Saturday Night Live (season 31)
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|Saturday Night Live
The Saturday Night Live title card as seen in the opening credits of the 31st season.
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||19|
|Original run||October 1, 2005 – May 20, 2006|
Saturday Night Live aired its thirty-first season in the 2005-06 television season on NBC. The season began on October 1, 2005, and ended on May 20, 2006, with 19 episodes in all. The season was cut one episode short due to the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. A 30th anniversary special for the show was planned, but the plan was scrapped due to budget cuts.
Before the start of the season, featured player Rob Riggle was let go from the show. Finesse Mitchell and Kenan Thompson were both promoted to repertory status while Jason Sudeikis remained a featured player.
The show then added three new cast members to the show: Los Angeles-based sketch comedian Bill Hader, Andy Samberg (the show also hired his two friends Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone to the writing staff, all members of the The Lonely Island sketch group) and Kristen Wiig of The Groundlings. Wiig debuted on the show in November, in the episode hosted by Jason Lee. Samberg, Schaffer and Taccone would be a notable force for creating SNL Digital Shorts. One such short was "Lazy Sunday"; after it aired during the Jack Black episode it became an Internet phenomenon.
Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph missed a few episodes in this season due to both of them being pregnant and on maternity leave. Fey's place on Weekend Update was briefly taken over by Horatio Sanz until her return in the episode hosted by Catherine Zeta-Jones, making Sanz the first (and so far only) Hispanic Weekend Update anchor. Fey returned to the show before her maternity leave time was up. Maya Rudolph, however, appeared on the first episode of the new season, and then went on maternity leave and returned in February, in the episode hosted by Steve Martin.
This season is also notable for the people who hosted the show. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, an SNL cast member from 1982 to 1985 under Dick Ebersol, became the first former female cast member to come back and host the show (and also the third cast member from Seinfeld to host). It is worth noting that Gilda Radner was originally supposed to host in 1988, but could not due to the Writer's Guild of America Strike and then Radner's death the following year. This season is also known for the return of such frequent hosts as Alec Baldwin (who last hosted in season 29 with musical guest Missy Elliott in 2003), Tom Hanks (who last hosted the first episode of season 22 with musical guest Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1996), and Steve Martin (who last hosted the first episode of season 20 with musical guest, Eric Clapton in 1994).
This season also became the first to broadcast the show in high-definition, after thirty years of broadcasting in analog.
This would also be the final season for cast members Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, Finesse Mitchell, Chris Parnell and Horatio Sanz, as well as the last season for longtime director, Beth McCarthy-Miller. Dratch and Fey both left the show to focus on 30 Rock and McCarthy-Miller left the show on her own terms. Parnell, Mitchell, and Sanz, however, were let go after Lorne Michaels was given the choice to either cut back on episode production or get rid of long-standing and/or poor-performing cast members due to NBC budget cuts.
bold denotes Weekend Update anchor
|No.||#||Host(s)||Musical guest(s)||Original airdate|
|586||1||Steve Carell||Kanye West||October 1, 2005|
Bill Hader and Andy Samberg's first episode as cast members.
|587||2||Jon Heder||Ashlee Simpson||October 8, 2005|
|Ashlee Simpson performed "Catch Me When I Fall" and "Boyfriend".|
|588||3||Catherine Zeta-Jones||Franz Ferdinand||October 22, 2005|
At the end of Weekend Update, a still photo of former Jean Doumanian-era cast member and Weekend Update anchor Charles Rocket, who had committed suicide the week before this episode premiered, is shown in his memory.
Tina Fey returns to her anchoring duties on Weekend Update.Franz Ferdinand performs "Do You Want To" and "Take Me Out."
|589||4||Lance Armstrong||Sheryl Crow||October 29, 2005|
Chicago White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik made a guest appearance on Weekend Update shortly after his team swept the Houston Astros in the 2005 World Series.The musical guest, Sheryl Crow, Armstrong's then-fiancé, made an appearance in the monologue and in two sketches in addition to her two performances. Crow performed "Good Is Good" and "Strong Enough."
|590||5||Jason Lee||Foo Fighters||November 12, 2005|
Kristen Wiig's first episode as a cast member.Foo Fighters perform "DOA" and "Best of You".
|591||6||Eva Longoria||Korn||November 19, 2005|
|Korn performed "Twisted Transistor" and "Freak on a Leash."|
|592||7||Dane Cook||James Blunt||December 3, 2005|
|James Blunt performed "You're Beautiful" and "Goodbye My Lover."|
|593||8||Alec Baldwin||Shakira||December 10, 2005|
Tim Meadows made a guest appearance during the monologue.Chevy Chase and then-host Richard Pryor get into a word association that leads to the use of racial epithets, commemorating Pryor's death on the show's original airdate.
|594||9||Jack Black||Neil Young||December 17, 2005|
The Digital Short in this episode, Lazy Sunday, soon became a cult phenomenon through its exposure on the Internet.
Neil Young performed "It's a Dream" and "He Was the King;" Young also makes an appearance in the Appalachian Emergency Room sketch, which also features a cameo from Johnny Knoxville.
Tracy Morgan makes an appearance during Weekend Update.Darlene Love performed "White Christmas" with the SNL Band. She had provided vocals for TV Funhouse cartoon "Christmastime For The Jews". which aired right before this performance.
|595||10||Scarlett Johansson||Death Cab for Cutie||January 14, 2006|
An excerpt from the night's animated TV Funhouse sketch called "The 700 Gang" was used as the cold opening.Death Cab For Cutie performed "Soul Meets Body" and "Crooked Teeth".
|596||11||Peter Sarsgaard||The Strokes||January 21, 2006|
Drew Barrymore made a special appearance in the Weekend Update segment.
|597||12||Steve Martin||Prince||February 4, 2006|
|598||13||Natalie Portman||Fall Out Boy||March 4, 2006|
Dennis Haysbert made a live-action cameo during TV Funhouse.Fall Out Boy performs "Dance, Dance" and "Sugar, We're Goin Down."
|599||14||Matt Dillon||Arctic Monkeys||March 11, 2006|
|Arctic Monkeys perform "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and "A Certain Romance". During "A Certain Romance", lead singer Alex Turner – visibly frustrated with the audience reaction – pointed into the crowd and sang "That man just yawned!" to the music.|
|600||15||Antonio Banderas||Mary J. Blige||April 8, 2006|
Former cast member Chris Kattan makes a cameo during Weekend Update.Mary J. Blige performed "Be Without You" and "Enough Cryin."
|601||16||Lindsay Lohan||Pearl Jam||April 15, 2006|
Adult film star Savanna Samson makes an appearance in the TV Funhouse cartoon.Pearl Jam performed "World Wide Suicide" and "Severed Hand."
|602||17||Tom Hanks||Red Hot Chili Peppers||May 6, 2006|
|Red Hot Chili Peppers performed "Dani California" and "Give It Away."|
|603||18||Julia Louis-Dreyfus||Paul Simon||May 13, 2006|
Special cameos by Al Gore, Jason Alexander, and Jerry Seinfeld. Al Gore's cold opening was written by his daughter, former SNL staff writer Kristin Gore. Al Gore made two appearances during this episode, first giving a cold opening showing an alternate universe under President Al Gore (where Osama bin Laden is caught and gas prices are at their lowest) and later appeared in the weekend update making a debate against Amy Poehler about global warming being bad (Al Gore) or good (Amy Poehler).
Paul Simon performed "How Can You Live in the Northeast?" and "Outrageous".This episode marks Colin Jost's first appearance on the show. He will later be the anchor of Weekend Update in Season 39.
|604||19||Kevin Spacey||Nelly Furtado||May 20, 2006|
Tina Fey, Chris Parnell, Rachel Dratch, Horatio Sanz, and Finesse Mitchell's final episode as cast members, and Beth McCarthy Miller's last episode as director.
Tina Fey received a formal goodbye during Weekend Update, one of the few cast members to receive such an honour. She also wore a "Thank You" tee during the goodnights.Nelly Furtado performs "Promiscuous" and "Maneater", with Timbaland performing on the former.
|1||"The Best of David Spade"||October 15, 2005|
|The special featured some of the best material featuring David Spade during his stint on the show. Sketches include "Dick Clark's Receptionist", "Gap Girls", "Total Bastard Airlines", "Spade in America", "Stewart Release", "Salon", "Stunt Double", Sean Penn's Celebrity Roast", "Peer Pressure at Valley High", "Dirtball and Burnout Convention", "Karl's Video", "NCI Long Distance", "The Road to Self-Improvement", and "Hollywood Minute."|
|2||"The Best of SNL Commercial Parodies"||November 5, 2005|
|The special featured some of the best commercial parodies featured on the show.|
|3||"Lost & Found: SNL in the '80s"||November 13, 2005|
|Topics of the special include: the Jean Doumanian era as one of SNL's many critical and ratings low points, the cancellation, retooling, and reviving of SNL courtesy of Dick Ebersol and Doumanian-era stand-outs Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo, Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo emerging as the driving force behind Ebersol's 1981-1984 seasons, Ebersol picking a new cast for season 10 after the departure of Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo, Lorne Michaels returning to the show and hiring a young cast of semi-famous actors and actresses and the harsh critical response from that decision leading to yet another threat of cancellation, and the second golden age of SNL with season 11 survivors Nora Dunn, Al Franken, Jon Lovitz, A. Whitney Brown, and Dennis Miller and new cast members Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Victoria Jackson, Jan Hooks, Kevin Nealon, and Mike Myers. James Belushi, A. Whitney Brown, Dana Carvey, Billy Crystal, Denny Dillon, Robin Duke, Nora Dunn, Dick Ebersol, Al Franken, Gilbert Gottfried, Mary Gross, Victoria Jackson, Tim Kazurinsky, Gary Kroeger, Neil Levy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jon Lovitz, Gail Matthius, Lorne Michaels, Kevin Nealon, Conan O'Brien, Joe Piscopo, Martin Short, Robert Smigel, Terry Sweeney and Bob Tischler gave insight for the special.|
|4||"The Best of TV Funhouse"||April 29, 2006|
|The special featured some of the best TV Funhouse material featured on the show. The special was hosted by The Ambiguously Gay Duo, Ace and Gary, making it the first time that cartoon characters have hosted SNL. Jimmy Fallon cameos near the end of the show. Sketches include "The Ambiguously Gay Duo", "The All-New Adventures of Mr. T", "Fun With Real Audio", "E! Cartoons' The Smurfette Show", "The X-Presidents", "The Religetables" (DVD version only), and the banned sketch "Conspiracy Theory Rock" (DVD version only).|
- Silverman, Stephen (2005-10-17). "Ex-SNL Star Charles Rocket Commits Suicide". People. Time Inc. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
- Starr, Michael (2005-10-18). "R.I.P. CHARLIE ROCKET – TRAGIC END FOR ‘SNL’ COMIC 25 YEARS AFTER F-BOMB". New York Post. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
- Kaplan, Don (2005-04-27). "‘SNL’ GOES HIGH-DEF". New York Post. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
- That Man Just Yawned! (Alex Turner) on YouTube