Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced 1975–1976
- 1 Weekend Update
- 2 The Killer Bees
- 3 The Land of Gorch
- 4 Land Shark
- 5 Sherry
- 6 Minute Mystery with Mike Mendoza
- 7 Looks at Books
- 8 Emily Litella
- 9 Saturday Night Live Samurai (Samurai Futaba)
- 10 Mel's Char Palace
- 11 Steve Bushakis
- 12 H & L Brock
- 13 The Mr. Bill Show
- 14 Tomorrow
- 15 Baba Wawa
- 16 Colleen Fernman
- 17 Bobbi Farber
- 18 References
A satirical news segment starring Chevy Chase debuted October 11, 1975. It is the longest running recurring sketch in the show's history. Like the show itself, it has seen many changes over the years and has a revolving door of anchors, including Bill Murray, Jane Curtin, Dan Aykroyd, Charles Rocket, Gail Matthius, Brian Doyle-Murray, Mary Gross, Christine Ebersole, Brad Hall, Christopher Guest, Dennis Miller, Kevin Nealon, Norm Macdonald, Colin Quinn, Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers, Cecily Strong, Colin Jost, and Michael Che.
The Killer Bees
The Killer Bees were the first characters to recur on SNL. According to a Lorne Michaels interview for the book Live from New York, "The only note we got from the network on the first show was 'Cut the bees.' And so I made sure I put them in the next show." The bees were played by all the repertory players at the time, who wore yellow and black horizontal stripes, wings, and springy antennas. Much of the humor from these scenes came out of puns or metaphors that had to do with well-known activities and body parts of bees.
The bees were a staple of the first season, appearing 11 times. However, the cast and crew quickly tired of them, and the Bees only appeared three more times during the original cast's five-year tenure.
Episodes featuring full sketches of The Killer Bees
|1||October 11, 1975||George Carlin||"Bee Hospital"|
|1||October 25, 1975||Rob Reiner||"Bees Dramatic Scene"|
|1||November 15, 1975||Robert Klein||"Bee Centennial Minute"|
|1||December 20, 1975||Candice Bergen||"Bee Capades"|
|1||January 10, 1976||Elliott Gould||"The Killer Bees"|
|1||February 14, 1976||Peter Boyle||"Bee Wrestling"|
|1||April 24, 1976||Raquel Welch||"One Flew Over the Hornet's Nest"|
|1||May 29, 1976||Elliott Gould||"The Honeymooners"|
|2||October 2, 1976||Eric Idle||"The Killer Bees"|
|2||November 13, 1976||Dick Cavett||"Grandparent Bees"|
|2||November 27, 1976||Jodie Foster||"Peter Pan Bees"|
|3||October 29, 1977||Charles Grodin||"The Killer Bees"|
|4||December 2, 1978||Walter Matthau||"Bad News Bees"|
Additional appearances of The Killer Bees
- October 18, 1975: In a brief appearance, the bees emerge after a performance by Randy Newman and host Paul Simon tells them that their sketch has been cut (surprising the actual performers).
- November 8, 1975: John Belushi appears as a lone bee in host Candice Bergen's monologue.
- November 22, 1975: Lily Tomlin, and members of the cast perform a "Bee Scat".
- January 17, 1976 "The Blues Bees": John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, in their first appearance as The Blues Brothers, perform "I'm a King Bee" dressed in bee outfits.
- January 24, 1976 "No Bees In This Show": Scred, one of Jim Henson's Muppets, wants to be in the show because he came dressed as a bee, and can perform the popular quirks of the cast's characters.
- March 13, 1976 "Sherry's Bee": Laraine Newman's recurring character, Sherry, is unhappy that her professor (host Anthony Perkins) has given her a grade of B on her last assignment, and as a result she is paired with a literal bee (John Belushi). At the end, the professor gives Sherry a B+, the plus represented by giving a young child dressed as a bee to Belushi.
- May 14, 1977: Shelley Duvall announces that the planned bee sketch with her and Belushi will be cut so that NBC can replay the recent Duane Bobick–Ken Norton heavyweight boxing match.
- January 28, 1978: John Belushi, out-of-character but dressed in his bee costume, interrupts a scene between Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman after word gets out that a "giant lobster" is attacking New York (piggybacking onto an earlier Weekend Update joke).
- December 17, 2011: Jimmy Fallon wears one of the bee costumes during the show's goodnights.
The Land of Gorch
The Land of Gorch was a puppet sketch starring Jim Henson's Muppets. Lorne Michaels described the characters as the type of Muppets that can stay up late. Debuted October 11, 1975. The sketch stars King Ploobis (performed by Jim Henson), Queen Peuta (performed by Alice Tweedie), Scred (performed by Jerry Nelson), Vazh (performed by Fran Brill), Wisss (performed by Richard Hunt), and their statue deity the Mighty Favog (performed by Frank Oz) who reside on an alien planet.
Chevy Chase plays a shark attempting to lure his way into a victim's home. Debuted November 8, 1975.
Laraine Newman plays Sherry, a stereotypical naive valley girl. Debuted November 15, 1975. Newman would reprise the role in the 40th anniversary special as part of The Californians sketch in 2015, in which she played Karina's mother, who like Sherry, also spoke valley girl-esque.
Minute Mystery with Mike Mendoza
Dan Aykroyd is a crime scene photographer who gives the audience a list of clues and 60 seconds to solve a mystery. Debuted November 15, 1975.
Looks at Books
A Talk Show sketch hosted by Jane Curtin interviewing profound authors. Debuted November 15, 1975
Emily Litella was an elderly woman with a hearing problem, played by Gilda Radner in the late 1970s. She would frequently rant about topics about which she had misread or misheard, such as "Violins on Television," "Canker Research," "Endangered Feces," or "Presidential Erections." (To satisfy the censors at the time, Litella was made to explicitly state that she was referring to erecting statues of presidents.) Her catchphrase was "Never mind!", said after she was informed of her mistake.
|1||December 13, 1975||Richard Pryor||Litella reports on "Busting (Bussing) Schoolchildren"|
|1||December 20, 1975||Candice Bergen||Litella reports "Firing (Hiring) the Handicapped"|
|1||January 24, 1976||Peter Cook & Dudley Moore||Litella reports on "Saving Soviet Jewelry (Jewry)"|
|1||January 31, 1976||Dick Cavett||Litella reports on the "Eagle (Equal) Rights Amendment"|
|1||February 14, 1976||Peter Boyle||Litella reports on "Canker (Cancer) Research"|
|1||February 28, 1976||Jill Clayburgh||Litella reports on the "Deaf (Death) Penalty"|
|1||March 13, 1976||Anthony Perkins||Litella calls in to give her thoughts on preserving "Natural Race Horses (resources)"|
|1||April 17, 1976||Ron Nessen||Litella reports on the "Presidential Erection (Election)|
|1||May 8, 1976||Madeline Kahn||Litella reports on "Violins (Violence) on Television"|
|1||May 29, 1976||Elliott Gould||News for Fans of Emily Litella get to hear the flop (top) story|
|2||September 18, 1976||Lily Tomlin||Litella calls to give her thoughts on "Five Crustaceans (Croations) that Hijacked an Airplane"|
|2||December 11, 1976||Candice Bergen||Litella gets a chance to report on "Collecting Money for Unisex (UNICEF)"|
|2||January 15, 1977||Ralph Nader||As an official correspondent, Litella reports on "Making Puerto Rico a Steak (State)"|
|2||January 22, 1977||Ruth Gordon||After brainstorming with her sister Essie (Gordon) earlier, Litella reveals she has nothing to report|
|2||March 12, 1977||Sissy Spacek||Wearing out her welcome, Litella reports on "Endangered Feces (Species)"|
|2||April 9, 1977||Julian Bond||Outside of Update, Litella reveals she has a lover|
|2||April 23, 1977||Eric Idle||Litella admits her lover is Tom Snyder|
|2||May 14, 1977||Shelley Duvall||Litella is absent, but her answering machine informs Jane Curtin to leave a message after the jeep (beep)|
|2||May 21, 1977||Buck Henry||Litella interviews Stella (Bella Abzug) who is going to throw her cat (hat) into the ring|
|3||December 17, 1977||Miskel Spillman||Litella returns after getting fired uses the opportunity to report on sst (SST) (supersonic transport)|
|3||February 18, 1978||Chevy Chase||Litella returns to visit "Chedder Cheese" much to "Miss Clayton's" displeasure|
- November 15, 1975-Litella appears on Looks at Books for her "Tiny Kingdom" Series
- February 25, 1978-Litella makes a cameo in a parody of O. J. Simpson 's Hertz commercial
- February 10, 1979-Litellavision, A production of "Porky and Beans"
Saturday Night Live Samurai (Samurai Futaba)
|1||December 13, 1975||Richard Pryor||Samurai Hotel||Futuba and his bellhop (Pryor) duel over who has to carry a guest's bags. Pryor smashes the front desk with his sword; The Samurai says, "I can dig where you're coming from," the only words ever spoken by the character in English.|
|1||January 17, 1976||Buck Henry||Samurai Delicatessen||Mr. Dantley (Buck Henry) waits as the Samurai makes a sandwich by severing ropes on hanging salami, slicing tomatoes in midair, and splitting bread with his skull. The two of them carry on a pleasant conversation although each speaks a different language.|
|1||February 14, 1976||Peter Boyle||Samurai Divorce Court||Futaba vs. Futaba. In the Samurai world, custody cases are resolved by splitting children in half. Jane Curtin plays Futaba's wife.|
|1||May 22, 1976||Buck Henry||Samurai Tailor||Mr. Dantley (Buck Henry) needs a tuxedo for a wedding. The Samurai makes one for him with his katana.|
|1||July 31, 1976||Kris Kristofferson||Samurai General Practitioner||The Samurai administers a physical to Kristofferson|
|2||October 30, 1976||Buck Henry||Samurai Stockbroker||Thanks to Futaba's faulty financial advice, Mr. Dantley (Buck Henry) discovers that he's bankrupt. Belushi accidentally strikes Buck Henry, playing the client Mr. Dantley, in the forehead with a katana. On tape, Henry clearly staggers back from the blow. Afterward, Henry appeared on camera with a band-aid covering the cut on his forehead. In solidarity, for the remainder of the broadcast the rest of the cast members (including a teddy bear in one later sketch) also appeared with band-aids on their foreheads as well.|
|2||March 19, 1977||Broderick Crawford||Samurai Hitman||Don Marsala (Dan Aykroyd) hires the Samurai to kill, as soon as possible, both Don Cornelius and Don Kirshner.|
|2||May 21, 1977||Buck Henry||Samurai B.M.O.C||The Samurai must convince Dean Bynum (Buck Henry) that he is qualified to graduate from college.|
|3||October 29, 1977||Charles Grodin||Samurai Dry Cleaners||Impressed by the premise, Charles Grodin ruins John Belushi's performance as Samurai Futaba by commenting on it throughout the sketch.|
|3||November 19, 1977||Buck Henry||Samurai Psychiatrist||Mr. Dantley (Buck Henry) relates a disturbing dream.|
|3||February 25, 1978||O.J. Simpson||Samurai Night Fever||A parody of the film Saturday Night Fever. O.J. Simpson plays the Samurai's brother.|
|3||May 20, 1978||Buck Henry||Samurai T.V. Repairman||Mr. Dantley (Buck Henry) has Futuba repair his busted TV set. The Samurai tosses it around, hits it with his sword, plunges two knives into the top grill, and the picture turns out perfect.|
|4||November 11, 1978||Buck Henry||Samurai Optometrist||Mr. Dantley (Henry) seeks a new pair of tortoise-shell reading glasses from Futaba. The Samurai nearly commits seppuku when Dantley calls him an "optician".|
|4||May 26, 1979||Buck Henry||Samurai Bakery||Mr. Dantley (Buck Henry) buys a last-minute wedding cake, only it is not boxed. The Samurai tosses the cake in the air, and slices it to pieces as it drops behind the counter, only to pick up neatly packaged, string-tied pink boxes, which he hands to Mr. Dantley.|
Frank Zappa Performances
- Lagoon-December 11, 1976
- Rollo-October 21, 1978
Mel's Char Palace
A John Belushi character who hails from Chicago, named after Belushi's childhood friend. Debuted January 24, 1976.
H & L Brock
A John Belushi sketch. As Lowell Brock (not to be confused with his competitor at H&R Block, he gives reasons why he should do your taxes. He'll take the time . . because he has the time . . because he's doing time. Debuted January 31, 1976.
The Mr. Bill Show
Mr. Bill got its start when Walter Williams sent SNL a Super-8 reel featuring the character in response to the show's request for home movies during the first season. Mr. Bill's first appearance occurred on the February 28, 1976 episode. Williams became a full-time writer for the show in 1978, writing more than 20 sketches based on Mr. Bill.
Each Mr. Bill episode would start innocently enough but would quickly turn dangerous for Mr. Bill. Along with his dog, Spot, he would suffer various indignities inflicted by "Mr. Hands," a man seen only as a pair of hands (played by Vance DeGeneres).
The character's popularity spawned the 1986 live-action movie Mr. Bill's Real Life Adventures.
|1||February 28, 1976||Jill Clayburgh||The Mr. Bill Show (Pilot)|
|2||October 16, 1976||Karen Black||Mr. Bill Goes to a Party|
|2||January 22, 1977||Ruth Gordon||Mr. Bill Goes to a Magic Show|
|3||March 25, 1978||Christopher Lee||Mr. Bill's Circus|
|3||April 8, 1978||Michael Palin||Mr. Bill Pays Taxes|
|4||October 14, 1978||Fred Willard||Mr. Bill Goes to New York|
|4||October 21, 1978||Frank Zappa||Mr. Bill Moves In|
|4||November 18, 1978||Carrie Fisher||Mr. Bill Goes Fishing|
|4||December 2, 1978||Walter Matthau||Mr. Bill is Late|
|4||January 27, 1979||Michael Palin||Mr. Bill Goes to Court|
|4||February 24, 1979||Kate Jackson||Mr. Bill Shapes Up|
|4||March 17, 1979||Margot Kidder||Mr. Bill is Hiding|
|4||May 12, 1979||Michael Palin||Mr. Bill Runs Away|
|4||May 19, 1979||Maureen Stapleton||Mr. Bill Goes to the Movies|
|4||May 26, 1979||Buck Henry||Mr. Bill Goes to Saturday Night Live|
|5||October 13, 1979||Steve Martin||The All New Mr. Bill Show|
|5||November 3, 1979||Bill Russell||Mr. Bill Stays Home|
|5||November 17, 1979||Bea Arthur||Mr. Bill Builds a House|
|5||January 26, 1980||Terri Garr||Mr. Bill Gets Help|
|5||April 5, 1980||Richard Benjamin & Paula Prentiss||Mr. Bill Strikes Back|
|5||May 10, 1980||Bob Newhart||Mr. Bill Goes to Jail|
|6||December 20, 1980||David Carradine||Mr. Bill's Christmas Special|
|7||October 17, 1981||George Kennedy||Mr. Bill Goes to L.A.|
|1||April 17, 1976||Ron Nessen|
|2||November 20, 1976||Paul Simon|
|2||January 22, 1977||Ruth Gordon||Dino De Laurentiis (John Belushi)|
|3||November 12, 1977||Ray Charles|
|3||March 11, 1978||Art Garfunkel||Andy Strauss (Art Garfunkel)|
|4||October 7, 1978||The Rolling Stones||Mick Jagger|
|4||November 18, 1978||Carrie Fisher||Linda Blair (Carrie Fisher)|
A Gilda Radner character, who appeared in seven sketches over five seasons. Colleen is usually non-talkative, and appears to be spaced out or in a veggie state, and it is established in a February 24, 1979 psychiatrist sketch that she is autistic. Debuted April 24, 1976.
A Gilda Radner character, a middle-class Jewish-American with a nasal voice, who appeared in eight sketches in various settings over five seasons. Debuted July 31, 1976.
||Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches (listed chronologically)||Succeeded by|
Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced 1976-1977