Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced 1976–1977

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The following is a list of recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced between September 18, 1976, and May 21, 1977, the second season of SNL.

Mr. Mike's Least-Loved Bedtime Tales[edit]

Michael O'Donoghue would tell children's bedtime stories with increasingly horrific, nightmarish twists. Debuted October 30, 1976.

Consumer Probe / On The Spot[edit]

In each appearance of this sketch, the moderator of the show would interrogate toy maker Irwin Mainway, played by Dan Aykroyd, while he defended his company's extremely dangerous products aimed at children. Toys included "Bag O' Glass", "Bag O' Vipers", "Bag O' Sulfuric Acid", "Mr. Skin Grafter", "Pretty Peggy's Ear Piercing Kit", "Doggy Dentist", "General Tranh's Secret Police Confession Kit", "Johnny Switchblade Adventure Punk", and "Teddy Chainsaw Bear". Halloween costumes included: a military outfit that included an actual working rifle ("very popular in Texas and Detroit!"); an entirely black and non-reflective uniform called "Invisible Pedestrian" (which had a warning on the package that read "NOT FOR BLIND KIDS"); an airtight plastic bag that was to be affixed over the head with a rubber band called "Johnny Space Commander Mask"; and an oil-soaked costume called "Johnny Human Torch", which came complete with an oversized lighter.

The first host of "Consumer Probe" was Candice Bergen (her character had no name), and then in four subsequent episodes, "Consumer Probe" (twice entitled "On The Spot") was hosted by Joan Face. Debuted December 11, 1976.

Season Episode Host Title
2 December 11, 1976 Candice Bergen Christmas Toys
3 October 29, 1977 Charles Grodin Halloween Costumes
4 October 14, 1978 Fred Willard School Lunches
4 December 9, 1978 Eric Idle Fashion Line
4 April 14, 1979 Milton Berle Amusement Park Rides


The sketch was named the 8th best sketch by The 50 Best Sketches of All Time by the third highest ranking sketch on Saturday Night Live after Coneheads at Home and Samurai Hotel.[1]

Irwin Mainway[edit]

A Dan Aykroyd character, this maker of dangerous toys was repeatedly interrogated by the hosts of "Consumer Probe" and "On The Spot" during seasons two, three, and four.

Aykroyd would later appear as Mainway on an episode of the 90s sketch Bill Swerski's Superfans, presenting Michael Jordan merchandising which was also dangerous. Mainway was revealed in this sketch to be a cousin of Todd O'Conner, Chris Farley's character. He would also appear in a Judge Judy sketch.


Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, and Laraine Newman are a family of aliens stranded on Earth. Debuted January 15, 1977.

Season Episode Host Title
2 January 15, 1977 Ralph Nader The Coneheads at Home
2 February 26, 1977 Steve Martin The Coneheads at Home
2 March 26, 1977 Jack Burns The Farbers Meet The Coneheads
2 April 16, 1977 Elliott Gould The Coneheads At Home
2 May 21, 1977 Buck Henry Return Of The Coneheads
3 October 29, 1977 Charles Grodin Return Of The Coneheads
3 January 21, 1978 Steve Martin Family Feud
3 March 18, 1978 Jill Clayburgh The Coneheads On Earth
3 May 13, 1978 Richard Dreyfuss Cone Encounters Of The Third Kind
4 October 21, 1978 Frank Zappa The Coneheads At Home
4 February 24, 1979 Kate Jackson The Coneheads At The Movies

E. Buzz Miller and Christie Christina[edit]

Sleazy public-access television cable TV host E. Buzz Miller (Dan Aykroyd) made crude and lascivious remarks about otherwise commonplace subjects (such as fine art or exercise) to which his ditzy co-host Miss Christie Christina (Laraine Newman) would giggle and make obtuse responses. Debuted January 22, 1977.

Christie appeared once outside the cable TV show, in the Season 5, Episode 15 sketch "Assertiveness Training".

Rhonda Weiss[edit]

A Gilda Radner character from Long Island, coined as the "Jewish-American Princess". Debuted January 29, 1977.

Leonard Pinth-Garnell, host of "Bad Performances"[edit]

Leonard Pinth-Garnell was a recurring character played by Dan Aykroyd. Pinth-Garnell, always clad in a tuxedo and black tie, would lugubriously introduce a short performance of "Bad Conceptual Theater", "Bad Playhouse", "Bad Cinema", "Bad Opera", "Bad Ballet", "Bad Red Chinese Ballet", or "Bad Cabaret for Children", and then exult in its sheer awfulness. Aykroyd played the character nine times from 1977 through 1979, and returned for a single appearance on November 3, 2001, introducing "Bad Conceptual Theater." (The show was hosted at least one time by Laraine Newman as Lady Pinth-Garnell.) Debuted March 12, 1977.

Pinth-Garnell was loosely based on the longtime PBS Masterpiece Theatre host Alistair Cooke.

Memorable quotes[edit]

  • "Stunningly bad!"
  • "Monumentally ill-advised!"
  • "Perfectly awful!"
  • "Couldn't be worse!"
  • "Exquisitely awful!"
  • "Astonishingly ill-chosen!"
  • "Really bit the big one!"
  • "Unrelentingly bad!"
  • "Rally socks!"
  • "There... That wasn't so good now, was it?"

Episodes featuring Leonard Pinth-Garnell [2][edit]

Season Episode Host Notes
2 March 12, 1977 Sissy Spacek Bad Playhouse
2 April 9, 1977 Julian Bond Bad Cinema
2 May 14, 1977 Shelley Duvall Bad Ballet
3 October 8, 1977 Madeline Kahn Bad Opera
3 December 10, 1977 Mary Kay Place Bad Musical
3 March 18, 1978 Jill Clayburgh Bad One-Man Theater
3 May 20, 1978 Buck Henry Bad Conceptual Art
4 November 18, 1978 Carrie Fisher Bad Red Chinese Ballet
4 February 24, 1979 Kate Jackson Bad Cabaret for Children
5 January 26, 1980 Teri Garr Bad Playhouse (hosted by Lady Pinth-Garnell)
27 November 3, 2001 John Goodman Bad Conceptual Theater

Nick The Lounge Singer[edit]

Nick The Lounge Singer was one of Bill Murray's most popular recurring characters during his tenure on SNL. The character was a typical 1970s lounge singer who sang current songs in a drawn-out, schmaltzy manner, and was typically accompanied by Paul Shaffer on piano. Nick always had a different 'seasonal' last name (i.e. Nick Summers, Nick Springs, etc.) or sometimes a surname more specific to the sketch (for instance, if he were performing at a prison, he would be "Nick Slammer") and, although he would perform at such unfortunate gigs as airport bars and dives, he would always sing his heart out. He would often take the popular songs of the time and change some of the lyrics to suit the occasion or the setting. In between songs, Nick would schmooze and joke with the audience, chiding them in a harmless showbiz fashion. In one episode, he spotted Linda Ronstadt (that episode's musical guest) in the audience and proceeded to sing a very uncomfortable and unamused Ronstadt a medley of her hits until her bodyguard (played by John Belushi) finally punches him.

In probably his most famous appearance, he sang the theme from Star Wars, adding his own lyrics ("Star Wars/Nothing but Star Wars/Give me those Star Wars/Don't let them end!") to the famous John Williams piece.

Nearly two decades after Nick debuted on SNL, a recurring skit called The Culp Family Musical Performances featuring Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer would gain popularity using the same basic format.

Season Episode Host Notes
2 April 16, 1977 Elliott Gould Nick Summers at Breezy Point Lodge
3 January 28, 1978 Robert Klein Nick Winters at the Powder Room
3 May 13, 1978 Richard Dreyfuss Nick Springs at the Honeymoon Room
4 November 11, 1978 Buck Henry Nick Sands on the Strip North
4 February 10, 1979 Cicely Tyson Nick Rails on the Auto Train
4 May 19, 1979 Maureen Stapleton Nick Wings at TransEastern
5 November 3, 1979 Bill Russell Nick Borealis in the Arctic
5 February 23, 1980 Kirk Douglas Nick Collins at Greg's Bar Mitzvah
5 May 24, 1980 Buck Henry Nick Lava at Trader Nick's
6 March 7, 1981 Bill Murray Nick Rivers on the Mississippi
12 March 21, 1987 Bill Murray Nick Slammer in Prison

Additional Appearances[edit]

  • Nick at the Casino September 26, 1999 (25th Anniversary Special)
  • Nick sings "Jaws" February 15, 2015 (40th Anniversary Special)

Debbie Doody[edit]

Debbie Doody, played by Gilda Radner, is the widow of Howdy Doody, complete with strings attached to her arms. Debuted April 16, 1977.

Shower Mike with Richard Herkiman[edit]

Bill Murray plays Richard Herkiman, who at first appears to be taking his routine morning shower and imagining he is hosting a TV talk show. It soon becomes apparent that the TV program is real, as his TV "guests" enter the shower with him fully clothed. Debuted May 21, 1977.


Preceded by
Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced 1975–1976
Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches (listed chronologically) Succeeded by
Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced 1977–1978