Saturday Night Live (season 5)

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Saturday Night Live Season 5
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 20
Original channel NBC
Original run October 13, 1979 – May 24, 1980
Season chronology
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List of Saturday Night Live episodes

Saturday Night Live aired its fifth season during the 1979–1980 television season on NBC, and also the final season with the original cast. This fifth season started on October 13, 1979 and ended on May 24, 1980. SNL's fifth season was released on DVD on December 1, 2009.

John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd left the show at the end of the fourth season, leaving a void in the cast that most fans thought would be the beginning of the end of the late-night sketch show.

To keep the show going, Lorne Michaels upgraded many of the show's writers to cast member status: Peter Aykroyd (Dan's brother), Jim Downey, Brian Doyle-Murray (Bill's brother), Don Novello, Tom Schiller and Alan Zweibel. Band leader Paul Shaffer also joined the cast, becoming the first person from the SNL band to become a cast member. Harry Shearer joined the show as a featured cast member and was promoted to repertory status during the season.

This season was also the first two have two members of the same family as cast members (Bill Murray and Brian Doyle-Murray).

This would be the final season for everyone in the cast. Tom Davis and Downey would return to the show in future seasons as writers. Al Franken, Doyle-Murray, Novello, and Shearer would rejoin the cast in future seasons (Franken would also return as a writer).


bold denotes Weekend Update anchor


As previously mentioned, Michaels upgraded many of the show's writers to cast member status, including Aykroyd, Downey, Doyle-Murray, Novello, Schiller and Zweibel. Doyle-Murray would be the only one to return, as a writer, in the following season.

This season's writers were Peter Aykroyd, Anne Beatts, Tom Davis, Jim Downey, Brian Doyle-Murray, Al Franken, Tom Gammill, Lorne Michaels, Matt Neuman, Don Novello, Sarah Paley, Max Pross, Herb Sargent, Tom Schiller, Harry Shearer, Rosie Shuster and Alan Zweibel. The head writer was Herb Sargent.


Saturday Night Live season 5 episodes
No. # Host(s) Musical guest(s) Original airdate
87 1 Steve Martin Blondie October 13, 1979

Blondie performs "Dreaming" and "The Hardest Part."

Harry Shearer, Jim Downey, Don Novello and Paul Shaffer's first episode as cast members.

Buck Henry appears in the "Rise" commercial parody with Steve Martin.

Father Guido Sarducci appears during Weekend Update and announces the start of the "Find the Popes in the Pizza" contest, where the viewer would try to find all the hidden popes within the picture.
88 2 Eric Idle Bob Dylan October 20, 1979

Buck Henry appears in the cold opening.

Bob Dylan performs "Gotta Serve Somebody," "I Believe in You," and "When You Gonna Wake Up."
89 3 Bill Russell Chicago November 3, 1979
Chicago performs "Street Player" and a cover of The Spencer Davis Group's "I'm a Man."
90 4 Buck Henry Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers November 10, 1979

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers performs "Refugee" and "Don't Do Me Like That."

The winner of the "Find the Popes in the Pizza" contest is announced by Father Guido Sarducci on Weekend Update.
91 5 Bea Arthur The Roches November 17, 1979

Peter Aykroyd's first episode as a cast member.

The Roches performs "Bobby's Song" (from the band's second album Nurds) and "The Hallelujah Chorus," from its third album Keep On Doing.
92 6 Howard Hesseman Randy Newman December 8, 1979
Al Franken debuts "Al Franken Decade" sketch on Weekend Update.
93 7 Martin Sheen David Bowie December 15, 1979

David Bowie performs "The Man Who Sold the World", "TVC 15" and "Boys Keep Swinging."

Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias make guest appearances; singing backup for Bowie.

Brian Doyle-Murray, Alan Zweibel and Tom Schiller's first episode as cast members.
94 8 Ted Knight Desmond Child & Rouge December 22, 1979

Andy Kaufman mat-wrestles a woman on stage, stating that if he loses he would shave his head bald on SNL. Kaufman wins the match. Wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers appears as Andy's manager.

G.E. Smith plays backup guitar for Desmond Child & Rouge.
95 9 Teri Garr The B-52's January 26, 1980

The B-52's performs "Rock Lobster" and "Dance This Mess Around."

Congressman and 1980 Republican Presidential candidate John B. Anderson has a cameo in a sketch.
96 10 Chevy Chase Marianne Faithfull
Chevy Chase
February 9, 1980

Harry Shearer's first introduction as a member of the main cast rather than as a featured performer.

In his monologue, Chase discusses the altercation he had with Bill Murray during his previous hosting experience in season three and invites Murray onstage to make peace and sing a duet.

Bert Convy appears as the mystery guest on the "You Can't Win" sketch.

Marianne Faithfull performs "Broken English" and "Guilt."

Chevy Chase performs "Sixteen Tons."
97 11 Elliott Gould Gary Numan February 16, 1980

Gary Numan performs "Cars" and "Praying to the Aliens."

This episode features a running gag where Father Guido Sarducci attempts to interview former President Richard Nixon in New York. He only manages to get a very brief appearance at the very end of the show after the credits roll.

Sketches include a Wizard of Oz parody called "The Incredible Man."
98 12 Kirk Douglas Sam & Dave February 23, 1980
Sam and Dave performs "You Don't Know Like I Know" and "Soul Man."
99 13 Rodney Dangerfield The J. Geils Band March 8, 1980
Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow appear on the Celebrity Corner on Weekend Update.
100 14 (none) James Taylor
Paul Simon
David Sanborn
March 15, 1980

The show celebrates its 100th episode without a guest host.

John Belushi and Michael O'Donoghue make appearances in the cold opening. Belushi also appears in the sketch, "The Minstrels of Newcastle."

Bill Murray's monologue features a musical tribute to New York City.

U.S. New York Senator Daniel P. Moynihan appears in two sketches.

Ralph Nader appears on "Weekend Update."

Michael Palin makes a guest appearance in the sketch "Talk or Die."

Paul Simon and James Taylor perform "Cathy's Clown", "Sunny Skies", and "Take Me to the Mardi Gras."

David Sanborn performs "Anything You Want."
101 15 Richard Benjamin
Paula Prentiss
The Grateful Dead April 5, 1980
The Grateful Dead performs "Alabama Getaway" and "Saint of Circumstance."
102 16 Burt Reynolds Anne Murray April 12, 1980
The episode features a sketch where a man in ancient Rome (Burt Reynolds) tries to pick up women at a vomitorium.
103 17 Strother Martin The Specials April 19, 1980

The Specials perform "Gangsters" and "Too Much Too Young"

This was Strother Martin's final television appearance before his death in August 1980.
104 18 Bob Newhart Amazing Rhythm Aces with Bill Murray
Bruce Cockburn
May 10, 1980
Al Franken does a "Limo For A Lame-O" commentary during Weekend Update.
105 19 Steve Martin 3-D
Paul McCartney
Linda McCartney
May 17, 1980

The episode features the world premiere of McCartney's then-current single "Coming Up" music video.

3-D performs "All-Night Television."

Father Guido Sarducci tries to interview Paul and Linda McCartney in London.
106 20 Buck Henry Andrew Gold
Andrae Crouch & the Voices of Unity
May 24, 1980

Andrew Gold performs "Kiss This One Goodbye."

Andrae Crouch & the Voices of Unity perform "Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus."

Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Garrett Morris, Peter Aykroyd, Tom Davis, Jim Downey, Tom Schiller, Paul Shaffer and Alan Zweibel's final episode as cast members.

Final appearance of Harry Shearer as a cast member until the 10th season, of Al Franken until the 11th season, of Brian Doyle-Murray until the 7th season, and of Don Novello until the 11th season.

Note: Lorne Michaels's final episode as executive producer until season 11

The Blues Brothers film[edit]

The Blues Brothers, a film based on the popular Joliet and Elwood Blues characters, was released on June 20, 1980. Cast members Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi appear in the film. The film received positive reviews and was commercially successful.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "The SNL Archives 1979". Retrieved 27 July 2012.