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 originUnited States
No. of episodes20
Original networkNBC
Original releaseOctober 7, 1978 (1978-10-07) –
May 26, 1979 (1979-05-26)
Season chronology
← Previous
season 3
Next →
season 5
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 season 4 DVD was released on December 2, 2008.


The entire cast from the previous season returned. The only change was Bill Murray's joining Jane Curtin as co-anchor for Weekend Update, replacing Dan Aykroyd. This would be the final season for Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as cast members (who both left to work on SNL's first film, The Blues Brothers).

Cast roster[edit]

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.


No. in
HostMusical guest(s)Original air date
671The Rolling StonesThe Rolling StonesOctober 7, 1978 (1978-10-07)

682Fred WillardDevoOctober 14, 1978 (1978-10-14)

693Frank ZappaFrank ZappaOctober 21, 1978 (1978-10-21)

704Steve MartinVan MorrisonNovember 4, 1978 (1978-11-04)

  • Van Morrison performs two songs from his September 1978 release Wavelength: the title track and "Kingdom Hall".[1][3]
  • The last sketch was cut short. When the show closes, Steve Martin announces there were technical problems and that the sketch would resume the next time he hosted.
  • This is Steve Martin's sixth time as host.
715Buck HenryGrateful DeadNovember 11, 1978 (1978-11-11)

726Carrie FisherThe Blues BrothersNovember 18, 1978 (1978-11-18)

737Walter MatthaunoneDecember 2, 1978 (1978-12-02)

  • There is no billed musical guest for this episode. At host Walter Matthau's request, Garrett Morris performs Mozart's "Dalla sua pace" ("On her peace"), an aria from Don Giovanni.
748Eric IdleKate BushDecember 9, 1978 (1978-12-09)

759Elliott GouldPeter Tosh with Mick JaggerDecember 16, 1978 (1978-12-16)

  • Peter Tosh and Mick Jagger performs "(You Gotta Walk And) Don't Look Back", and Peter Tosh performs "Bush Doctor".[1]
  • "Mommie Dearest" sketch.
  • "Point/Counterpoint" regarding relations with China.
  • The comedy team of "Bob and Ray".
  • Elliott Gould (4th time hosting) and Garrett Morris sing "It's Christmas Time in Harlem" during the opening monologue, accompanied by Paul Shaffer.
7610Michael PalinThe Doobie BrothersJanuary 27, 1979 (1979-01-27)

7711Cicely TysonTalking HeadsFebruary 10, 1979 (1979-02-10)

7812Ricky NelsonJudy CollinsFebruary 17, 1979 (1979-02-17)

7913Kate JacksonDelbert McClintonFebruary 24, 1979 (1979-02-24)

8014Gary BuseyEubie Blake & Gregory Hines
Gary Busey with Rick Danko & Paul Butterfield
March 10, 1979 (1979-03-10)

  • Eubie Blake and Gregory Hines performs a medley of "Low-down Blues", "I'm Just Simply Full of Jazz" and "I'm Just Wild about Harry".[1]
  • Gary Busey's band performs "Stay All Night".[1]
  • Brian Doyle-Murray is one of John 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".
8115Margot KidderThe ChieftainsMarch 17, 1979 (1979-03-17)

  • The Chieftains performs "If I Had Maggie in the Woods" and "Morning Dew"[1]
  • Lorne Michaels and the production staff appear with Margot Kidder and Gilda Radner in the opening monologue.
  • "Point/Counterpoint" regarding Lee Marvin's palimony case.
  • Mr Bill hides from Mr Hand.
8216Richard BenjaminRickie Lee JonesApril 7, 1979 (1979-04-07)

8317Milton BerleOrnette ColemanApril 14, 1979 (1979-04-14)

  • Ornette Coleman performed "Times Square".[1]
  • Milton 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", George Burns and retirees in Miami Beach.[7][8] After about five minutes, an off-stage Bill Murray dropped a large pipe, making a loud noise and disrupting the comedian's routine.[9] 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.[7] During the audience's applause while transitioning to commercial, he can be seen angrily yelling while the house band looks on nervously.[8]
  • While on-air, Milton Berle frequently mugged for the audience, did spit-takes, and ad-libbed straight to the camera.[7]
  • At the end of the show, Milton 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 gave it a standing ovation.[7] Michaels told Wilson immediately afterwards that this show was the worst ever; he kept it from appearing in syndicated reruns later.[10]
8418Michael PalinJames TaylorMay 12, 1979 (1979-05-12)

  • The opening monologue featured a song by James Taylor, the first of three in the show. James Taylor performs "Johnny Comes Back", "Up on the Roof" and "Millworker".[1]
  • Dickens's "Miles Cowperthwaite", Part 2.
  • Mr Bill Runs Away From Home.
8519Maureen StapletonLinda Ronstadt
Phoebe Snow
May 19, 1979 (1979-05-19)

8620Buck HenryBette MidlerMay 26, 1979 (1979-05-26)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 124–127. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  2. ^ a b c d "Saturday Night Live > Season 4 > Episode 3 : Frank Zappa". October 21, 1978.
  3. ^ "Saturday Night Live > Season 4 > Episode 4 : Steve Martin/Van Morrison". November 4, 1978.
  4. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. p. 91. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  5. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. p. 119. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  6. ^ "Season 4: Episode 11". Saturday Night Live Transcripts. February 10, 1979.
  7. ^ a b c d Kovalchik, Kara (July 9, 2008). "5 Awful Saturday Night Live Hosts of the '70s". Mental Floss. Archived from the original on September 17, 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Season 4: Episode 17, 78q: Milton Berle / Ornette Coleman". Saturday Night Live Transcripts.
  9. ^ Trivia for Saturday Night Live Milton Berle/Ornette Coleman (1979) on IMDb
  10. ^ 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.