SNL Up Close: 1985-86

SNL Up Close: 1985-86

In four seasons, executive producer Dick Ebersol had brought Saturday Night Live back from the cancellation, had the hottest comedian in America in the cast, and oversaw its transition from a live incubator of new comic talent to an increasingly prerecorded showcase for established comedians. By 1985, though, Ebersol found himself tired of the show’s grueling schedule, and, after toying with staying with a mostly-prerecorded version of the show that wouldn’t premiere until the next January, decided to step away. Brandon Tartikoff, president of NBC Entertainment, had to consider his options, and fast.

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1980-85 wrapup: Last words on the "lost years"

1980-85 wrapup: Last words on the "lost years"

I started this review project back in the summer of 2010; at the time, SNL message board regular Stooge was posting reviews of the early 90s shows with screen captures of sketches and occasional tidbits about which scenes were altered in repeats with dress rehearsal footage. I figured I may as well do my own set of reviews for a more obscure part of the show’s history.

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SNL 1984-85: Final thoughts

SNL 1984-85: Final thoughts

Dick Ebersol’s “Steinbrenner season” gambit, where he loaded the SNL cast with established comedy writer-performers, paid off for the most part. Compared to the preceding seasons, the show was more consistently funny, and even the weakest show of the year wasn’t truly bad. The professionalism that the ringers brought to the show and increased use of prerecorded material gave this year an increased slickness; in a way, this may have given the show a bit more of a blandness than in previous seasons, but only insofar that the risk of failure wasn’t as big a factor as it had been before. Indeed, there were a number of enduring classics that came out of this season, and even though the big stars dominated every week, the returning cast and writers contributed some of their best work.

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A list of SNL Deep Cuts: Part 6: 2000-2005

A list of SNL Deep Cuts: Part 6: 2000-2005

Each week, I will be posting a list of 25 sketches from each 5 year block of the show's history (five sketches per season), a description of the sketch, and what about it that's worth checking out.

Click on the links to read my earlier posts in this series: Part one: 1975-80Part two: 1980-85Part three: 1985-90, Part four: 1990-95, Part five: 1995-2000.

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Classic SNL (sorta-)Review: May 4, 1985: The Best of Saturday Night Live

Classic SNL (sorta-)Review: May 4, 1985: The Best of Saturday Night Live

A compilation of highlights from the 1984-85 season, including “I Am Also The World”, “Rescue Mission”, “Black History Minute”, “Jackie Rogers Jr.’s $100,000 Jackpot Wad”, “60 Minutes”, “Saturday Night News: Eddie Murphy on dolls”, “Wheel of Fortune Interview”, “Superman Auditions”, “Fernando’s Hideaway”, “The Question is Moot!”, “Do You Know What I Hate? (II)” and “Houses of Shame.

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Classic SNL Review: April 13, 1985: Howard Cosell / Greg Kihn (S10E17)

Classic SNL Review: April 13, 1985: Howard Cosell / Greg Kihn (S10E17)

Sketches include “Do You Know What I Hate? (VI)”, “Hospital”, “Inside Out”, “Run, Throw & Catch Like A Girl Olympics”, “Bar Mitzvah”, “Sports Beat”, “Fernando’s Hideaway”, “Red Guys Rap” and “Good Sex with Dr. Ruth Westheimer”. Greg Kihn performs “Boys Won’t (Leave The Girls Alone)” and “Lucky”.

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Classic SNL Review: April 6, 1985: Christopher Reeve / Santana (S10E16)

Classic SNL Review: April 6, 1985: Christopher Reeve / Santana (S10E16)

Sketches include “A.D. 13: Part V: A New Beginning”, “Superman Auditions”, “Jackie Rogers Jr’s $100,000 Jackpot Wad”, “Escaping the Germans”, “Palisades Nursing Home” and “Talk Back”. Santana performs “Say It Again” and “Right Now”. Steven Wright also performs.

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Classic SNL Review: March 30, 1985: Mr. T & Hulk Hogan / The Commodores (S10E15)

Classic SNL Review: March 30, 1985: Mr. T & Hulk Hogan / The Commodores (S10E15)

Sketches include “I Am Also The World”, “Toxic Waste”, “Camp Crystal Lake”, “Fernando’s Hideaway”, “Houses of Shame”, “Substitute Teacher”, “Ohio Savings & Loan”, “The Joe Franklin Show”, “Trash Talk” and “Affair”. The Commodores perform “Nightshift” and “Animal Instinct”. Comedian Steve Landesberg also performs.

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Classic SNL (sorta-)Review: March 2, 1985: SNL Film Festival

Classic SNL (sorta-)Review: March 2, 1985: SNL Film Festival

Billy Crystal hosts a selection of SNL’s filmed segments from the past few seasons; Siskel & Ebert are on hand to give their reviews. Films include “Synchronized Swimming”, “Kannon AE-1”, “Walking After Midnight”, “Buddweiser Light”, “Lifestyles of the Relatives of the Rich & Famous”, “Needleman”, “Prose and Cons”, “Hitchhiker”, “Video Victims”, “Ballplayers” and “White Like Eddie”.

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Classic SNL Review: February 16, 1985: Pamela Sue Martin / The Power Station (S10E14)

Classic SNL Review: February 16, 1985: Pamela Sue Martin / The Power Station (S10E14)

Sketches include “The Joe Franklin Show”, “That White Guy & His Wife”, “Night of 100 Stars”, “Plexiglass Stand-up”, “Called Shot”, “Do You Know What I Hate (V)”, “First Draft Theatre”, “Dynasty’s Greatest Fights”, “Tom, Dick, & Horny”, and “Shootout at the Zepplin Chorale”. The Power Station performs “Some Like It Hot” and “Get It On (Bang A Gong)”.

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Classic SNL Review: February 9, 1985: Harry Anderson / Bryan Adams (S10E13)

Classic SNL Review: February 9, 1985: Harry Anderson / Bryan Adams (S10E13)

Sketches include “Congress”, “The Kate & Ali Valentine’s Day Special”, “American Profiles”, “While You Were Gone” “Ronald Reagan Jeans”, “Oscar Talk”, “Salem Witch Trials”, “Hats” and “Small Time Agency”. Bryan Adams performs “Somebody” and “Run To You”.

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Classic SNL Review: February 2, 1985: Alex Karras / Tina Turner (S10E12)

Classic SNL Review: February 2, 1985: Alex Karras / Tina Turner (S10E12)

Sketches include “Backstage”, “Ed Grimley and Miss Malone”, “Time”, “A Couple of White Guys”, “Kelly Cola”, “Power From Giving”, “New York on Five Dollars a Day”, “Fritz’s Bait & Tackle”, “Tuesday Night Titans” and “New Auctioneer”. Tina Turner performs “What’s Love Got To Do With It”, “Better Be Good To Me”, and “Private Dancer”.

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Classic SNL Review: January 19, 1985: Roy Scheider / Billy Ocean (S10E11)

Classic SNL Review: January 19, 1985: Roy Scheider / Billy Ocean (S10E11)

Sketches include “Inauguration”, “Super Sunday”, “Scalper”, “In Praise of Women”, “The Flaming Parrot”, “Good Cop, Bad Cop” and “Mental Hospital. Billy Ocean performs “Caribbean Queen” and “Loverboy”. Steven Wright also performs.

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