|Saturday Night Live Season 2
The Saturday Night Live title card as seen in the opening credits of the second season, before the name change.
|Country of origin
|No. of episodes
||September 18, 1976 – May 21, 1977
|Home video release
|DVD release date
||December 4, 2007
Saturday Night Live aired its second season during the 1976–1977 television season on NBC. The second season started on September 18, 1976, and ended on May 21, 1977.
This season saw the first of many SNL cast changes. Chevy Chase, who was pursuing a movie career in California, left the show after the October 30th episode hosted by Buck Henry with musical guest, The Band. Jane Curtin became the first female cast member to become a Weekend Update anchor following Chase's departure.
On the January 15, 1977 episode hosted by Ralph Nader, Bill Murray joined the cast to fill the void left by Chase's departure. Even though Murray would later become a fan favorite, his early appearances on SNL had many fans accusing Murray of being a poor replacement for Chevy Chase.
This season also saw another change in the show: its name. 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.
This season also marks the first time that Steve Martin hosted the show. (Martin would later host a record 15 times and become so synonymous with Saturday Night Live that people often mistake him for having been one of the regular cast members.) It also marks the first time that a sports star (football player Fran Tarkenton) hosted.
It was the last time that the Muppet sketches (which were unpopular with both fans and writers) would appear on the show. In a 1977 interview with Playboy, O'Donoghue who was head writer/performer, referred to the Muppets as "those fucking Muppets, those little hairy facecloths" and 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.
Alan Zweibel talked about a meeting with Jim Henson. "So I went over to Jim Henson’s townhouse on like Sixty-eighth Street and I remember we’re reading the sketch, Jim Henson’s reading the pages, and he gets to a line and he says, ‘Oh, Skred wouldn’t say this.’ I look and on a table over there is this cloth thing that is folded over like laundry, and it’s Skred. ‘Oh, but he wouldn’t say this.’ Oh, sorry." According to Zweibel, the lynched Big Bird spoke for everyone. "That’s how we all felt about the Muppets."
Jerry Juhl stated that "We went through just about every writer on the show." Belushi was also not a fan of the Muppets, saying he "always hated the puppets". In his first interview for SNL, he told Michaels, "My television has spit on it."
bold denotes Weekend Update anchor
Jim Downey joins the writing staff. Downey would go on to become one of the most well known writers and have a lasting impact on the show.
||Original Air Date
|Live from Mardi Gras
||February 20, 1977
- The cast and crew participate in the annual Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans.
- The program aired in prime-time on Sunday, February 20.
- Jane Curtin and Buck Henry try to provide commentary on the parade. Eric Idle and Penny Marshall and Henry Winkler cameo in the special.
- Randy Newman was the musical guest. The Meters were also booked as musical guests on the episode—and remain in the re-issue's opening credits—but were bumped for time.
- This is the only episode of "SNL" not broadcast from New York
- This broadcast was a disaster in the making. During the broadcast, a person was killed when they were run over by a parade float. Because of this, the parade—on which Curtin and Henry were supposed to make their 'color commentary'—never arrived.
||September 18, 1976
- This episode marks the final appearance of the characters from "The Land of Gorch" when Lily finds them in the filing cabinets. She even brings up about her reading about The Muppet Show where Wisss states that they won't let them be on that show since it's family entertainment.
- During the Ford/Carter debate sketch, Chevy Chase falls on the podium and injures his groin because the podium wasn't padded. Chase appeared in the next two episodes only by phone.
- Actor Taylor Mead made a filmed cameo appearance in Gary Weis's piece.
- James Taylor performs Shower the People and a cover of (I'm a) Road Runner with a backing band featuring saxophonist David Sanborn, and plays an acoustic performance of Sweet Baby James.
- 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.
||September 25, 1976
||October 2, 1976
||Joe Cocker & Stuff
- Richard Belzer, who was 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.
- Recurring joke 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.
- Belushi "duets" with Cocker on "Feelin' Alright".
- First US television appearance of The Rutles. Producer Lorne Michaels was asking for the Beatles, as in the previous season, but Eric Idle sent a tape of the Rutles (He said he had a bad connection to London).
||October 16, 1976
- The second appearance of Mr. Bill in response to the show's request for home movies; his first appearance was in the February 28, 1976 episode of Season 1.
- The third episode to run over the time limit, but the episode has credits.
||October 23, 1976
- The first of Martin's record 15 hosting stints (the latest occurring on January 31, 2009).
||October 30, 1976
- This is Chevy Chase's final episode as a cast member.
- 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."
||November 13, 1976
- Cavett mentions in the monologue that Elliott Gould was originally planned to host this episode.
||November 20, 1976
- Chevy Chase appeared in the cold open.
- Featured a rare duet performance by Paul Simon and George Harrison, playing Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun" and Simon's "Homeward Bound".
- George Harrison appeared on the show to promote his then-new album "Thirty Three & 1/3". Promo videos for the songs "Crackerbox Palace" and "This Song" aired during the show.
- During the cold open, Harrison and Lorne Michaels can be seen discussing Michaels's Beatles offer from the previous season.
- Paul Simon sang "Still Crazy After All These Years" in a turkey costume.
- Harrison's appearances were pre-taped.
||November 27, 1976
- Jodie Foster would be the youngest person to host SNL at age 14 years and 8 days until Drew Barrymore hosted six years later at the age of 7 years, 8 months and 29 days old.
- In this episode, the age of Don Pardo (the voiceover) is misgiven as 50, when he was actually 58 at the time (he would turn 60 in 1978).
- Fourth wall broken as Jodie addresses the audience in the Bee sketch.
- Brian Wilson appears solo, though he's promoting the current Beach Boys release 15 Big Ones. This is an early performance for Wilson after his years-long bout with depression and drug use (his voice is extremely haggard, and his playing is sloppy as he performs Good Vibrations).
||December 11, 1976
||Frank Zappa with Don Pardo as "The Slime"
- 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!").
- Frank Zappa performs "I'm the Slime" (with Don Pardo), "The Purple Lagoon" and "Peaches En Regalia" as well as appearing in "The Killer Trees" sketch.
- The show ends very ahead of schedule, with the last five minutes consisting of Bergen awkwardly ad-libbing a closing and the cast ice skating around Rockefeller Plaza.
||January 15, 1977
- Bill Murray's first episode as a cast member. Murray replaces an injured John Belushi, who only appears via telephone. Murray is not listed in the opening credits.
- First appearance of the Coneheads.
- Andy Kaufman makes his fifth appearance
||January 22, 1977
- The 80-year-old Gordon was the oldest host in SNL history to that time, until her record was beaten by third-season host Miskel Spillman, winner of the "Anyone Can Host" contest (who was two weeks older than Gordon). Spillman's own record wasn't broken until the thirty-fifth season (May 8, 2010), when Betty White hosted at age 88.
- O. J. Simpson (who would later host during SNL's third season) can be seen in the audience near the end of the episode.
- Bill Murray's picture is added to the opening credits.
||January 29, 1977
- Tarkenton is the first athlete to host.
- Dick Schaap (NBC Sports) can be seen in an audience shot just after the "French Liquid" fake commercial.
||February 26, 1977
- Lily Tomlin appears as "special guest".
- This is the second time Steve Martin hosted this season.
||March 12, 1977
- This is the first episode that was nominated (and won) an Emmy.
- Richard Baskin was perhaps the most obscure musical guest ever on SNL, having never released an album or single. His sister Edie Baskin was a photographer for the show.
||March 19, 1977
- Linda Ronstadt makes a special appearance in the opening sketch as a back-up singer of the "Rondettes".
- The Meters had been bumped from SNL's prime-time Mardi Gras special a month earlier.
- This episode included Bill Murray's famous direct appeal that "I don't think I'm making it on the show."
- This episode was the last one to carry the title NBC's Saturday Night.
||March 26, 1977
- The first episode to carry the title Saturday Night Live, after gaining the rights to the name of Howard Cosell's failed show.
- Burns would go on to produce the 1980s ABC sketch show Fridays, which is often seen by critics and fans alike as a West Coast version of SNL.
||April 9, 1977
- Bond was the first politician to ever host the show.
- Tom Waits performed " Eggs & Sausages"
- Brick performed "Dazz"
||April 16, 1977
||April 23, 1977
- "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth" (played by Jeannette Charles) assists in the telethon to "Save Great Britain" at "555-1066", which is a running skit throughout the show.
||May 14, 1977
- 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"
||May 21, 1977
DVD release 
All 22 episodes were released on a DVD set on December 4, 2007.