SNL: S03E18... HOST: STEVE MARTIN... DATE: APRIL 22 , 1978

or...

Our Second Entry Into The Five-Timers Club

This is the episode where Steve Martin earned his Five-Timers Club jacket but it was before this was an official club so there was no extra bells and whistles or fanfare. I also would like to take the time to point out that Buck Henry had already reached this benchmark eleven episodes ago, or even earlier if you include his two co-hosting duties. I'll probably point this out every time the topic comes up but mainly because I'm bummed that Buck's relationship with the show didn't last much longer than his time captaining the original Not Ready For Prime Time Players.

Other than the uncelebrated Five-Timers Club induction this was a pretty good episode but I'd also say that it had a little help from following the slumpiest show of this season. I really hate fact that I personally feel that these Steve Martin shows need that extra advantage to be a slightly better than average episode. Once again, I think this disappointment comes from having such high expectations when I see that he's hosting that I don't think anyone from that time could live up to.

With that said, this episode did have my favorite of Steve Martin's opening monologs so far which leaves me feeling just as excited to see his next appearance. This opening routine felt more like actual stand-up to me instead of a performer trying his hardest to hide the fact that he's delivering extremely polished material while acting like he's coming up with it on the spot.

And now, with all of that said, I do see improvement each and every time that he hosts so it's not that I'm turning into a hater. In fact, I still get excited every time I see Steve Martin host because I do know he will eventually live up to my expectation based on the fact that I was introduced to style much further into his career when he was already at the top of his game which often makes me forget, I'm watching these geniuses at very early stages of their career when they all were still finding their voices.

Alright, enough with my armchair comedy criticisms it's time to move on to the next feature and with that, I give you... 

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. Once again, Paul Schaffer as Don Kirshner starts the show by introducing us to his latest discovery and with that, the world is introduced to The Blues Brothers who perform Hey Bartender before throwing back to Paul as Kirshner who gets this week's duty of saying, "Live from New York..."
  2. Steve Martin then opens the show with his best routine/monolog to date. My favorite part was that it felt like an actual stand-up routine minus all the exaggerated movements to get all the quick cheap laughs which I wasn't a fan of in earlier appearances. He does end the routine with a very physical bit where he plays a very grabby magician but even this felt like a natural bit because it didn't feel like he was forcing an illusion that this bit was just now coming to him.
  3. This was followed by a repeat of the fake ad for a perfume designed for one night stands.
  4. The Two Wild and Crazy Guys then return with another sketch that pretty much just makes fun foreigners and their crazy accents. This is another big disappointing discovery of this challenge, I no longer find these characters to be all that funny.  
  5. Steve Martin then plays a Barber from back in the days when they were what we now consider to be doctors. His solution to everything is bloodletting while making fun of even older practices as a way to highlight no matter when you go to in time the masses think that we're at the most advanced that we will ever be without realizing their ancestors thought the very same thing and how it all leads to close minded thinking.
  6. We then end up in a night club where Steven Martin sits at the bar and notices Gilda Radner who is sitting across the room. The two locks eye and approach one another to then silly dance throughout the entire studio. They finish their dance and head back to their seats as if all of what just happened was nothing more than a dream and they both go about their business.
  7. Once again, Jane and Dan do the news. I think I've made this point before but an average news night isn't as fun because they are parodying news anchors before they were allowed to show any personality because the actual news was the star of the show. I kind of miss those days as far as the "real" media is concerned but prefer the new Weekend Update where the anchors are allowed to smile.
  8. Steve Martin does his classic King Tut song.
  9. Jane and Belushi are in bed, Jane wakes Belushi because she has to admit that she been cheating on him with the 72-year-old pharmacist. Belushi seems unsure how to take this news so he admits that he's been cheating with a girl that is much younger than him (once again they go way too young by saying that she's a cheerleader and since they don't give an age I assume they are talking about high school) aside from that aside, the two continue to go into details about their exploits only Jane doesn't believe a bit of Belushi's story and this disbelief seems to bother Belushi more than the actual affair does which is when it's revealed that these stories are this long time couple's form of foreplay which lessens the creepiness of the over exaggerated age gaps.
  10. The short film this week is Ballet Girls vs. B-Boys as they have a dance off to the music of Swan Lake. The dancing is fun on its own but to top it off it features Ozone and Turbo from the Breakin' films which I'm a fan of for non-joking reasons.
  11. This is followed by an elevator sketch where a bunch of coworkers can't agree on where to go to lunch. This is where they decide to eat at Troff and Brew and then we cut to said restaurant everyone drinks chili out of a trough and washes it all down by drinking beer straight from the tap, all this while discussing their business agendas.
  12. Bill Murray and Gilda then return as their nerdy kid characters to compete at the school science fair, their experiment is a toaster that is controlled by a phone which now that this is a reality it doesn't seem as ridiculous as it must have been at the time. They are competing against Garrett Morris whose experiment is just showing how static electricity will get a balloon to stick to a sweater. Their other competition is the big reveal of the sketch which is Steve Martin's experiment is a fully active Plutonium bomb.
  13. Once again The Blues Brothers hit the stage to perform I Don't Know.
  14. This is followed by Next Week in Review which is a news show hosted by psychic who bicker over the most important stories of next week even though there are zero signs that any of these events will happen.
  15. Finally, Steve Martine thanks the crowd and says his goodnights.

Here's a funny thing about these Steve Martin shows that highlights that my issue is my own expectation. When I start each review I feel a little let down by the appearance but then realize I liked it much more as I rethink each sketch during the recap which only goes to show that I actually like what I'm complaining about.

Now it's time to share my top three favorite moments. First, I loved Steve Martin magician routine that wrapped up his opening monolog. Next, I liked the Barber sketch, because I'm obsessed with the idea that we constantly think that we live during a period of history where society is the most advanced that it will ever get to. Finally, I was a fan of the King Tut song because it's such a classic Steve Martin moment that somewhere near the top of the list of why he stands out as a performer.

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.