Saturday Night Live (season 20)
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|Saturday Night Live Season 20|
The Saturday Night Live title card as seen in the opening credits of the 20th season.
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||20|
|Original run||September 24, 1994 – May 13, 1995|
|List of Saturday Night Live episodes|
Saturday Night Live aired its twentieth season during the 1994–95 television season on NBC. The twentieth season began on September 24, 1994 and ended on May 13, 1995. Much like seasons six and eleven, this season was lambasted by critics for its decline in quality. Season twenty suffered from having sketches based on very thin premises, a high number of which focused on or mentioned O. J. Simpson's 1995 murder trial.
Much like the 1980–1981 season and the 1985–1986 season, NBC worried over SNL's decline in quality (and in the ratings) and initially decided that now would be the best time to pull the plug on the show once and for all. According to the prime time special Saturday Night Live in the '90s: Pop Culture Nation, Lorne Michaels credits this season as the closest he's ever been to being fired. In the end, the cast member firings and crew turnover resulting from this season represented the biggest involvement into the show's affairs by NBC executives since the 1980–1981 season and the biggest cast overhaul since the 1985–1986 season.
This season saw the deaths of two SNL alumni: Danitra Vance and Michael O'Donoghue. The Sarah Jessica Parker/R.E.M. episode featured a special appearance by Bill Murray, who introduced a clip of "Mr. Mike's Least Favorite Bedtime Stories" in O'Donoghue's memory.
Preceding the season 20 premiere, Phil Hartman, Melanie Hutsell, Rob Schneider, Sarah Silverman and Julia Sweeney had all left the show. In their places, the show hired Chris Elliott, Janeane Garofalo and Laura Kightlinger to the cast. Elliott and Garofalo were made repertory players, while Kightlinger was made a featured player.
As the season progressed, Morwenna Banks, Mark McKinney, and Molly Shannon were added to the cast. Jay Mohr stayed a featured player. Norm Macdonald was promoted to repertory status and made Weekend Update's latest anchor (though Kevin Nealon was no longer a Weekend Update anchor, he still remained on the show). McKinney was hired from the then-recently ended sketch show The Kids in the Hall, which Lorne Michaels happened to produce.
Several cast members quit the show throughout the season. Mike Myers left after the January 21, 1995 episode (exactly six years after his first episode on January 21, 1989), largely due to his increasing fame as a film star (notably with his role in 1992's Wayne's World). Janeane Garofalo quit the show following the February 25 episode, citing her unhappiness with the work environment and writing material. She would later call Saturday Night Live "...an unfair boys' club" and call many of the sketches "juvenile and homophobic." Al Franken's final appearance as a featured player was on May 6, following the box office failure of the SNL spin-off film Stuart Saves His Family.
Following the May 13, 1995 season finale, nine more cast members either quit or were fired from Saturday Night Live, including Morwenna Banks, Ellen Cleghorne, Chris Elliott, Chris Farley, Laura Kightlinger, Michael McKean, Jay Mohr, Kevin Nealon and Adam Sandler. In his book, Gasping for Airtime, Jay Mohr wrote that following the season, he demanded a promotion to repertory status, among other things; the network procrastinated his wishes throughout the summer of 1995, and he chose to quit the show. Mohr's account of his voluntary departure from SNL has been widely discounted, however. He was under a cloud of suspicion due to his admitted plagiarizing of jokes during the season, and his multi-year contract with NBC did not allow him to unilaterally quit.
bold denotes Weekend Update anchor
|No.||#||Host(s)||Musical guest(s)||Original airdate|
|367||1||Steve Martin||Eric Clapton||September 24, 1994|
Norm Macdonald's first episode anchoring Weekend Update.
Brian Austin Green appeared in the "O.J. Simpson Trial" sketch.Bobby Bonilla, Jack McDowell, Lenny Dykstra, Mo Vaughn, and Roger Clemens appeared in the "Super Sports Tours" sketch.
|368||2||Marisa Tomei||Bonnie Raitt||October 1, 1994|
|Bonnie Raitt performed "Love Sneaking Up On You" and "Storm Warning."|
|369||3||John Travolta||Seal||October 15, 1994|
|David Lander and Steve Buscemi appeared in the "Welcome Back, Kotter" sketch and the "We Go Together" sketch.|
|370||4||Dana Carvey||Edie Brickell
|October 22, 1994|
Edie Brickell performed "Green" and "Tomorrow Comes."
George H. W. Bush made an appearance in the cold opening and monologue, critiquing Dana Carvey's impersonation of him.Paul Simon joined Edie Brickell for her first performance.
|371||5||Sarah Jessica Parker||R.E.M.||November 12, 1994|
|Bill Murray appears near the end of the episode to announce the death of former SNL writer, Michael O'Donoghue, and to replay one of his famous sketches, "The Soiled Kimono", which aired in SNL's third season.|
|372||6||John Turturro||Tom Petty||November 19, 1994|
Joey Buttafuoco appeared during the monologue.David Hasselhoff appeared during Weekend Update.
|373||7||Roseanne||Green Day||December 3, 1994|
|Rip Taylor appeared in the "Lock-Up" sketch.|
|374||8||Alec Baldwin||Beastie Boys||December 10, 1994|
|Christian Slater appeared during the "Celebrity Memorabilia Auction" sketch.|
|375||9||George Foreman||Hole||December 17, 1994|
|Michael Buffer appeared in the "Time Boxer" sketch.|
|376||10||Jeff Daniels||Luscious Jackson||January 14, 1995|
|377||11||David Hyde Pierce||Live||January 21, 1995|
|378||12||Bob Newhart||Des'ree||February 11, 1995|
|Suzanne Pleshette (as he did on the last episode of "Newhart") and tells her about his nightmare hosting SNL.|
|379||13||Deion Sanders||Bon Jovi
|February 18, 1995|
|Manute Bol appeared in the "1995 ESPY Awards" sketch.|
|380||14||George Clooney||The Cranberries||February 25, 1995|
Janeane Garofalo's final episode as a cast member.Molly Shannon's first episode as a cast member.
|381||15||Paul Reiser||Annie Lennox||March 18, 1995|
|Jay Mohr admitted that the "O'Callahan and Sons" sketch was plagiarized from comedian, Rick Shapiro.|
|382||16||John Goodman||The Tragically Hip||March 25, 1995|
Dan Aykroyd appears in the cold-open, the opening monologue, the "Bob Swerski's Super Fans" sketch, the "Late Late Show" sketch, the "Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern" sketch, the "Unsolved Mysteries" sketch, the "Coal Miners" sketch, and introduced The Tragically Hip.Brian Dennehy and George Wendt appear in the "Bob Swerski's Super Fans" sketch.
|383||17||Damon Wayans||Dionne Farris||April 8, 1995|
David Alan Grier appears during the "Men on Film" sketch.
Morwenna Banks's first episode as a cast member.Damon Wayans reprises his roles as Anton Jackson and Blaine Edwards from In Living Color.
|384||18||Courteney Cox||Dave Matthews Band||April 15, 1995|
|Dave Matthews Band performed "What Would You Say" and "Ants Marching."|
|385||19||Bob Saget||TLC||May 6, 1995|
|386||20||David Duchovny||Rod Stewart||May 13, 1995|
Michael Angarano appears during the opening monologue.
Naomi Campbell appears during the "You Think You're Better Than Me?" sketch.
Kevin Nealon, Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, Ellen Cleghorne, Morwenna Banks, Jay Mohr, Laura Kightlinger, Michael McKean and Chris Elliott's final episode as cast members.Final show of G.E. Smith with the Saturday Night Live Band and as co-musical director.
Stuart Saves His Family film
Stuart Saves His Family, a film based on the popular Stuart Smalley sketches, was released on April 12, 1995. Cast members Robin Duke, Al Franken and Julia Sweeney appear in the film. The film received modest reviews from critics but was a box office bomb. During the season, Franken performed a Stuart Smalley sketch that parodied the film's poor box office returns. Stuart was depressed and bitter throughout the entire segment, eating cookies and lambasting the audience for choosing other movies (such as Dumb and Dumber and anything Pauly Shore had out at the time) over his.