Saturday Night Live - 25th Anniversary Special

(Note: I put this thread in GQ because it is for factual information about the show. If you want to discuss opinions about whether you like it or not, go to Great Debates.)

(1) Where were Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo on sunday night? Is there so much ill will between them and the show that they couldn’t go back to celebrate?

(2) There was a season about 5-10 years ago that was so bad that Lorne Michaels swore he’d never show any reruns of it. Exactly which year was that? Did anyone from that season even appear in the audience?

(3) Was anyone else missing?

I did not see the program, but I doubt that they had much of the season where the regulars were:

Denny Dillon
Gail Matthius
Charles Rocket
Gilbert Gottfried

That was the same season, IIRC, that Joe Piscopo and Eddie Murphy got their starts.

Supposedly, it was a truly awful season, but compared to what? I’m in a minority that believes that for the most part, SNL (from the first season)was like a garage sale: a lot of junk, interspersed with some real gems. And most of the “humor,” IMHO, was derived from the fact that it was being viewed under the influence of mind-altering chemicals.

Interesting theory, Mjollnir. Itworks for Piscopo, but not for Murphy. According to the IMDB ( ):

the new members in 1980 were Peter Aykroyd, Ann Risley, Charles Rocket, Denny Dillon, Gail Matthius, Gilbert Gottfried, Joe Piscopo, Matthew Laurance, Patrick Weathers, Yvonne Hudson.

and the new members in 1981 were Brian Doyle Murray, Christine Ebersole, Eddie Murphy, Mary Gross, Robin Duke, Tim Kazurinsky, Tony Rosato.

Joe Piscapo was far too busy attending the grand opening a GNC in Teaneck New Jersey.

I think it was the 80-81 seasons that really sucked. As I recall, Lorne Michaels left, and the show was taken over by Dick Ebersol (which might explain Christine Ebersol being on the show, but she actually wasn’t that bad).

People have these amazingly fond memories of the first five years of the show, but there were some really lame skits. It was a running joke that they couldn’t find endings to skits and often a skit would just peter out and stop. I can remember a lot of skits that went from start to finish with hardly a chuckle from the audience.

The years that had Randy Quaid and Robert Downey Jr. were also pretty bad, as I recall. During that period they did a lot of experiments with ‘drama’ that were bad drama with no comedy (although once in a while they’d hit on something pretty good).

I seem to recall that Eddie Murphy appeared very occasionally throughout the 1980 and early '81 seasons, but was not credited because he was seventeen at the time. (I remember Murphy announcing to the audience that he had just turned eighteen, and was now “a regular.” Anyone else with me on this?)

As for Murphy’s lack of appearance on the special, Lorne Michaels pointed out to Reuters a couple of days ago that Murphy had never appeared live on any of the SNL anniversary specials, so why should he start now?

(That “noteable quote” originally appeared here a couple of days ago, but I cannot find it now.)

From what I heard, Eddie Murphy didn’t attend because of some unspecified antipathy to the show. I haven’t heard of any issues between him and Joe Piscopo. Also, my two takes on shows never to air in reruns: First, the entire original cast left after 1980, and a new cast came on board. This included Gail Matthius, Ann Risley, and Charles Rocket. The show was universally panned, but I have seen episodes from it in reruns (at least the one with Bill Murray as the guest host.) Second, there is an episode with the original cast, hosted by Milton Berle, that Lorne found so excruciatingly bad (Milton was in high cheesiness mode) that he forbids it from airing. My info on this came from a book on SNL whose title and author escapes me, but that’s what is for.

BTW, the show with Bill Murray that I was referring to was actually more funny and clever than almost any show that didn’t have both Mike Myers and Phil Hartman.

I would imagine that Charles Rocket’s last episode will never air again (for the obvious reason).

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Charles Rocket was fired for using the F-word back then, but it would hardly get a mention now. In fact, I seem to recall that someone else (Norm MacDonald?) did that later on and just got some sort of reprimand.

And they could easily air the show, because they could just bleep it or cut the segment.

On the Comedy Channel here in Canada they run reruns of SNL every day, and they’ve gone through all the seasons, including the Ebersol years.

So what were the best casts on Saturday Night Live? My vote, in order:

  1. The cast with Phil Hartmann, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, etc, right through the years where Norm MacDonald was Weekend Update Host.

  2. The original cast

  3. The current cast, and variations (Jay Mohr, Norm Macdonald, etc)

  4. The last years with Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscopo, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Tim Kazurinsky

How about the best Weekend Update anchors:

  1. Dennis Miller
  2. Norm MacDonald
  3. Bill Murray
  4. Dan Ayckroyd/Jane Curtin
  5. Colin Quinn
  6. Brad Hall
  7. Charles Rocket

Did I miss anyone?

You forgot Mary Gross and Brian-Doyle “He Blows Goats, I Have Proof” Murray.

Did you miss anyone, among Weekend Update hosts? Well, Kevin Nealon was the anchor for quite a while after Dennis Miller left. I don’t think he really wanted the job, and was only so-so at it… though he was a pretty good straight man for Opera Man and Cajun Man.

I can’t believe you missed Chevy Chase as weekend update host with Rosanne Rosannadanna, AKA Gilda Radner, as a frequent corespondent.

Hmm, I can’t find Belushi’s name on any of these posts.

Is this some kind of conspiracy?

According to the Pope, a woman can be a saint, but not a priest.

Jane Douminian (sp?) was the producer of SNL during the Charles Rocket, et al, year. Then Ebersol took over for maybe 2 seasons, and then Lorne Michaels returned.

I believe it was Paul Schaeffer, in a sketch where he was supposed to use the word “Frupping” or something similar about 20 times had a slip and said “fucking”. All parties saw that it was a mistake. Unlike Rocket just blurting out “I just want to know who the fuck shot me!”

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Missed it; I’d love to see that sketch. One benefit to living in EST is that you get to see SNL truly LIVE and not “bleeped” like they do for the other time zones.
I saw Norm Macdonald’s “fuck” as well as Cheri Oteri’s “Look at this shit!” (At the end she was shown putting something into a “swear jar” held by Lorne.)
You’d think the culture at large would be hip enough by now to let that sort of thing slide. It’s nothing people don’t hear most every day.