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Teevee Reminder: SNL S1E1

Illustration for article titled Teevee Reminder: SNL S1E1

Just a quick reminder: Tonight's Saturday Night Live is a repeat of the very first episode ever, originally aired on October 11, 1975. It's being aired as a prelude to tomorrow night's 40th Anniversary Reunion Special (don't ask me why they're showing it eight months ahead of schedule).


George Carlin hosted, with musical guests Billy Preston and Janis Ian. It features (albeit in a somewhat limited capacity) the original Not Ready For Prime Time Players: Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman, Garrett Morris, and Gilda Radner. (Though considered an essential member, Bill Murray didn't join until 1977, which kind of makes him the Captain America of the group.)

There are also some really freaky-ass Muppets voiced by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. You might want to stay up for that.


I've seen this episode dozens of times, since when I was a kid, I owned the Warner Home Video VHS cassette of this and several other "classic" SNL episodes from 1975-1980. (They came in those giant plastic clamshell cases, same as the old pornos.) If you're a fan of either the current show or its original incarnation, you should definitely record or watch the premiere. It's quite different from the form that SNL would evolve into within just a few months, with a greater emphasis on the guests than the cast members, who weren't even a big part of the show at that point. But Carlin is really funny, and Andy Kaufman shows up for a bit, as does Albert Brooks. (Also, if you look really carefully during the courtroom sketch, you'll recognize a very young Richard Belzer.)

Anyway, it's weird and crude, but it's a perfect snapshot of mid-'70s American culture. I strongly recommend it.

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