Classic SNL Review: March 15, 1986: Griffin Dunne / Rosanne Cash (S11E12)

Classic SNL Review: March 15, 1986: Griffin Dunne / Rosanne Cash (S11E12)

Sketches include: “Rumors”, “Double R Marcos”, “Mr. Monopoly”, “You Bet Your Finger”, “Bad Seed”, “Buon Giorno Ireland Buon Giorno”, “Two Jones Cable Installers”, “You Can Pick Your Friends, You Can Pick Your Nose, But Your Can’t Pick Your Friend’s Nose”, “Business Beat”, and “Tea and Sympathy”. Rosanne Cash performs “Hold On” and “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me”. Penn & Teller also appear.

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Classic SNL Review: February 22, 1986: Jay Leno / The Neville Brothers (S11E11)

Classic SNL Review: February 22, 1986: Jay Leno / The Neville Brothers (S11E11)

Sketches include “Studio Tour”, “Target Earth”, “Dinner With Mike”, “Star Search”, “Evil Twin”, “Stand-Ups”, “Man Beat” and “The Further Adventures of Biff and Salena”. The Neville Brothers perform “The Big Chief” and “The Midnight Key”.

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Classic SNL Review: February 15, 1986: Jerry Hall / Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble (S11E10)

Classic SNL Review: February 15, 1986: Jerry Hall / Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble (S11E10)

Sketches include “Bar”, “The Limits of the Imagination”, “Models Against The Wilderness”, “Master Thespian”, “Line of Death”, “The Pat Stevens Show” and “Sore Toe”. Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble perform “Say What!” and “Change It”. Sam Kinison also appears.

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Classic SNL Review: February 8, 1986: Ron Reagan / The Nelsons (S11E09)

Classic SNL Review: February 8, 1986: Ron Reagan / The Nelsons (S11E09)

Sketches include “Risky Business”, “The Pat Stevens Show”, “Dalkon Shield Trout Lure”, “Back To The Future”, “The Limits Of The Imagination”, “Shakespeare In The Slums”, and “David’s Date”. The Nelsons perform “Walk Away” and “Do You Know What I Mean”. Penn & Teller also appear.

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Classic SNL Review: January 25, 1986: Dudley Moore / Al Green (S11E08)

Classic SNL Review: January 25, 1986: Dudley Moore / Al Green (S11E08)

Sketches include “Monastery”, “Miss Pregnant Teenage America”, “The Pat Stevens Show”, “The Limits Of The Imagination”, “Name That Tune”, “Master Thespian”, and “Concerto”. Al Green performs “Going Away” and “True Love”.

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Classic SNL Review: January 18, 1986: Harry Dean Stanton / The Replacements (S11E07)

Classic SNL Review: January 18, 1986: Harry Dean Stanton / The Replacements (S11E07)

Sketches include: “Press Conference”, “Gulf Coast Furniture Warehouse” “Cleveland Vice”, “Death of a Gunfighter”, “Hospital”, “That Black Girl”, “Big Ball Of Sports”, “No Offense” and “Jack’s Discount Emporium”. The Replacements perform “Bastards Of Young” and “Kiss Me On The Bus”. Sam Kinison also appears.

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Classic SNL Review: December 14, 1985: Tom Hanks / Sade (S11E05)

Classic SNL Review: December 14, 1985: Tom Hanks / Sade (S11E05)

Sketches include “Entertainment Tonight”, “Trojans II”, “Liars at Home”, “The Pat Stevens Show”, “Fantasy”, “Stand-Ups”, “Holiday Moms”, and “Fisherman”. Sade performs “Is It A Crime” and “The Sweetest Taboo”. Steven Wright also appears.

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Classic SNL Review: December 7, 1985: John Lithgow / Mr. Mister (S11E04)

Classic SNL Review: December 7, 1985: John Lithgow / Mr. Mister (S11E04)

Sketches include “Halley’s Comet”, “Posterior Arthropod”, “Master Thespian”, “Double R Rolls”, “Ad Council”, “Cliches”, “Vegas Nancy”, “U.S.S. Cameron”, and “The Limits of the Imagination”. Mr. Mister performs “Broken Wings” and “Kyrie”. Sam Kinison also appears.

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Classic SNL Review: November 23, 1985: Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) / Queen Ida (S11E03)

Classic SNL Review: November 23, 1985: Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) / Queen Ida (S11E03)

Sketches include “Tightrope”, “Say No”, “Locker Room”, “Pee-Wee’s Thanksgiving Special”, “The Pat Stevens Show”, “Die Foreigner Die!”, “Big House”, “Dinosaur Town”, “Love Letter”, “Pregnancy Tips”, and “Money Magnetism Seminar”. Queen Ida and the Bon Temps Zydeco Band perform “La Louisiane” and “Frisco Zydeco”.

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Classic SNL Review: November 16, 1985: Chevy Chase / Sheila E. (S11E02)

Classic SNL Review: November 16, 1985: Chevy Chase / Sheila E. (S11E02)

Sketches include “Firefighters”, “Wacky Glue”, “The Pat Stevens Show”, “Ford & Reagan”, “Trojans (I)”, “Those Unlucky Andersons”, “Jose Cuervo’s Party School Bowl”, “The Jose Cuervo Institute”, “The Life of Vlad the Impaler”, “The Blue, The Gray, And The Yellow”, “Drums Drums Drums”, “Pathological Liars Anonymous”, and “Craig Sundberg: Idiot Savant”. Sheila E. performs “Hollyrock” and “A Love Bizarre”.

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Classic SNL Review: November 9, 1985: Madonna / Simple Minds (S11E01)

Classic SNL Review: November 9, 1985: Madonna / Simple Minds (S11E01)

Sketches include: “Drug Testing”, “Where You’re Going”, “National Inquirer Theatre”, “Pinklisting”, “Critic”, “The Jones Brothers”, “El Spectaculare De Marika”, “Royal Visit”, “The Limits of the Imagination” and “Coloring Book”. Simple Minds perform “Alive and Kicking”. Penn & Teller also appear.

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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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Brief thoughts on #SNL40

Other people are probably going to write more extensively about tonight's SNL 40th Anniversary special, so I'll leave it to them, but I'll say my piece about a few things:

Most of the show was entertaining; the clip montages were well-chosen and edited, and it was good to see the lesser-celebrated Doumanian and Ebersol years get more "deep cuts" covered in the highlight reels, as opposed to the same Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo clips they normally rely on.  

The music performances weren't bad; nothing on par with Prince doing "Electric Chair" at the 15th anniversary or the Eurythmics and Al Green medleys at the 25th. Miley Cyrus doing "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" was surprisingly good, though.  

Jane Curtin doing Weekend Update with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler was a highlight, and she killed it with her Fox News joke. She was always the secret weapon of the original years, or at least the one hidden in plain sight.  

The biggest misstep of the night was the Californians sketch, which didn't seem to play too well in studio. Despite the participation of Laraine Newman and cameos from Bradley Cooper, Kerry Washington, Taylor Swift and Betty White, the sketch dragged.  David Spade posted a close-up of the script on Instagram earlier, which revealed this was the handiwork of James Anderson and Kent Sublette; for all I know they may be wonderful people, but this was all too typical of their other work on the show*.  The same could be said for Garth and Kat, which ground the pacing of the "salute to musical sketches" segment to a halt.

The "In Memoriam" montage was well-done, but I noticed a few glaring omissions:

  • Joe Bodolai (writer, 1981-82)
  • Nelson Lyon (writer, 1981-82)
  • Mark O'Donnell (writer, 1981-82)
  • Terry Southern (writer, 1981-82)
  • Alan P. Rubin (band, 1975-83)
  • Drake Sather (writer, 1994-95)
  • Mauricio Smith (band, 1975-79)

They may have kept to a "more than one season" rule for writers, but I found it odd they didn't count the other band members who have passed.  I believe there were also a few other crew and staff members that had been memorialized beforehand but not here.  That said, it was nice to see some others get their due.  I was most concerned that Charles Rocket, Danitra Vance, Michael O'Donoghue and Tom Davis would get short shrift, and was pleased to see they were counted.  The same goes for Don Pardo, Dave Wilson and Audrey Peart Dickman (from many accounts, she was the engine that kept the show running, production-wise). 

Other than those issues, the special served its purpose: it reminded the audience why this show (and it's history) is special, and it was good to see a lot of familiar faces again.  I hope everyone there had a good time (even Anderson and Sublette).

*A partial list of other Anderlette sketches this season: "Forgotten Television Gems", "Women In The Workplace", "Campfire Song", "Nest-presso", "Amy Adams Monologue", "Singing Sisters", "Soap Opera Reunion", "The Journey", "Casablanca".