Saturday Night Live (season 12)

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Saturday Night Live (season 12)
The title card for the twelfth season of Saturday Night Live.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 20
Original network NBC
Original release October 11, 1986 (1986-10-11) – May 23, 1987 (1987-05-23)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 11
Next →
Season 13
List of Saturday Night Live episodes

The twelfth season of Saturday Night Live, an American sketch comedy series, originally aired in the United States on NBC between October 11, 1986, and May 23, 1987.


Many of season 11's cast members were fired, except for Nora Dunn, Jon Lovitz, featured player A. Whitney Brown, and Weekend Update anchor Dennis Miller. Al Franken was rehired as a writer. The rest were relative unknowns, led by Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks, Victoria Jackson, and Kevin Nealon.[1] Hartman helped write sketches in season 11's Thanksgiving episode hosted by Pee-wee Herman, and appeared in a sketch as a Pilgrim.

The first show of the 1986–87 season opened with Madonna, host of the previous season opener, reading a "statement" from NBC about season 11's mediocre writing and bad cast choices.[2] According to the "statement", the entire 1985–86 season was "...all a dream. A horrible, horrible dream."

The season included "Mastermind," a skit written by Jim Downey and Al Franken, in which Phil Hartman portrayed two sides of Ronald Reagan; 25 years later Todd Purdum called the skit "surely among the show’s Top 10 of all time".

A new logo was introduced for this season: it consisted of a yellow square and a small black rectangle; the yellow square had "SATURDAY" and "LIVE" in it; between them was a black rectangle with the word "NIGHT" in it. It was used only until the following season.


bold denotes Weekend Update anchor


This season's writers were Andy Breckman, A. Whitney Brown, E. Jean Carroll, Tom Davis, Jim Downey, Al Franken, Jack Handey, Phil Hartman, George Meyer, Lorne Michaels, Kevin Nealon, Herb Sargent, Marc Shaiman, Rosie Shuster, Robert Smigel, Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner, Jon Vitti and Christine Zander. Downey also served as head writer.


No. in
Host(s) Musical guest Original air date
214 1 Sigourney Weaver (none) October 11, 1986 (1986-10-11)
215 2 Malcolm-Jamal Warner Run-DMC October 18, 1986 (1986-10-18)
216 3 Rosanna Arquette Ric Ocasek November 8, 1986 (1986-11-08)
217 4 Sam Kinison Lou Reed November 15, 1986 (1986-11-15)
  • Lou Reed performed "I Love You, Suzanne" from 1984's New Sensations and "Original Wrapper" from 1986's Mistrial.[3]
  • Guest appearance by porn star Seka.
218 5 Robin Williams Paul Simon November 22, 1986 (1986-11-22)
219 6 Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Martin Short Randy Newman December 6, 1986 (1986-12-06)
  • Randy Newman performed "Longest Night" and "Roll with the Punches".[3]
  • Chevy Chase acknowledges his recent stint in the Betty Ford Center in the monologue and cold opening, a sketch where klutzy people hold a support group meeting called Stumblebums Anonymous
  • In a sketch written by Jim Downey and Al Franken, Phil Hartman portrays President Ronald Reagan as Masterbrain, a "sweet, befuddled old man in public, who in private becomes the hard-charging director of the covert operation to finance the Nicaraguan Contras"
  • Guest appearance by Eric Idle
220 7 Steve Guttenberg The Pretenders December 13, 1986 (1986-12-13)
221 8 William Shatner Lone Justice December 20, 1986 (1986-12-20)
  • Lone Justice performed "Shelter" and "I Found Love".[3]
  • This show features a sketch where William Shatner, sick of Star Trek fans asking him inane questions, tells them to "Get a life!"[7]
  • Comedian Kevin Meaney makes a guest appearance
  • Special guest Buster Poindexter played "Zat You, Santa?"[3]
222 9 Joe Montana
Walter Payton
Deborah Harry January 24, 1987 (1987-01-24)
223 10 Paul Shaffer Bruce Hornsby & the Range January 31, 1987 (1987-01-31)
224 11 Bronson Pinchot Paul Young February 14, 1987 (1987-02-14)
225 12 Willie Nelson Willie Nelson February 21, 1987 (1987-02-21)
  • Danny DeVito makes a guest appearance.
  • Willie Nelson performed "Blue Eyes" and "Partners After All".[3]
  • In a sketch, Nelson accompanies Victoria Jackson on "The Boyfriend Song".
226 13 Valerie Bertinelli Robert Cray Band February 28, 1987 (1987-02-28)
  • Robert Cray Band performed "Smoking Gun" and "Right Next Door".[3]
  • Bertinelli's then-husband, Eddie Van Halen, appeared in a sketch and plays with the SNL Band. Van Halen performed "Stompin' 8H".[3]
  • Guest appearance by Edwin Newman.
227 14 Bill Murray Percy Sledge March 21, 1987 (1987-03-21)
228 15 Charlton Heston Wynton Marsalis March 28, 1987 (1987-03-28)
  • Wynton Marsalis performed "J Mood" and "Juan (E. Mustaad)".[3]
  • The episode features a short film by future cast member Ben Stiller.
  • Metallica was the original music choice for that night, but frontman James Hetfield broke his wrist while skateboarding two days prior, causing the band to cancel their appearance.
229 16 John Lithgow Anita Baker April 11, 1987 (1987-04-11)
230 17 John Larroquette Timbuk 3 April 18, 1987 (1987-04-18)
  • Timbuk 3 performed "Just Another Movie" and "Hairstyles & Attitudes".[3]
231 18 Mark Harmon Suzanne Vega May 9, 1987 (1987-05-09)
  • Suzanne Vega performed "Luka" and "Marlene on the Wall".[3]
232 19 Garry Shandling Los Lobos May 16, 1987 (1987-05-16)
233 20 Dennis Hopper Roy Orbison May 23, 1987 (1987-05-23)


  1. ^ Gendel, Morgan (30 September 1986). "Another Groundling Hops To 'Snl'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 124–127. ISBN 0-395-70895-8. 
  4. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 214–217. ISBN 0-395-70895-8. 
  5. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. p. 120. ISBN 0-395-70895-8. 
  6. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 218–219. ISBN 0-395-70895-8. 
  7. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. p. 42. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.