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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The End Of An Error. 3.

Well, the total is now up to nineteen (or so).
The number of times I laughed out loud over something I saw over the last forty years (or so) on "Saturday Night Live"
Be aware that this is purely subjective.
Here are some of them, in no particular order:

1-Samurai Deli.

One of a series of Belushi "Samurai" sketches.
Usually with Buck Henry playing straight for him.
Henry added to the laughter enormously.
I seriously doubt that it would have been as funny without him.
I think "Samurai Deli" was the first one.
And as usual, they beat the premise into the ground with subsequent sketches.

2- The Greek Diner.

The sketch that gave us "Chee-burgy, chee-burgy, chee-burgy, chee-burgy...."
Belushi really shined in that one.
Then, of course, they kept redoing the sketch, and it became diminishing returns.

3- Albert Brooks' Famous Comedians School.

He did a series of short films early on in the series, all good, but nothing as funny as the Famous Comedians School.
I had first seen it as an article in, I think, Esquire Magazine.
And it was hilarious there.
It translated very well to film, unfettered by Lorne's input.
Lorne seemed to know when not to get in people's way.
Especially if they weren't his underlings.

4- Negro Leaguers.

Billy Crystal and Christopher Guest in a short film where they portrayed two now ancient Negro League baseball players.
At least as impressive as it was funny.

5- The Joe Franklin Show.

Billy Crystal doing his devastating impression of Joe Franklin, with Christopher Guest doing his devastating impression of Alan Arkin, capturing all the inherent dopiness of the Joe Franklin Show.

6- Fernando's Hideaway.

Billy Crystal's hilarious, mostly improvised impression of Fernando Lamas, fracturing the language as he interviewed a guest.
A lot of people think that he broke this character in on SNL, but I remember him doing it on his own comedy hour on NBC a couple of years earlier.
I think he also did it with Johnny Carson before SNL.

7- Nathan Thurm and Mike Wallace.

Martin Short at his best, as the nervous and obviously guilty, with everything to hide, Nathan Thurm, and Harry Shearer doing his dead-on Mike Wallace impression in full interrogation mode.

8- Martin Short as Ed Grimley, when Howard Cosell guested and was made up to look just like Ed Grimley.

Howard was always a good sport.
Martin Short brought this character with him from SCTV.
This was one character that withstood the constant repetition.

These last five entries were all done in the 1984-85 season.
One that Lorne Michaels was not there for.
Lorne returned the next season.
And all of the great cast members from the 84-85 season, Billy Crystal, Harry Shearer, Martin Short, and Christopher Guest, promptly left.
It was the show's only great season, and Lorne Michaels had nothing to do with it.
If he was there at the time, he never would have hired those guys, because he couldn't control them, or treat them like indentured servants.
And if he did, none of them would have stood for it.

I'll get to the rest of my pleasant experiences with SNL next time.

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My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
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Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
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And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.

******

4 comments:

  1. The 1984-85 season was a deliberate outlier of a year for SNL. Crystal, Shearer, and Short were all well known to audiences when they joined and as Spinal Tap was released in 1984, Guest was also becoming well known. And Guest was already known in the comedy community since he joined The National Lampoon Radio Hour in the early seventies. SNL never brought established names into the cast before and they rarely tried it afterward. Lorne's vision was always that the cast was a place to break new talent. I'll agree with you that part of it was to keep them under Lorne's control and part of it was to keep to the same work schedule during the week. When Lorne tried to bring in established performers later, the most prominent one was Chris Elliott. Chris has said in interviews that he did not know how the show operated and he was surprised that he would be kept out of a show if he did not write his own sketches that week.

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  2. The most I've ever laughed while watching TV was during the Steve Martin's performance of King Tut. The song was pretty funny but when they got to the instrumental break, it got way funnier. A sarcophagus was in the background as part of the set. Suddenly it opened and Lou Marini dressed as a mummy played the sax solo. It was a complete surprise and one of the highlights of surrealistic humor in the history of TV

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  3. There's a chance you're eligible for a free $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

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  4. There's a chance you are eligible to get a Apple iPhone 7.

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Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at macchus999@aol.com. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."