Saturday Night Live (season 4)

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Saturday Night Live (season 4)
The title card for the fourth season of Saturday Night Live.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 20
Original channel NBC
Original release October 7, 1978 (1978-10-07) – May 26, 1979 (1979-05-26)
Season chronology
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List of Saturday Night Live episodes

The fourth season of Saturday Night Live, an American sketch comedy series, originally aired in the United States on NBC between October 7, 1978, and May 26, 1979.

The entire cast from the previous season returned. This would be the final season for Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Aykroyd and Belushi left to work on the film The Blues Brothers.

The season four DVD was released on December 2, 2008.


Repertory cast members
Featured cast members

bold denotes Weekend Update anchor


Walter Williams, creator of the Mr. Bill shorts, joined the writing staff.

This season's writers were Dan Aykroyd, Anne Beatts, Tom Davis, Jim Downey, Brian Doyle-Murray, Al Franken, Brian McConnachie, Lorne Michaels, Don Novello, Herb Sargent, Tom Schiller, Rosie Shuster, Walter Williams and Alan Zweibel. The head writer was Herb Sargent.


Saturday Night Live season 4 episodes
No. # Host(s) Musical guest(s) Original airdate
67 1 The Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones October 7, 1978

The monologue is delivered by the then-Mayor of New York City Ed Koch.

Bill Murray replaces Dan Aykroyd as co-anchor of Weekend Update.

The episode features a "Schiller's Reel" film called "Sushi by the Pool", featuring Desi Arnaz, Jr., Carrie Fisher, and Steven Keats with special guest Hal Holbrook.

The Rolling Stones perform "Beast of Burden", "Respectable" and "Shattered"— all from the June 1978 album Some Girls.

Two sketches feature Rolling Stones members: the Tomorrow Show parody, in which Tom Snyder (Dan Aykroyd) interviews Mick Jagger, and the Olympia Cafe sketch, which features Ron Wood and Charlie Watts.
68 2 Fred Willard Devo October 14, 1978
Devo performs two songs from its July 1978 debut album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!: a cover of the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", and "Jocko Homo"; the performance of the latter is preceded by an excerpt from the band's short film, The Truth About De-Evolution.
69 3 Frank Zappa Frank Zappa October 21, 1978

Frank Zappa was unpopular with the cast and crew through both rehearsals and taping of the episode, possibly in part due to the fact that their lax views on drug and alcohol consumption did not mesh with his anti-drug stance.[1] This is highlighted in the sketch "Night on Freak Mountain", which also features Paul Shaffer as Don Kirshner. Throughout the episode, he regularly mugs for the camera and frequently notes to the audience that he is reading from cue cards. At the end, the entire cast except Belushi is standing as far as possible from Zappa as they could get and remain on camera.[1]

Zappa and his band perform "Dancin' Fool" from the 1979's Sheik Yerbouti, "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing" from 1981's You Are What You Is, and the instrumental "Rollo", which had been cut from 1973's Apostrophe (') and would remain unreleased until 2006's Imaginary Diseases.[1]

During Zappa's performance of "Rollo", John Belushi, in character as Samurai Futaba, briefly appears on stage with the group.[1] Singing into a microphone duct taped to the body of an electric guitar, Belushi carries out a call and response bit with Zappa's band.
70 4 Steve Martin Van Morrison November 4, 1978

Van Morrison performs two songs from his September 1978 release Wavelength: the title track and "Kingdom Hall".[2]

The last sketch is cut short for unexplained reasons. When the show closes, Steve announces there were technical problems and that the sketch would resume the next time he hosted.
71 5 Buck Henry Grateful Dead November 11, 1978

"Samurai Optometrist" sketch.

First appearance of "Uncle Roy" sketch.

The Grateful Dead play "Casey Jones" and "I Need a Miracle/Good Lovin'" medley.

John Belushi as Elizabeth Taylor chokes on chicken.

First appearance of "Chico Escuela."
72 6 Carrie Fisher The Blues Brothers November 18, 1978

The Blues Brothers open the show with "Soul Man."

An appearance by Father Guido Sarducci.
73 7 Walter Matthau (none) December 2, 1978
There is no billed musical guest for this episode. At host Matthau's request, Garrett Morris performs Mozart's "Dalla sua pace" ("On her peace"), an aria from Don Giovanni.
74 8 Eric Idle Kate Bush December 9, 1978

Kate Bush (in her only US appearance to date) performs "The Man with the Child in His Eyes" and "Them Heavy People."

The sketch "What Do You?", written by Idle, originally appeared on Monty Python's Previous Record.

Candy Slice performs.
75 9 Elliott Gould Peter Tosh with Mick Jagger December 16, 1978

Elliott Gould and Garrett Morris sing "It's Christmas Time in Harlem" during the opening monologue, accompanied by Paul Shaffer.

"Mommie Dearest" sketch.

"Point/Counterpoint" regarding relations with China.

The comedy team of "Bob and Ray."
76 10 Michael Palin The Doobie Brothers January 27, 1979

Michael Palin reprises his sleazy music teacher character Mr. Brighton for another sketch with the Nerds.

The Doobie Brothers performs "What a Fool Believes" and "Takin' It to the Streets."

Dickens's "Miles Cowperthwaite", Part 1.

Mr Bill Goes to Court.
77 11 Cicely Tyson Talking Heads February 10, 1979
Talking Heads perform "Take Me to the River" and "Artists Only" from their album More Songs About Buildings and Food.[3]
78 12 Ricky Nelson Judy Collins February 17, 1979

Nelson performs a medley of his classic hits from the 1950s, Hello Mary Lou, Travelin Man and Fools Rush In for the monologue. He later performs his version of Dream Lover.

Judy Collins performs Hard Times for Lovers.

Twilight Zone sketch featuring classic TV shows Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, Make Room for Daddy and I Love Lucy.

Candy Slice performs in Rock Against Yeast with Paul Shaffer playing Don Kirshner and the drummer of her band.
79 13 Kate Jackson Delbert McClinton February 24, 1979

A running gag throughout the show is Fred Silverman trying to sabotage NBC's line-up.

Brian Doyle-Murray is one of the people taking a tour during the opening monologue.

Kate Jackson plays a nurse who Bill Murray falls for in a sketch involving the Nerds.

Andy Kaufman plays the bongos and yodels.

"Bad Cabarat for Children" with Leonard Pinth-Garnell.

Mr. Bill Goes on a Diet.
80 14 Gary Busey Eubie Blake & Gregory Hines
Gary Busey with Rick Danko & Paul Butterfield
March 10, 1979

Brian Doyle-Murray is one of Belushi's sycophants during the cold open and also appears as an audience member with a question in "Women's Problems."

Paul Shaffer plays the bass in Busey's rock-n-roll band in the 1950s sketch.

Bill Murray stars in the Tom Schiller short, "Perchance to Dream."

Busey's band performs "Stay a Little Longer."
81 15 Margot Kidder The Chieftains March 17, 1979

Lorne Michaels and the production staff appear with Margot and Gilda in the opening monologue.

"Point/Counterpoint" regarding Lee Marvin's palimony case.

Mr Bill hides from Mr Hands.
82 16 Richard Benjamin Rickie Lee Jones April 7, 1979

In the cold open, Belushi is sick and is replaced by an actor from NBC's replacement pool.

Rodney Dangerfield, Tom Davis, Al Franken, and Brian Doyle-Murray make cameo appearances in The China Syndrome parody ("The Pepsi Syndrome").

One of the most popular sketches involving the Nerds where Todd and Lisa finally kiss.

Chico Escuela tries for a comeback with the Mets with cameos from several Mets players.
83 17 Milton Berle Ornette Coleman April 14, 1979

During rehearsals, Berle displayed his "legendary" large genitalia to writer Alan Zweibel in a dressing room.[4] Gilda Radner walked into the room while his penis was still out.[5]

Berle's long opening monologue featured bits from his nightclub stand-up routine that did not mesh with the younger audience, including jokes about women, "Arabs", homosexuals, George Burns, and retirees in Miami Beach.[5][6] After about five minutes, an off-stage Bill Murray dropped a large pipe, making a loud noise and disrupting the comedian's routine.[7] Shortly after, Berle was told by a producer at the foot of the stage that the monologue was over, which he responded incredulously to and briefly contested.[5] During the audience's applause while transitioning to commercial, he can be seen angrily yelling while the house band looks on nervously.[6]

While on-air, Berle frequently mugged for the audience, did spit-takes, and ad-libbed straight to the camera.[5]

At the end of the show, Berle broke into a "dreary version" of the 1950s standard "September Song" and according to Lorne Michaels, loaded the audience with friends and family members who awarded his performance of the tune with a standing ovation.[5] Michaels told Wilson immediately afterwards that this show was the worst ever; he kept it from appearing in syndicated reruns later.[8]
84 18 Michael Palin James Taylor May 12, 1979

The opening monologue features a song by Taylor, the first of three in the show.

Dickens's "Miles Cowperthwaite", Part 2.

Mr Bill Runs Away From Home.
85 19 Maureen Stapleton Linda Ronstadt
Phoebe Snow
May 19, 1979

"Point/Counterpoint" regarding nuclear energy.

Mr Bill Goes to the Movies.

Linda Ronstadt and Phoebe Snow perform duets of "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" and "The Married Men."
86 20 Buck Henry Bette Midler May 26, 1979

Mr Bill opens the show with "Live from New York...", but Jane Curtin interrupts the opening credits. John Belushi then opens the show, much to Jane's displeasure.

The final appearance of Samurai Futaba and Olympia Cafe sketches.

Bette Midler performs "Married Men" and "Martha" from her Thighs and Whispers album with The Harlettes (Katey Sagal and Jocelyn Brown) and Luther Vandross as backup singers.

"Schiller's Reel" film called "Clones Exist Now."

Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi's final episode as cast members.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Saturday Night Live > Season 4 > Episode 3 : Frank Zappa". October 21, 1978. 
  2. ^ "Saturday Night Live > Season 4 > Episode 4 : Steve Martin/Van Morrison". November 4, 1978. 
  3. ^ "Season 4: Episode 11". Saturday Night Live Transcripts. February 10, 1979. 
  4. ^ "The 40 Best Celebrity Rumors Ever". Nerve. December 12, 2006. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Kovalchik, Kara (July 9, 2008). "5 Awful Saturday Night Live Hosts of the '70s". Mental Floss. 
  6. ^ a b "Season 4: Episode 17, 78q: Milton Berle / Ornette Coleman". Saturday Night Live Transcripts. 
  7. ^ Trivia for Saturday Night Live Milton Berle/Ornette Coleman (1979) at the Internet Movie Database
  8. ^ Hill, Doug; Weingrad, Jeff (2011). "33: Off the Air". Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live. Untreed Reads. ISBN 9781611872187. Retrieved May 1, 2015.