Thursday, October 14, 2021

And Your Host...

Saturday Night Live
 is an institution in this country. It's hard not to be after being around for 47 seasons. Over those seasons, they've had some ups and some downs. Depending on your era of SNL, you may think there's been more downs. Harry Anderson, who turns 69 (nice!) today, first hosted SNL on February 9, 1985 after making several guest appearances. It was the tenth season and this season was rough, which is saying something considering the series had been pretty rough since Lorne Michaels left in 1980. NBC almost canceled the show after this season but then-NBC president Brandon Tartikoff saved the show, renewing it, and hiring back Lorne Michaels.

This episode features Jim Belushi, Billy Crystal, Mary Gross, Christopher Guest, Rich Hall, Gary Kroeger, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Harry Shearer--who had actually left the show a month before but was retained in the opening credits, Martin Short, and Pamela Stephenson. The musical guest is Bryan Adams.

The cold open I don't even understand. It's a Ronald Reagan State of the Union speech with Rich Hall portraying Robert Latta, who was a meter reader who was able to get into the White House during Reagan's second inauguration by following the Marine band. I guess you had to be there and I guess this was a shtick Hall did quite a bit in 1985. Anderson's monologue goes into detail about how he's no longer Harry "The Hat" but Harry "The Judge" and there's going to be a new Harry Anderson from now on. No more sticking needles through his arm, no more dropping his pants, no more insulting the audience about their poor choice of clothes.
I mean, he's got his face on the cover of national magazines now.

Harry Anderson is now a family entertainer. And he brought a friend! A white Guinea pig named Skippy who Anderson says can do acrobatic tricks. Skippy's not on board and refuses to work. Anderson asks why Skippy won't do his routine and Skippy says it's because SNL has a Caucasian drummer. Anderson says that's too bad and that if you don't work, you don't live and scoops up Skippy, cramming him in his mouth.
Harry Anderson: Family Entertainer.

In the first sketch, Belushi plays Cecil who returns home from the post office to find that his wife (Gross), believing Cecil dead because he was twenty minutes late, has taken a new lover (Anderson). We then come to find out that she's done this before. To Albert (Hall), who had left that morning--for work.
The best part is Harry's robe.

The next sketch is Billy Crystal and Christopher Guest as Ricky and Phil. I'm assuming some people thought it was funny. Christopher Guest returns to give us the Saturday Night News. I'm assuming some people thought it was funny. Billy Crystal makes an appearance here, too. He insults Hawaiians and their food. Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Christopher Reeve make an appearance in the audience during Crystal's fake stand-up routine.

The next sketch features Anderson as a judge in 1600s Salem, Massachusetts. Martin Short portrays a public defender who tries to defend his client from reckless carriage driving, poaching deer, and consorting with the Devil, copulating with demons, and using the blood of Christian children. Anderson is mostly just a background character to Martin Short's energetic lawyer.

Harry then tells the story of how he became infatuated with hats and tells about his friend, Morris, who taught Harry that with a little bit of felt, you can have any hat that you want. It's an neat story and the different hats that Anderson can fold is impressive.

During the good-byes, Anderson makes sure we know that Skippy is alive and well. He tells his then-wife Leslie and daughter, Eva, that he loves them. He then says we're in this comedy business for one reason. Anderson goes into the audience and pulls Carol Burnett up on stage.


Bryan Adams performed "Somebody" and "Run To You" but since I was watching on Peacock, you don't see the musical guest along with a couple other segments. You can find bits of this episode on the SNL YouTube channel or watch it, for free, on Peacock.

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