Saturday Night Live (season 2)

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Saturday Night Live (season 2)
The title card for the second season of Saturday Night Live.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 22
Original network NBC
Original release September 18, 1976 (1976-09-18) – May 21, 1977 (1977-05-21)
Season chronology
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Season 1
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Season 3
List of Saturday Night Live episodes

The second season of Saturday Night Live, an American sketch comedy series, originally aired in the United States on NBC from September 18, 1976 to May 21, 1977.

The season included a Live from Mardi Gras Special.

This season of what began as NBC's Saturday Night saw the departure of Chevy Chase after the October 30th episode hosted by Buck Henry. Jane Curtin took over as Weekend Update anchor following Chase's departure. On the January 15, 1977 episode, Bill Murray joined the Not Ready for Prime-Time Players, filling the void left by Chase's departure. Jim Downey joined the writing staff. This season was the last to feature The Muppets.

Steve Martin, Eric Idle, and Buck Henry each hosted two episodes.


Following the cancellation of ABC's Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell, NBC changed the name of the show from NBC's Saturday Night to its current title, Saturday Night Live in the episode hosted by Jack Burns in 1977.[citation needed]

The shows on October 16, October 23, and October 30 1976 were live from NBC's studio complex in Brooklyn, NY. NBC News used Studio 8-H for Presidential election coverage.[citation needed]

This season was the last to feature The Muppets in The Land of Gorch, who had appeared in segments that were unpopular with fans and the SNL writers. Jim Henson was reportedly displeased with the amount of creative control he had over the scripts. Jerry Juhl called Henson "very frustrated" with his input into the scripts, and stated that the SNL writers "didn't have any real handle" on Henson's concept. "Jim would come in with ideas, and sit with them, and give them wonderful ideas, and they wouldn’t know how to fly with them," Juhl recalled.[1] In a 1977 interview with Playboy, head writer/performer Michael O'Donoghue referred to the Muppets as "fucking Muppets…little hairy facecloths" that were made from the refuse after they cleaned up after Woodstock. He also refused to write for them, saying "I don’t write for felt". O'Donoghue also had a lynched Big Bird hanging in the writer's office.[2]

Jim Downey joined the writing staff in what would be a long career on the show.[3]


Prior to the start of the season, cast members George Coe and Michael O'Donoghue left the show. Meanwhile during the season Chevy Chase left the show after an injuring and Weekend Update with Jane Curtin as his replacement. He returned for Weekend Update in a wheelchair for 3 episodes before leaving for good. Soon after that Bill Murray was hired as a cast member.

Cast roster[edit]

Repertory cast members[edit]

bold denotes Weekend Update anchor


Jim Downey joined the writing staff.

This season's writers included Dan Aykroyd, Anne Beatts, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Tom Davis, Jim Downey, Al Franken, Bruce McCall, Lorne Michaels, Marilyn Suzanne Miller, Bill Murray, Michael O'Donoghue, Herb Sargent, Tom Schiller, Rosie Shuster and Alan Zweibel. The head writer was Michael O'Donoghue.


No. in
HostMusical guest(s)Original air date
251Lily TomlinJames TaylorSeptember 18, 1976 (1976-09-18)

  • The episode marks the final appearance of the characters from "The Land of Gorch". In this appearance, King Ploobis, Queen Peuta, Scred, and Wisss wake up in a filing cabinet assuming that they are in the afterlife. When they think that their sketch has been revived, they find The Mighty Favog under a dust cover that King Ploobis removes. The Mighty Favog states that this may be their last chance on the show and that they must do whatever they tell them to do. "The Land of Gorch" Muppets are then visited by Lily Tomlin. When Lily states that she heard about The Muppet Show that came out last week, Wisss states that they won't let them be on their show since it's a family show. Lily and "The Land of Gorch" Muppets try to sing "I Whistle a Happy Tune". Unfortunately, "The Land of Gorch" Muppets can't whistle. Lily leaves planning to find something else for her and "The Land of Gorch" Muppets to do.
  • Actor Taylor Mead makes a filmed cameo appearance in Gary Weis's piece.
  • James Taylor performed "Shower the People"[4] and a cover of "(I'm a) Road Runner"[4] with a backing band featuring saxophonist David Sanborn. He also played an acoustic rendition of "Sweet Baby James".[4]
  • The show ends with Paul Shaffer and Lily Tomlin performing the Antler Dance as the entire cast, crew, the characters from "The Land of Gorch," and the audience join in.
  • Contains the "Ford-Carter Debate" sketch.[5]
262Norman LearBoz ScaggsSeptember 25, 1976 (1976-09-25)

273Eric IdleJoe Cocker & StuffOctober 2, 1976 (1976-10-02)

  • Richard Belzer, the show's warm-up comedian during season 1, makes a cameo appearance during the cold open impersonating the still-injured Chase, who contributes via phone.
  • There is a recurring joke throughout this episode where Eric Idle tries to sing George Harrison's "Here Comes The Sun" in a gruff, angry voice before getting stopped by various cast members. Harrison himself performed the song with Paul Simon on the show almost 2 months later.
  • Cocker performed "You Are So Beautiful" and "Feelin' Alright".[4] Belushi "duets" with Cocker on the latter.
  • First US television appearance of The Rutles.
284Karen BlackJohn PrineOctober 16, 1976 (1976-10-16)

  • The second appearance of Mr. Bill in response to the show's request for home movies.
  • Prine performed "Hello in There" and "The Bottomless Lake".[4]
  • This episode was performed in Brooklyn, while Studio 8H was used for election coverage.[6]
295Steve MartinKinky FriedmanOctober 23, 1976 (1976-10-23)

  • This is the first episode Steve Martin hosts.
  • Friedman performed "Dear Abbie".[4]
  • This episode was performed in Brooklyn, while Studio 8H was used for election coverage.[6]
306Buck HenryThe BandOctober 30, 1976 (1976-10-30)

  • This is Chevy Chase's final episode as a cast member.
  • The Band performs "Life Is a Carnival", "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", "Stage Fright" and "Georgia on My Mind".[4]
  • Buck Henry was cut on his forehead by John Belushi's sword during Samurai Stockbroker sketch. Henry, as well as cast members, continued the show with bandaged heads. During this sketch Henry refers to Belushi's character as "Mr. Mikuraki." Belushi's character is typically cited as "Samurai Futaba."
  • This episode was performed in Brooklyn, while Studio 8H was used for election coverage.[6]
317Dick CavettRy CooderNovember 13, 1976 (1976-11-13)

  • Ry Cooder performed "Tattler" and "He'll Have to Go".[4]
  • This is the first episode where "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" was recited by a female cast member.
328Paul SimonPaul Simon & George HarrisonNovember 20, 1976 (1976-11-20)

339Jodie FosterBrian WilsonNovember 27, 1976 (1976-11-27)

  • The fourth wall is broken as Jodie Foster addresses the audience in the Bee sketch.
  • Brian Wilson appears solo, though he's promoting the current Beach Boys release 15 Big Ones. He performs "Back Home," "Love is a Woman," and the Beach Boys' hit, "Good Vibrations".[4] He also appears in the "Metal Detector" sketch as a security guard.
3410Candice BergenFrank Zappa with Don Pardo as "The Slime"December 11, 1976 (1976-12-11)

  • First appearance of Irwin Mainway.
  • During the "Right to Extreme Stupidity" sketch, Bergen slips up and addresses Gilda Radner's character as Fern, which is actually the name of Bergen's character. While Bergen is reduced to spontaneous laughter, Radner responds by inverting the sketch's premise ("We can't all be brainy like Fern here!").
  • Bergen and the cast perform "Let's Kill Gary Gilmore for Christmas".
  • Frank Zappa performs "I'm the Slime" (with Don Pardo), "The Purple Lagoon," (with John Belushi in character as Samurai Futaba who carries out a call and response with Zappa's band) and "Peaches en Regalia".[4] He also appeared in "The Killer Trees" sketch.
  • The show ends with Bergen ad-libbing a closing and the cast ice skating around Rockefeller Plaza.
3511Ralph NaderGeorge BensonJanuary 15, 1977 (1977-01-15)

3612Ruth GordonChuck BerryJanuary 22, 1977 (1977-01-22)

  • Chuck Berry performed "Johnny B. Goode" and a medley of "Marie" and "Carol".[4]
  • Ricky Jay does a solo magic set and appears in the "Little Old Ladies of the Evening" sketch.
3713Fran TarkentonLeo Sayer
Donny Harper
January 29, 1977 (1977-01-29)

3814Steve MartinThe KinksFebruary 26, 1977 (1977-02-26)

  • Lily Tomlin appears as "special guest".
  • The Kinks performed "You Really Got Me" and "Sleepwalker".[4]
3915Sissy SpacekRichard BaskinMarch 12, 1977 (1977-03-12)

  • This episode won a Primetime Emmy Award.
  • Baskin performed "One I Love You" and "City of One-Night Stands".[4]
4016Broderick CrawfordLevon Helm
Dr. John
The Meters
March 19, 1977 (1977-03-19)

  • Linda Ronstadt makes a special appearance in the opening sketch as a back-up singer of the "Rondettes".
  • This episode includes Bill Murray's direct appeal that "I don't think I'm making it on the show."
  • The last episode to carry the title NBC's Saturday Night
  • Helm performed "Ain't That a Lot of Love".[4]
  • Dr. John performed "Sing Sing Sing".[4]
  • The Meters performed "I Got to Get My Name Up in Lights".[4]
4117Jack BurnsSantanaMarch 26, 1977 (1977-03-26)

4218Julian BondTom Waits
April 9, 1977 (1977-04-09)

  • Tom Waits performed "Eggs and Sausage (In a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)".[4]
  • Brick performed "Dazz".[4]
4319Elliott GouldMcGarrigle Sisters
Roslyn Kind
April 16, 1977 (1977-04-16)

  • First appearance of Nick The Lounge Singer.[8]
  • Kind performed "I'm Not Anyone".[4]
  • The McGarrigle Sisters performed "Kiss and Say Goodbye" and "Heart Like a Wheel".[4]
4420Eric IdleAlan Price
Neil Innes
April 23, 1977 (1977-04-23)

  • "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth" (played by Jeannette Charles) assists in the telethon to "Save Great Britain" at "555-1066", which is a running sketch throughout the show.
  • Price performed "In Times Like These" and "Poor People".[4]
  • Innes performed "Shangri-La".[4]
4521Shelley DuvallJoan ArmatradingMay 14, 1977 (1977-05-14)

  • Lorne Michaels appears in the opening sketch, with Shelley Duvall and John Belushi in Bee costumes.
  • The opening montage is only shown on a backstage TV, as the camera follows Shelley, Jane, Laraine, and Gilda onto the stage to sing as the "Video Vixens."
  • Chevy Chase appears in the audience during one of the commercial bumpers, with the caption "USED TO BE ON THE SHOW."
  • Spalding Gray narrates and appears in the video "Brides".
  • Armatrading performed "I'm Not in Love" and "Down to Zero".[4]
4622Buck HenryJennifer Warnes
Kenny Vance
May 21, 1977 (1977-05-21)


TitleOriginal air date
"Live from Mardi Gras"February 20, 1977 (1977-02-20)
The cast and crew participate in the annual Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans. Jane Curtin and Buck Henry try to provide commentary on the parade. Eric Idle, Penny Marshall and Henry Winkler cameo in the special. Randy Newman performed "Louisiana 1927", "Marie", "Kingfish", and "Sail Away".[4]

DVD release[edit]

The Mardi Gras Special and all 22 episodes were released on a DVD set on December 4, 2007.[9]


  1. ^ Jones, Brian (September 29, 2013). "Escape from "Saturday Night Live," birth of "The Muppet Show"". Salon. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  2. ^ "Three Muppet Conflicts & How They Were Resolved". Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  3. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (March 3, 2008). "'SNL' Writer Narrows the Gap Between Politics and Farce". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-29. Mr. Downey joined "SNL" in its second season, alongside another new hire, Bill Murray. Mr. Downey left in 1980, going on to become head writer for "Late Night With David Letterman" before returning in 1984.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 124–127. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  5. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 199–200. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  6. ^ a b c Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. p. 264. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  7. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 92–95. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  8. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 98–101. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  9. ^ "Saturday Night Live - The Complete 2nd Season". TV Guide Online. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-29.