Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced 1975–1976

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This is a list of recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced between October 11, 1975 and July 31, 1976, the first season of SNL:

Weekend Update[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Season Episode Host Notes
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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

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.

Land Shark[edit]

Chevy Chase plays a shark attempting to lure his way into a victim's home. Debuted November 8, 1975.

Sherry[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

A Talk Show sketch hosted by Jane Curtin interviewing profound authors. Debuted November 15, 1975

Emily Litella[edit]

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.

Appearances
Season Episode Host Notes
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

Additional Appearances[edit]

  • 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)[edit]

John Belushi plays a samurai warrior, who speaks only (mock) Japanese, and wields a katana. He is seen in various occupations ranging from a hotel desk clerk to a tailor. Debuted December 13, 1975.

Season Episode Host Title Notes
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[edit]

  • Lagoon-December 11, 1976
  • Rollo-October 21, 1978

Mel's Char Palace[edit]

A steakhouse commercial parody featuring Dan Aykroyd. At Mel's, customers are given a chainsaw and are invited to hunt, stun, cut and cook their own cow. Debuted December 20, 1975.

Steve Bushakis[edit]

A John Belushi character who hails from Chicago, named after Belushi's childhood friend. Debuted January 24, 1976.

H & L Brock[edit]

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.[1]

The Mr. Bill Show[edit]

Mr. Bill is the clay figurine star of a parody of children's shows.

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).[2]

The character's popularity spawned the 1986 live-action movie Mr. Bill's Real Life Adventures.

Season Episode Host Title
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.

Tomorrow[edit]

A parody of the Tomorrow show, starring Dan Aykroyd as Tom Snyder.

Season Episode Host Title
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)

Baba Wawa[edit]

Gilda Radner impersonates journalist Barbara Walters. Debuted April 24, 1976.

Colleen Fernman[edit]

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.

Bobbi Farber[edit]

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://snltranscripts.jt.org/76/76rbrock.phtml
  2. ^ "Oh Noooooo! It's Mr. Bill's 20th Anniversary (1995)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
Preceded by
Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches (listed chronologically) Succeeded by
Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches introduced 1976-1977