet her with drinks as he dims the lights and tries to get her in bed despite her talk of self-harm. No matter how annoying she is, he continues to try to get her in bed. Once again, he returns to Belushi to get advice on how to "score." She finally gives in just before the play clock runs out of time.

  14. Next was a funeral sketch that turned out to be a fake commercial for Spearmint Gum.

  15. This was followed by a sports-like breakdown of Fran's performance so far. They cut to see what the competing stations are playing only to show some old musical playing (That's Entertainment part 10) on ABC. Then return for more play by play.

  16. The White Plains Marching band then comes out to perform You Are the Sunshine of My Life in a quick sketch that takes a jab at Stevie Wonder for some strange reason, then it's back to more play by play of the show so far.

  17. Leo Sayer sings You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.

  18. The short film this week interviews a lizard fanatic/terrarium builder.

  19. Next was a fake a for a perfume called French Liquid that smell different on each woman and the samples get stranger and stranger as they go.

  20. Donny Harper and the Voices of Tomorrow then perform Sing a Song.

  21. Next was a sketch filled with financial advice between two WASPy women.

  22. Finally, Fran says his good nights. 

Read More

SNL: S02E14... HOST: STEVE MARTIN... DATE: FEBRUARY 26, 1977

SNL: S02E14... HOST: STEVE MARTIN... DATE: FEBRUARY 26, 1977

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1.  Steve Martin exits his dressing room to head to the stage and is instantly greeted by Gilda Radner who is complaining about how he's treated her since his last hosting gig claiming that his guest hosting spot on the Tonight Show had gone to his head. He assures Gilda that this is not true then continues on to get confronted by the rest of the cast who all seem to have the same concern. It ends with Belushi bullying Martin twisting his arm to get him to open the show with the famous, "Live from New York..."

  2. Steve Martin then opens the show with his high energy stand up that I'm finding I'm not a fan of. Just like with Richard Prior, I adore him as an actor, but I'm sad to say that his stand-up kind of annoys me.

  3. The Coneheads return, this time Steve Martin plays an IRS agent investigating why they randomly appeared in the tax system. The crosstalk between alien talk and talk of illegal aliens, which was surprisingly current as well as being pretty funny for the time.

  4. Once again, Garrett Morris sings opera as the subtitles explain why they were expecting something more stereotypically black after Morris's trip to Jamaica.  

  5. This was followed by a sketch called Celebrity Weightlifting that put Jaclyn Kennedy Onassis up against a Russian Strongman, and she barely loses the contest.

  6. Next, The Kinks came out and did a medley of their hits.

  7. Once again, Jane Curtin does the news which was solid, but there were no stories worth sharing.

  8. The news commercial was for Doctor Ruth Breadloaf's diet book where you eat a page per meal until you meet your goal.

  9. This was followed by more news that was decent but nothing too exciting.

  10. Lily Tomlin then joins the show to promote a Broadway gig that she landed. She and the rest of the female cast then break into a performance of Broadway Babies about the women trying to start their stage careers while maintaining a life in Manhattan.  

  11. Belushi then plays a child on life support while Steve Martin plays a light-hearted doctor discussing the options to pull the plug. The family is willing to fight until they learn of the daily cost to which Murray, playing the father, became bound and determined to unplug his son, even lying saying the wanted to die with dignity. Belushi then comes to life in the process of the "accidental" unplugging which leaves everyone in an awkward situation.

  12. Garrett Morris came out to introduce the short film with was just a mini-documentary about what looks to be a fantastic but run-down restaurant in New Orleans.

  13. Steve Martin then hosts a show called Hollywood Bingo that's like Hollywood squares only with tons of guest to fill up an entire Bingo card. Steve Martin sounds like an auctioneer because of how fast he has to rush through the introductions.

  14. The home movie was call From Orange to the Big Apple which was sort of like the Alanis Morissette music video where she plays everyone in the car, only this was first and featured Lily Tomlin playing every role, and she makes her way from nowhere New Jersey to the big city.

  15. Garrett Morris then played the author of Roots who was there to promote Roots II a version of the story where whites were the slaves to try to capitalize on the high ratings.

  16. The Kinks return to perform Sleepwalker.

  17. Steve Martin then has a blind date with Gilda where it turns out they have 100% in common, no matter how obscure their comparisons get they continue to agree on favorites.

  18. Finally, Steve Martin says his good nights.

Read More

SNL: S02E14.5... HOST: RANDY NEWMAN/MARDI GRAS SPECIAL... DATE: FEBRUARY 20, 1977

SNL: S02E14.5... HOST: RANDY NEWMAN/MARDI GRAS SPECIAL... DATE: FEBRUARY 20, 1977

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Aykroyd as Carter gives the State of the Union while sitting on a famous statue of someone on a horse that located near one of the preeminent Mardi Gras celebration location. His closing statement, "Live from Mardi Gras..."

  2. Randy Newman opens the show by singing Louisiana 1927, then goes on to explain the festive episode.

  3. Buck Henry and Jane Curtin are our parade correspondents that kind of direct the action of the show.  

  4. They throw to Belushi who was playing, trumpeter, Al Hirt who apparently got hit by a brick back in the day.

  5. This was followed by a repeat of the Quarry cereal commercial which I found it weird to repeat content during a special.

  6. Buck and Jane then throw to Penny Marshall, Gilda, and Laraine who play girls down at Mardi Gras griping about their day jobs and how stale their trip has been up to this point. This goes on for a bit too long before the Bees arrive dressed as bikers. The Biker Bees promise to be abusive to the girls which, for some reason, works and the reality of the sketch is not very funny.

  7. Next was a fake commercial for a Fat's Domino as sung by Garrett Morris, commemorative album. 

  8. Randy Newman returns to sing Marie.

  9. The first short film of the week followed a quirky lad who works as a New Orleans cemetery maintenance man. 

  10. Dan Aykroyd then played Tom Snyder as they had him do an investigative piece on topless and bottomless dancers. He also interviews Bill Murray who plays the club barker as well as Cindy Williams who played a topless dancer.

  11. Buck and Jane then throw to Barbara Wawa who interviews Henry Winkler who has a Fight Club of an interview as he explains the difference between him and The Fonz. 

  12. This was followed by an Il Duce sketch that had a convoluted introduction that I couldn't tell if it was historically accurate or not but either way that actual impersonation seemed to be more about getting a reaction from the crowd over sticking to the sketch that was set up.

  13. Eric Idle then plays a reporter sitting alone in the aftermath of what looked to be a crazy party. Now that everyone is gone he has nothing to report on, leading him to keep attempting to throw to the other reporters but the director will not allow it.  

  14. Eric Idle then finds his way out of the sketch as he introduces another short film called Down South, which was just a compilation of signs with the word Dixie proudly being displayed.

  15. The New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra then performs a song that I think is called Rebecca (Came Back From Mecca.)

  16. Buck and Jane through to Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams at some at some ball, only Cindy Williams never shows up, leaving Penny looking panicked especially when it is revealed that she is at a drag show. It's hard to tell if she is uncomfortable because Cindy isn't there yet or if it was the drag is making her uncomfortable since it's almost palatable that it's both, being that it was a different time I'm sure.

  17. Next was a Streetcar Named Desire sketch when Belushi played Brando screaming Stella at the wrong window, at least that's what Garrett Morris leads Belushi Brando to believe until it is revealed the Morris is fooling around with Stella.

  18. Paul Schaffer then performs The Antler Dance.

  19. The news was hosted by both Buck Henry and Jane Curtin during this special presentation. They have stories from Garrett Morris who gets the combination to the city by the mayor to honor him for the day as the only cast member who was actually from New Orleans. Laraine interviews Belushi about this year's Mardi Gras trend of taping white mice to your eyes. Emily Litella gets worked up over interviewing a Liver Boat captain until it's cleared up that he's the captain of a River Boat and Jane tries to break in with a story of an assassination attempt only to have Buck Henry keep drawing the attention back to the actions in the parade.

  20. Randy Newman returns once again to sing Kingfish.

  21. Next was a sketch about Jean Lafitte where Bill Murray played the titular character that killed anyone who accused him of being a pirate. He had no problem acting like a pirate but just didn't like the term but then reveals that he is going as a pirate to Mardi Gras.

  22. We then return to the drag show, and now Cindy Williams is there to take over the play by play which seems to ease some of Penny Marshall's stress, but she still doesn't seem all that comfortable with the concept of drag.

  23. Once again, Randy Newman returns to the stage to sing Sail Away, followed by him saying his good nights.

  24. Finally, we cut to Buck and Jane so they can say their goodnights as well.

Read More

SNL: S02E15... HOST: SISSY SPACEK... DATE: MARCH 12, 1977

SNL: S02E15... HOST: SISSY SPACEK... DATE: MARCH 12, 1977

The Wicker Breakdown: 

  1. The show started with a fake delay with a message about there being a technical difficulty due to the fake that the director just died. We cut from the message to the director's booth where Aykroyd is there to fill in the audience as to what is going on. The director is still dead in his seat as cast member after cast member enters the booth to see what is going on. Apparently, there was supposed to be an epic sketch in process at the time of the director's death. No one knows how the show runs technically, so the cast members start to share their mundane stories of barely knowing the guy after working with him for too long. They keep promising to cut to an obituary about the director, but again no one knows how to get the technology to work. At first, this ongoing promise of a seemed like it was part of the sketch but after a couple false starts. I think there was actually a couple genuine technical difficulties from having the cast operate the gear. Finally, they get the obituary of Dave Wilson to play with a director's reel filmed with black and white home video footage claiming that it is his work. We come back from the video, and by this time the sketch has been going on for so long that I just want it to end already. I missed the set up to the joke, but Aykroyd finally gets tricked into saying, "Live from New York..." which brings the director back to life so that he can start the show.

  2. After that epic opening, Sissy Spacek officially opens the show with a monolog about her quick rise to the top after getting nominated for an Oscar for her part in Carrie which had just come out around that time. She also reenacts a deleted scene from said nominated performance where it's the day after prom, and she ends up doing some baton twirling for some reason.

  3. Next is a sketch that makes fun of the old "Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us..." Burger King ad only this is Burger Master, and their customers have some pretty wacky requests.

  4. Ask President Carter was a sketch where Aykroyd as Carter is interviewed for a radio talk show about the state of the union. They get several of your typical talk radio callers who either treat the show like a customer support line, make prank calls or ask legitimately dumb questions. On caller admits that he's on acid and Carter knows exactly how to talk him down. It was at this point that the sketch seemed to drag on as we transition from talk radio to life in the White House as Amy Carter approaches with what turns out to be their ex-convict maid. The President leaves the two to settle in for the night. The maid then tells a bedtime story that is obviously her admission of guilt. There must have been some truth to this convict maid story because that was the end of the joke. 

  5. How Your Children Grow was an interview show where Jane Curtin interviews Bill Murray about Children with "Learning Difficulties." It turns out that Murray's "Learning Difficulty" is that he can't say more than five words which are, "That's true, you're absolutely right." He is able to carry out the entire interview only knowing those words and making Jane look like a real expert.

  6. Belushi announces that he is retiring from entertainment to chase his dream to become a decathlete for the 1980 Olympics. He's now selling a commemorative coin to finance the Olympic adventure.

  7. Once again, Jane Curtin does the news. It's kind of interesting just how much they gripe about airport security from that time, mainly annoyed by the new metal detectors. Emily Litella eventually joins the news to rant and rave about "Endangered feces." At one point I'm not sure if Gilda breaks and starts to laugh or if it was part of the Emily character, but her recovery was good enough, and Jane played along, so I guess that will remain a mystery.

  8. Richard Baskin then hits the stage to sing One I Love You and Sissy Spacek eventually joins him.

  9. Franken and Davis come out to do an Improv seen only to give up on the audience suggestions and opting instead to "Improvise" a radio show treating World War Three like a regular event complete with weather and traffic.

  10. Sissy Spacek, Gilda, and Laraine then play children talking about their bed-wetting doll. This led me to think this was going to be yet another sketch where they get these girls to act like kids as an excuse to talk about sex. Then, to my surprise, it turned out to be a warning about Gidget Disease where Jane Curtin explains that these are adults who can't stop being cute without getting the obnoxiousness knocked out of them using a technique called the Dental Theater of Cruelty.

  11. Belushi then plays an abusive newlywed man who apparently can't get it up for his wife, played by Sissy Spacek. The two then go back and forth, him coming up with weird excuses as to why she's to blame while she comes up with strange ways that she tries either cope with or solve the problem. This is another sketch that goes on for way too long, and at a certain point, it stopped being funny as the genre got confusing. It felt like this was some weird theatrical sketch inspired by a real codependent relationship.

  12. This was followed by a short film with Sissy Spacek twirling a baton for no particular reason.

  13. Bad Playhouse was a sketch hosted by Aykroyd where he hosted a show that shares terrible plays. Tonight's terrible performance was called The Milky One, and it was just Belushi pushing a gear in a windmill as his sister watched on. Then death enters carrying his other sisters, and after the curtain call, the sketch was already over.

  14. Richard Baskin then returned to perform City of One Night Stands.

  15. The home video of the week was submitted by Robert Altman, and I'm pretty sure it was just outtakes from a movie he directed featuring Sissy Spacek more like an unofficial trailer than a home video or sketch which added to my disinterest in this episode.

  16. Finally, Sissy says her good nights.

Read More

SNL: S02E16... HOST: BRODERICK CRAWFORD... DATE: MARCH 19, 1977

SNL: S02E16... HOST: BRODERICK CRAWFORD... DATE: MARCH 19, 1977

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1.  The show starts with Gilda Radner plays Rhonda Weiss and the Rhondettes singing a song called Goodbye Saccharine, a song singing farewell to the controversial sweetener. It was a pretty funny song, but the best part was when they pointed out the Linda Ronstadt was one of the background singers, without getting any spotlight at all during the actual sketch.

  2. Broderick Crawford opened the show coming out to a living room set that I'm assuming is associated with a classic show from his career, but he walks out and sits so fast that it might be due to a health issue. He goes on to tell tales about being an old time entertainer, complete with a funny story about his horrible introduction to radio.

  3. Next was a cluster fuck of a sketch that started out in the White House War Room with Carter mapping out his plan to take over the underground cartels and comes up with a plan to assassinate Don Cornelius and Don Kirshner. Probably jokes that were more relevant at the time but I didn't really get the humor. The sketch seems to be getting to the point where it is long enough to either end or get to the real joke when it shifts tone altogether and becomes a Samurai sketch where said Samurai is a hit man. This goes on for another sketch worth of time but I was so disinterested by this point, I couldn't even really follow the story.

  4. We then come back to the main stage where Broderick is still sitting in the seat as if he never moved. He announces this week's short film which was mainly just Broderick revisiting his hometown of Hell's Kitchen. I'd say this was more interesting than entertaining as it really seems like it's just home video vacation footage.

  5. Aykroyd returns as his pitchman character who pitches Mel's Hide Heaven which is pretty much a follow-up to Mel's restaurant where you kill and cook your own cow, only at this location you kill and hide the cows to make your very own jacket.

  6. The RCO All-Star band featuring 50% of the people Pardo announced in the intro then come out to perform Sing Sing Sing.

  7. Bill Murray then pleads to the audience to laugh at his jokes because he's not feeling very welcome as the new guy. He points out that he hasn't been that funny in the show even though he's super funny in real life. Both looking back and watching the show as if I didn't know the future of these performers, I have to say he was pretty spot on with his conclusion since he hasn't been that funny up to this point. That said, he’s still the new guy trying to find his fit but I think even at the time I'd be willing to wait for him to get there.

  8. Next was a parody of I Love Lucy's famous Bon-Bons on the conveyer routine only instead of candies she's fighting to keep up with putting whipped cream and a cherry on the top of a bunch of nuclear warheads. She struggles a little but manages to keep up in a way that seems very anticlimactic until the boss returns and startles her causing her to drop the current bomb she was working on.

  9. Once again Jane Curtin does the news. Where last time she started by showing her bra, this time she starts with a sexy conversation as if to win over the horny male viewers in order to keep the role because she jumps right into her regular tone once she seems to get past the point of obligation. There was also an interesting segment where they throw to Garrett Morris to report on the Black Governors Convention, only no one is there because there were zero black governors at the time.

  10. The news’s commercial was a repeat of the Puppy Uppers and Doggy Downers commercial.

  11. The news returns with Belushi checking in as the reporter whose anger grows as he talks about a topic that annoys him. Tonight's topic was another moment that I could quote word for word as he rants and raves about the phase, "The luck of the Irish."

  12. This was followed by an epic sketch that was a parody of a show called Highway Patrol that most had been a show Broderick Crawford was known for. This was the first sketch that the host acted in and it seemed like they were making up for missed air time. It starts in the police station where Jack Kerouac gets busted for some driving violation but is held in jail for his reputation from his book On the Road. The joke felt crowbarred in and fell flat, but the sketch just kept on going. Next, there was a call about a hostage situation that might have been funny if it was its own developed sketch. It turns out that the hostage situation is a set of "Siamese Twins" where the one sister with the gun only wants a non-circus job and not to be charged for two seats when traveling. A set of conjoined-priests then come in to do the negotiation. This could have been funny, but it ends too quick as we find ourselves back at the station for one last joke that goes nowhere when they get a call about the James Dean car accident. Then it ends... That's it...

  13. Once again Gilda plays Barbara Wawa At Large, and this week she's interviewing Godzilla.

  14. The supergroup The RCO All-Stars return to perform Ain't That a Lot of Love.

  15. Next, we get the backstory in text that shared a real attempt by Nixon to create a Secret Police Force known as the Huston Plan which sounded an awful lot like the NSA. We then see a sketch of the night this plan failed as Nixon tried to strong arm J. Edgar Hoover into playing along but both sides have too much spy intel on one another for the blackmailing attempt to go anywhere.

  16. The Meters then perform I Got to Get My Name Up In Lights.

  17. Finally, Broderick Crawford, still sitting in his chair, chimes in to say his good nights.

Read More

SNL: S02E17... HOST: JACK BURNS... DATE: MARCH 26, 1977

SNL: S02E17... HOST: JACK BURNS... DATE: MARCH 26, 1977

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. As I mentioned in the intro above the show starts with Belushi hijacking the show after being given the duty to say, "Live from New York..." only he won't complete the phrase, locking the show in this opening segment. He fakes that he's about to say it a couple times before giving a list of demands required to start the show to then get tricked into reading the phrase in the written response to his demands.

  2. Jack Burns opened the show, and I have no idea who this guy is. He goes into a monolog about not getting religion as a child because of their stance on touching yourself. The story gets a little long winded before he announces he is going to do something on live TV that's never been done before. He announces he's going to touch himself on TV and starts tickling his chest with his fingers to what I'm assuming was a pretty stunned audience. I really appreciated the concept of this bit, but there was such a dad joke vibe to the punch line that I couldn't help but cringe a little. As with everyone else in the world (except dads) I have mixed feelings about dad jokes.

  3. The Coneheads then return to visit their brand new neighbors in a sketch called The Farbers meet the Coneheads.

  4. Santana then performs Black Magic Woman.

  5. The Marines must have just let women in because this was a sketch about a duel Marine wedding, where the priest was also the drill sergeant and the ceremony switch back and forth between a standard affair, mixed with a little bootcamp screaming.

  6. Gandhi's daughter was apparently a real piece of work because this sketch was about her transition out of power after losing the local election. She's bummed that she can't get away with the bad things she loves and refused to leave the office until the last second of her service. Apparently, the group that came into power was part of the Untouchable party. This was when the sketch seemed like it was going to fall off the rails because The Untouchables from the TV show arrive and turn the sketch into a bit of a disaster. Good thing this didn't last long because as soon as Gandhi's daughter asked for a sign to leave the sketch ending cow fell from the ceiling, getting a laugh out of me and ending the sketch at just the right time.

  7. Once again, Jane Curtin does the news which as always was good even though there is not all that much to report on.

  8. The news's commercial was for a product called Leech Tab 100 by Arthax Mentho which are over the counter bottles of leeches to cure whatever ails you.

  9.  The news returns with no special guest this week but with more of its regular content.

  10. Next was a sketch for a show called The Squatters which sounds like it's a show about people from the western days that squatted to take over land. Though that is the case, these are also literal squatters that even squat when they walk as they develop their own little town.

  11. Next was a sketch that also went long, but I loved everything about it. It starts with a ditsy receptionist who comes into an office to take a note from the boss. He dictates a suicide note and quickly goes to jump out the window. She doesn't catch on to this cry for help and asks him if he wants it read back to him. This gets him to climb off the ledge to change some of the wording. She still doesn't understand how serious this is and wanders off to get coffee. While she's gone, he tries to drown himself in his aquarium and once again she stops him when she asks if she can leave early to get ready for a big night that she has planned with her boyfriend. This talking gets him thinking about the window again, and he turns and jumps out the window. Only he does nothing to give the illusion that he feels he's now just standing outside the window screaming. This gets Laraine to drop the ditsy act and yell and Jack Burns for his failure to pull off the stunt. Then cast member after cast member entered the room, in character, only to find out that it is pointless. First, it's a coworker that saw the fall, then the ambulance drivers, then his family and so on and so on until it's a room filled with the cast disappointed by the host for ruining this perfect sketch.

  12. The Short Film this week was Jack Burns reenacting Rocky, mainly drinking eggs before shadow boxing down the street by this out of shape old guy. It ended by going back to the studio where Jack Burns drank a glass of eggs, live in front of the crowd.

  13. Next was a parody of a parody from a few weeks ago called Ask Big Daddy which was playing off the Jimmy Carter State of the Union radio interview sketch, but this time it was Idi Amin answering the questions.

  14. This week's home video was called Mirage. It started with a guy in the desert who spots a soda machine in the distance. He stumbles over and finally gets to the machine, putting in his last quarter and pressing the button to order a drink only it's an old-school soda machine that dumps the soda out first, and the cup comes following after.

  15. Aykroyd as Ricardo Montalban then pitches a thing called Panty Gram which is a messenger service that prints its messages on pairs of women's panties. This is followed by sample after sample of where this would work including an old lady Gilda character getting a message that just reads "It's Benign," along with a "Happy Birthday" message to Bill Murray.

  16. Santana returns to perform Europa.

  17. Jack Burns then plays an old drunk that tries to talk to Gilda and Jane. He keeps on insisting that he knows them from Laugh-In even though they were playing themselves from SNL. He went into a tale of being an old comedic writer and tries to get a gig on the show. He either knows this guy is the actual guy because after they leave him, he has the perfect Tear From a Clown moment.

  18. Finally, Jack Burns returns to the main stage to say his good nights.

Read More

SNL: S02E18... HOST: JULIAN BOND... DATE: APRIL 9, 1977

SNL: S02E18... HOST: JULIAN BOND... DATE: APRIL 9, 1977

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Emily Litella and Jane Curtin open the show in the locker room where Emily is too love-struck to think of a topic to talk about on the news. There's no payoff to who she's in love with and other than one mistake when she misnames a song, it wasn't that funny for being one of my favorite characters.

  2. Julian Bond then performs the opening monolog, I have no idea who he is but was instantly disappointed when I learned he was a senator with a routine that belongs on CSPAN.

  3. Belushi then played H&L Brock in what I think is a continuation of an ongoing tax accountant ad, but there's a good chance that it's just a repeat.

  4. On this week's Black Perspective Garrett Morris and Julian Bond break the myth that white people have higher IQs than black people do. They give some sample question from the IQ test to show just how racially bias the questions are. When Garrett asks what started the stereotype Julian informs him that it stems from a study proving light-skinned blacks are smarter than dark black people. 

  5. This sketch starts with a quick racist moment where Amy Carter is singing a racist song while playing with her slave doll. Amy then leaves adding nothing else to the scene as Garrett Morris, and Julian Bond enter the oval office to meet with Jimmy Carter. They have a political discussion about race that feels very much like what we're going through these days.

  6. Tom Waits performs a song called Eggs and Sausages.

  7. Dr. X Family Counsellor was a hilarious sketch with Dr. X in a super-villain mask and a hook hand. He meets with a family with Belushi as their kid who doesn't hesitate to ask Dr. X about how he became so disfigured. This embarrasses Bill Murray who plays the dad who yells at Belushi as a knee-jerk reaction to his questions.

  8. Once again, Jane Curtin does the news, which I'm still a fan of even though I have nothing to report on.

  9. The news commercial was the racist one from above for Right-On Afro Luster hairspray. I don't even think the host was comfortable with this one because the delivery of the lines and body language was very stilted.

  10. The news returns with more regular stories, and once again there is no second half news guest.

  11. Great Moments in Motown was a pretty funny sketch where Julian Bind plays the owner of a nightclub advising a Doo-Wop Group of how they have to perform in order to be hired as the house band.

  12. Gilda Radner then plays a small child in a soup commercial who gets directed to do weird stuff to really experience the soup by the voice of Bill Murray who was playing the announcer.

  13. Bad Cinema was a sketch that made fun of pompous filmmakers as the praise the crappiest film ever made for very artsy-fartsy reasons.

  14. Brick then perform Dazz which is one of those songs that was in every rap song in the 80s.

  15. Julian Bond then tries to set up a civil rights fundraiser as the Farber house, who are also the neighbors of the Coneheads. Though the Farbers come off as innocent bigots open to the idea of the civil right activism, their neighbors/backgammon group are a bunch of straight-up racists.

  16.  There's an announcement that there is no Mr. Mike's Least Loved Bedtime Tales but Mr. Mike does meet up with Uncle Remus for some dueling racism, and they both tell their versions of the Brer Rabbit.

  17. This week's short film was Patti Smith talking about her performance from a year ago when the NBC censors made her change the words to My Generation.

  18. George Wallace then talks about the "New South" trying to dispel the stereotype of their redneck ways only to make them sound worse in their solution.

  19. Finally, Julian Bond came out to say his good nights. 

Read More

SNL: S02E19... HOST: ELLIOT GOULD... DATE: APRIL 16, 1977

SNL: S02E19... HOST: ELLIOT GOULD... DATE: APRIL 16, 1977

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The opening sketch was with NBC executive making a deal with the Russians to give them the rights to air the Olympics. This must have been a scandal at the time because this was when both the summer and winter Olympics were on the same four-year cycle and the 76 games just ended making it four years off from being significant to either upcoming event. That said, it was still a pretty funny sketch where the ruler of Russia's list of demands included a visit on Carson.

  2. Elliot Gould then opens the show with a song and dance called The Castration Walk with Belushi and Murray as background singers and dancers.

  3. The Coneheads then returned to deal with the phone company to get 35 lines installed in their house. Of course, Gould as the phone guy gets to witness the bizarro lives of these aliens. 

  4. The McGarrigle Sisters perform the song Kiss and Say Goodbye.

  5. You've Come a Long Way, Buddy was a sketch about a men's show talking about men's rights much the way the worried man of today would satire the feminist movement. 

  6. Once again, Jane Curtin does the news. I like it much better when she jumps right in over her trying the Chevy Chase technique of starting in the middle of a separate off-camera conversation. Bill Murray then does a segment on a porn shop, strongly laced with sexual innuendo. By the time he's done with his story, he can't stand because of his boner. He then joins Jane to read a few other stories which felt like they were testing him out for the role since he still seems to be struggling to find his fit in the show being that he's only been there half the season. Belushi then came in as the weatherman who started out doing a weather report aimed at shut-ins that built to a huge rant about people from India not eating cows before falling to the ground in the funnies pratfall of the season.

  7. Bill Murray then plays his crappy lounge singer who works his ass off to entertain only to annoy the audience of drunks that just want to be left alone with their beverages.

  8. The next sketch starts with a boy born without a face then turns into an ad hosted by Joan Crawford for the United Face Bank asking for donations. Garrett Morris plays a football player whose face was replaced with a seven-year-old girl's face. This was done with some pretty funny make-up that I felt was the star of the sketch.

  9. This week's short film was a sports fight reel that you would now find on YouTube.

  10. The McGarrigle Sisters return to sing Heart Like a Wheel.

  11. The next sketch was hilarious as it was making fun of the NEW ATM technology and all the security measures you had to go through to get your cash. In the end, there was a pretty interesting point where the machine notifies the user that the government is no longer recognizing cash currency and that head cheese was our new form of money.

  12. Next was a sketch for a Natural Causes restaurant run by very dippy hippies who only serve food that died from natural causes. The sketch started to run long because it felt like they were just repeating the same joke but then the sketch killing cow dropped from the ceiling ending the sketch on a laugh.

  13. Rosalyn Kind then sang I'm Not Anyone.

  14. The Home Movie of the week was a guy coming home to catch his wife fooling around with a stuffed clown. The man and the clown then get into a fight where the man kills the clown leaving a happy couple as if killing a guy who just looks at a girl will win her heart over forever.

  15. Next was a replay of the ad for the human feed bag that is so old Chevy Chase was the star of it.

  16. Finally, we ended on good nights with time to kill, so Dan Aykroyd made a serious call to the audience for motorcycle parts that he was looking for.

Read More