Classic SNL Review: November 20, 1982: Drew Barrymore / Squeeze (S08E07)

RATINGS SYSTEM:

***** - Classic
****   - Great
***    - Good / Average
**     - Meh
*      - Terrible

OPENING: DRESSING ROOM

  • The cast grouses about Dick Ebersol's recent decisions to trash Andy Kaufman and book a 7-year-old to host the show while checking out Drew Barrymore's dressing room.
  • One of the better segments of the night, with a good use of the whole cast, and some funny digs at Dick Ebersol's reliance on gimmicks as well as Eddie Murphy's album (released two weeks before).  Barrymore's line readings were pretty forced, but I'll let that slide because she was 7 years old.
  • In light of her documented struggles with substance abuse during her adolescence, Barrymore's "I'm a Barrymore! Get me a drink, and make it a double" line, which got a good reaction from the audience, hasn't aged well.
  • The band starts playing the opening theme before Barrymore gets a chance to say LFNY, and she gets her line in as the picture fades into the montage.
  • Gary Kroeger's running joke about having his sketches cut continues with "Frontier Gynecolegist"; the visual of him dejectedly removing his glove was funny.
  • The cast makes extended references to Dick Ebersol's on-screen appearance the previous week, which was cut from the repeat version of the Robert Blake show.  For such a (then-) widely-referenced segment, its unavailability is a little odd.
  • Murphy mentions that they could have had Michael Jackson host; this was right before Thriller was released, and probably the last time where the idea that Michael Jackson would be within the show's booking reach was a possibility.
  • The two blonde extras (guy and a girl) walking down the corridor outside the dressing room at the beginning turn up a few times tonight.  I'm not sure if they're staffers or day players.

*** 1/2

MONOLOGUE: AUDIENCE QUESTIONS

  • Tim Kazurinsky asks Drew Barrymore some questions written by the audience.
  • This was a bit looser and more playful than the opening: Kazurinsky is having fun, and there seems to be a fair bit of ad-libbing and Kazurinsky catching Barrymore off-guard.  Barrymore's a bit more charming here, especially the little fist pump during the applause after saying she wants to marry Steven Spielberg, and rolling her eyes at Kazurinsky's "no cheating!".

*** 1/2

COMMERCIAL: THE WEB (repeat from 09/25/82)

SKETCH: E.T.

  • Elliott (Tim Kazurinsky) and Michael (Gary Kroeger) learn that Gertie (Drew Barrymore) laid waste to their extraterrestrial pal; E.T.'s father Mr. T (Eddie Murphy) comes looking for his son.
  • This was a little sloppy; while the early part of the sketch had some funny lines ("Pianist-breath", Gertie's unrepentant glee over killing E.T.), things picked up once Eddie Murphy came into the scene.  Barrymore gave effort into her line readings, but it was obvious she was waiting for her cues between each bit of dialogue; at one point she trips up and starts missing her lines.  The rest of the cast deserve credit for being patient with Barrymore, as they cover for her once they realize this, and when she finally regains her place, Eddie Murphy says "Very good" out of character, which makes the rest of the cast break.
  • One of Murphy's lines mentions the upcoming Atari E.T. game.  We all know how that went.

***

MISCELLANEOUS: ELECTION I

  • Gary Kroeger announces that SNL is holding a phone-in vote where viewers can decide whether the show will keep or dump Andy Kaufman.
  • Not a rateable segment.
  • Once again, Kroeger references Dick Ebersol's on-camera appearance to say that Kaufman was not funny anymore.  A small segment of the audience can be heard applauding in agreement.  

SKETCH: THE ADOPTION

  • Polite Trevor and disagreeable Wanda (Drew Barrymore) learn that a family is interested in one of them.
  • Mary Gross carries this sketch, and gets the biggest laugh ad-libbing her way out of a blooper involving her habit and the door.
  • Barrymore's delivery is a little forced, but the other child actor (who I can't identify) wasn't much better.
  • The audience applauds the reveal that the prospective parents are the Whiners, but the ending was a little cloying.

**

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: "ANNIE GET YOUR GUN"

  • Kazurinsky and Barrymore both introduce Squeeze together; the band performs a spirited version of their current single.  This was their final TV appearance before a three-year hiatus.

MISCELLANEOUS: ELECTION II: MAN IN THE STREET

  • After a "man in the street" segment asks the people of New York if Andy Kaufman should be allowed back on SNL, Eddie Murphy gives an update.
  • Another non-rateable segment; some of the answers are amusing ("he thrills me", "I think he's hot!").  Ed Asner is one of the interviewees; he was shooting the film Daniel around this time which would account for the hair and mustache.
  • Eddie Murphy's studio segment invokes Larry the Lobster, and has some funny moments, particularly when he asks "Do we have to get Andy out here and boil him alive?"  (The audience cheers; he responds with "You people are sick!").  It already doesn't look good for Andy Kaufman, and when Murphy asks if he's worth the 50 cent charge per call, some in the audience can be heard yelling "no!".

SATURDAY NIGHT NEWS: SALUTE TO JOURNALISM WITH TIM KAZURINSKY, SATURDAY NIGHT SPORTS WITH JOE PISCOPO

  • Best jokes: Lech Walesa, Vatican/nuclear bombs
  • Hall follows up his strong outing last week with a slightly weaker SNN reliant on photo-based jokes, another groaner (the "Marine Corps pulling out of Lebanon" double entendre) and two extended pieces: the first, about newly widowed public figures (plus Claus Von Bulow) peters out by the punchline, but the second, about married couples who could play Reagan in a docudrama works better and has a strong finish (Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors were chosen as the winner, a reference to an urban legend about the two then-closeted actors).
  • Kazurinsky's Salute to Journalism was less successful this time around.  Kazurinsky does have his share of choice one-liners, my favorite was his tying of "Kickoff!" (re: the end of the NFL players' strike) to their spotty coverage of Brezhnev's death, but Kazurinsky's sarcastic jabs didn't go over as well with the audience until the reveal, and Kazurinsky loses his place mid-segment, which derails the bit a little.  Overall, it's weaker than the first Salute to Journalism with a weaker ending.
  • Piscopo has a shorter Saturday Night Sports to comment on the Duk Koo Kim tragedy ("Three fights! Six fighters! The big story? Six survivors!") and the return of NFL football to NBC, which meant no more "Sunday Sports Spectaculars" covering Rubik's Cube-offs and bodybuilding.  It's brief but it works because of the montage of replacement sports to the "Chariots of Fire" theme.

** 1/2

SKETCH: BRAIN SURGERY

  • When his date (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) complains that their evening isn't as interesting as she expected, Jack (Tim Kazurinsky) makes her assist when he performs brain surgery.
  • Interesting idea with some good dark humor (the date's lack of surgical knowledge or experience leads to the patient's death) but the whole thing doesn't connect.  The audience doesn't really know how to react to this: aside from a little laughter at the reveal, they're pretty much silent all throughout this sketch.
  • Best dialogue:
    Eddie Murphy: "He'll never distinguish colors again, you IDIOT!"
    Brad Hall: "Nor left from right, nor right from wrong!"

**

MISCELLANEOUS: ELECTION III

  • Mary Gross gives an update and plays a montage highlighting Andy Kaufman's history with SNL.
  • Not rateable, but Dump Andy is clearly winning (to the audience's delight), so Gross races through the Dump Andy number while making sure to give the Keep Andy number clearly. There's also a funny moment where Gross ad-libs "Uh-oh, time to boil the water", a call-back to Eddie Murphy's comment about boiling Kaufman a la Larry the Lobster.
  • The narration and sappy piano version of "The Way We Were" during the montage felt a little too slow-paced. 

SKETCH: OKLAHOMA

  • Uptight, foppish drama club advisor Mr. Blunt (Joe Piscopo) is frustrated with his students' progress in rehearsals for their production of Oklahoma!
  • Piscopo's Mr. Blunt is a good, fully-realized character, as is Julia Louis-Dreyfus' obnoxious keener, but the sketch is a little too rushed and undeveloped, and I can't help but wish they could have put those characters in a more worthy sketch.
  • Extras watch: it looks like Cheryl Hardwick at the piano; the two blonde extras from the cold opening are students, as are a few darker haired men and a brunette woman.  No clue if any of them are staffers.

** 1/2

MISCELLANEOUS: DRESS-UP

  • Drew Barrymore dresses Tim Kazurinsky in women's clothes; they have a Mommy Dearest battle over wire hangers before naptime.
  • Barrymore makes her first appearance since the first musical performance.  Fillerish, but it was cute, and she and Kazurinsky seemed to enjoy themselves.

** 1/2

MISCELLANEOUS: ELECTION IV

  • Joe Piscopo reminds viewers that they have only 2 minutes left to decide Andy Kaufman's SNL fate.
  • Not rateable; the description above is pretty much all there is to it.

COMMERCIAL: MY FRIEND ZEUS

  • High school loser Bobby Driscoll (Gary Kroeger) gets "help" from the god of sky and thunder (voice of Joe Piscopo).
  • Another weaker sketch: there are a few funny lines from Zeus (I like "I bet your liver tastes better than Prometheus's" being used as a pick-up line), but the pacing keeps a lot of the sketch from landing.
  • In addition to the extras from Oklahoma that are reused as Driscoll's classmates, Paul Barrosse is the extra in the yellow "Riffmaster & The Rockme Foundation" T-Shirt that punches Kroeger as he leaves.

**

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: "PULLING MUSSELS FROM A SHELL"

  • Instead of Barrymore or Pardo introducing the second song, lead singer Glenn Tilbrook thanks the enthusiastic audience for their support and intros their two-year-old hit as a part of "rock's rich tapestry".  This was better than the first number, with a keyboard solo from Don Snow.

MISCELLANEOUS: SINGLE

  • Drew Barrymore hosting the show causes Robin Duke anguish over her decision to focus on her career instead of having a child.
  • A short piece with Duke and Barrymore sitting on the stage; it seems a little filler-ish.  I like the little touches in this one, mainly Duke's delivery on "I wanna have a baby!" and the insinuation that Duke isn't really mother material by having her fantasize about her baby being a gofer for beer and cigarettes as well as a shoulder to cry on.
  • Barrymore looks exhausted here, and she trips on what's supposed to be the big laugh line ("I'd rather watch Eddie!").

** 1/2

GOODNIGHTS

  • The Andy Kaufman poll results are in: Dump Andy beat Keep Andy 195,544 to 169, 186.  Andy Kaufman is banned from SNL, to Gross and Kazurinsky's visibly upset facial expressions.  Barrymore looks like she's fighting her exhaustion, but rallies for her goodbye.
  • Piscopo has little Joey back this week, who starts waving a little early (Piscopo and Murphy are focused on him).  Kroeger throws the scraps of the results card into the audience before he and Kazurinsky pick Barrymore off her stool and start swinging her around.  Don Pardo announces upcoming shows with Chevy Chase (a rerun), The Smothers Brothers and Nick Nolte before saying he voted for Andy Kaufman.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Between the extra-young host and the phone-in poll, this particular show didn't feel like a full episode of SNL; unfortunately, the constraints of working with such a young host really seemed obvious tonight, and the phone-in poll only served as a distraction.  Worse still, the material outside of Ebersol's gimmicks was weaker than usual; nothing was truly terrible, but the lack of very strong material hurt the show overall.  Kazurinsky worked well with Barrymore, who did her best and showed some charm, but the main thing tonight's show proved was that a seven-year-old is a little too young to host a live late-night comedy program; the show never went that young for its child-star hosts again.

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Monologue
  • Dressing Room

SHOW LOWLIGHTS:

  • My Friend Zeus
  • The Adoption
  • Brain Surgery

MVP:

  • Tim Kazurinsky

CAST & GUEST BREAKDOWN:

cast

  • Robin Duke: 3 appearances [Dressing Room, The Adoption, Single]
  • Mary Gross: 5 appearances [Dressing Room, E.T., The Adoption, Election III, Oklahoma]
  • Brad Hall: 5 appearances [Dressing Room, Saturday Night News, Brain Surgery, Oklahoma, My Friend Zeus]
  • Tim Kazurinsky: 7 appearances [Dressing Room, Monologue, E.T., Saturday Night News, Brain Surgery, Dress-Up, My Friend Zeus]
  • Gary Kroeger: 5 appearances [Dressing Room, E.T., Election I, Oklahoma, My Friend Zeus]
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus: 4 appearances: [Dressing Room, Brain Surgery, Oklahoma, My Friend Zeus]
  • Eddie Murphy: 5 appearances [Dressing Room, E.T., Election II, Brain Surgery, Oklahoma]
  • Joe Piscopo: 5 appearances [Dressing Room, The Adoption, Saturday Night News, Oklahoma, Election IV]; 1 voice-over [My Friend Zeus]

non-cast

  • Paul Barrosse: 1 appearance [My Friend Zeus]
  • Cheryl Hardwick: 1 appearance [Oklahoma]

guests

  • Drew Barrymore: 6 appearances [Dressing Room, Monologue, E.T., The Adoption, Dress-Up, Single]
  • Squeeze: 2 appearances ["Annie Get Your Gun, "Pulling Mussels From The Shell"]
  • Ed Asner: 1 appearance [Election II]

REBROADCAST HISTORY:

  • March 5, 1983
  • July 9, 1983

Known alterations: 

  • The Election segments had an "Encore Presentation - Do Not Call" disclaimer added.  
  • The "New on NBC" slide and Pardo voiceover is removed from the beginning of "My Friend Zeus".

Additional screen captures from the episode are available here.