Saturday Night Live (season 10)

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Saturday Night Live (season 10)
The title card for the tenth season of Saturday Night Live.
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes17
Original networkNBC
Original releaseOctober 6, 1984 (1984-10-06) –
April 13, 1985 (1985-04-13)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 9
Next →
Season 11
List of Saturday Night Live episodes

The tenth season of Saturday Night Live, an American sketch comedy series, originally aired in the United States on NBC between October 6, 1984, and April 13, 1985. Only 17 episodes were produced due to a writer's strike and budget constraints.

Changes to format[edit]

This season also featured a new opening sequence produced by Charlex (who also created The Cars' "You Might Think" video earlier in 1984), depicting the SNL cast as giants in and around New York City landmarks. At the end of the season, Ebersol requested to completely revamp the show to include mostly prerecorded segments. Short, Guest, and Hall had gotten tired of the show's demanding production schedule and showed little interest in returning for another season, leaving Crystal the only "A-cast" member available for Season 11. Like Lorne Michaels at the end of Season 5, Ebersol made taking the show off the air for several months to re-cast and rebuild a condition of his return. Another idea was to institute a permanent rotation of hosts (Billy Crystal, David Letterman and Joe Piscopo) for "a hip The Ed Sullivan Show". After briefly canceling the show, NBC decided to continue production only if they could get Michaels to produce again. Ebersol, along with his writing staff and most of the cast, left the show after this season. Those who wished to stay, such as Crystal, were not rehired for the following season.


During the previous season Eddie Murphy left the show mid season. Because of Murphy's departure Joe Piscopo also left the show because he did not want to do it without Murphy. Dick Ebersol then fired Robin Duke, Brad Hall and Tim Kazurinsky. Ebersol then wanted to blow up the show by adding seasoned comedians instead of newcomers. He hired Billy Crystal (who hosted twice in season nine and was originally set to appear in SNL's first episode), Harry Shearer (who was a cast member on SNL in its fifth season), New Zealander Pamela Stephenson (from "Not The Nine O'Clock News"), Rich Hall (best known for his work on "Not Necessarily the News" and "Fridays"), Martin Short (from "SCTV"), and Christopher Guest (a frequent contributor to The National Lampoon Radio Hour in the early 1970s). Guest would become the anchor of Saturday Night News. None of the new cast additions this year would make it past this season.

In the middle of the season, Harry Shearer left the show due to "creative differences". Shearer told the AP, "I was creative, and they were different."[1] Despite his departure, his image is still shown in the opening credits (spray-painting an elevated train as it goes down the track).

Cast roster[edit]

Repertory cast members[edit]

bold denotes Weekend Update anchor


Billy Crystal, Larry David, Christopher Guest, Rich Hall, Rob Riley, and Martin Short joined the writing staff. Jim Downey and Harry Shearer rejoined the staff after a four-year hiatus. Robin Duke, Adam Green, Tim Kazurinsky, Michael McCartney, Eddie Murphy, Pamela Norris, and Joe Piscopo left the staff.

This season's writers were Jim Belushi, Andy Breckman, Billy Crystal, Larry David, Jim Downey, Christopher Guest, Rich Hall, Nate Herman, Kevin Kelton, Andy Kurtzman, Margaret Oberman, Rob Riley, Herb Sargent, Martin Short, Harry Shearer, Andrew Smith, Bob Tischler and Eliot Wald. The head writer was Bob Tischler.


No. in
Host(s)Musical guest(s)Original air date
1791(none)Thompson TwinsOctober 6, 1984 (1984-10-06)

  • The Thompson Twins performed "Hold Me Now" and "The Gap"[2]
  • Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, Rich Hall, Martin Short and Pamela Stephenson's first episode as cast members
  • Harry Shearer rejoined the cast after a four-year hiatus
  • Crystal, as Fernando, anchored Saturday Night News
  • Contains the first appearance of Ed Grimley on SNL,[3] as well as the "Synchronized Swimming" sketch.[4]
1802Bob UeckerPeter WolfOctober 13, 1984 (1984-10-13)

1813Jesse JacksonAndrae Crouch
Wintley Phipps
October 20, 1984 (1984-10-20)

  • Jesse Jackson performs "Red Rubber Ball" and "Jean"[5]
  • Andrae Crouch performed "Right Now" and Wintley Phipps performed "Tell Me Again"[2]
  • The first appearance of Willie and Frankie on the "You Know What I Hate?" sketch[6]
  • Jesse Jackson anchors Saturday Night News
1824Michael McKeanChaka Khan
The Folksmen
November 3, 1984 (1984-11-03)

  • Chaka Khan performed "I Feel for You" and "This Is My Night"[2]
  • Edwin Newman anchors Saturday Night News
  • Bobby Fraraccio appears as Barry Manilow on "Fernando's Hideaway"
  • Rich Hall parodies David Byrne and his big suit.[7]
  • Sheila E. was originally scheduled to be the musical guest for this episode, but backed out at the last minute.
  • Contains the first appearance as the faux-folk group The Folksmen (McKean, Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest), performing their "hit", "Old Joe's Place" (in addition to a pre-taped segment featuring the band's "reunion".) The Folksmen would later appear 19 years later in the film A Mighty Wind.
  • McKean would join the cast of Saturday Night Live 10 years later at the end of Season 19, making him one of only two people to be a host, musical guest (as part of Spinal Tap in Season 9) and cast member of SNL (Dan Aykroyd being the other).
1835George CarlinFrankie Goes to HollywoodNovember 10, 1984 (1984-11-10)

1846Ed AsnerThe KinksNovember 17, 1984 (1984-11-17)

  • The Kinks performed "Do It Again" and "Word of Mouth".[2]
  • Ed Asner anchors Saturday Night News.
  • Bill Murray was originally scheduled to host this episode, but cancelled due to unknown reasons.
1857Ed Begley, Jr.Billy SquierDecember 1, 1984 (1984-12-01)

1868Ringo StarrHerbie HancockDecember 8, 1984 (1984-12-08)

1879Eddie MurphyRobert Plant & the HoneydrippersDecember 15, 1984 (1984-12-15)

18810Kathleen TurnerJohn WaiteJanuary 12, 1985 (1985-01-12)

  • Harry Shearer's final episode as a cast member.
  • John Waite performed "Saturday Night".[2]
18911Roy ScheiderBilly OceanJanuary 19, 1985 (1985-01-19)

19012Alex KarrasTina TurnerFebruary 2, 1985 (1985-02-02)

19113Harry AndersonBryan AdamsFebruary 9, 1985 (1985-02-09)

19214Pamela Sue MartinPower StationFebruary 16, 1985 (1985-02-16)

19315Mr. T
Hulk Hogan
The CommodoresMarch 30, 1985 (1985-03-30)

19416Christopher ReeveSantanaApril 6, 1985 (1985-04-06)

19517Howard CosellGreg KihnApril 13, 1985 (1985-04-13)

Canceled episodes with booked guests[edit]

Airdate Host Musical Guest Comments
March 9, 1985 John Candy & Eugene Levy Hall & Oates Candy and Levy were planned to host that week, but was cancelled due to a short writer's strike.
March 16, 1985 Steve Landesberg Not announced One of Ebersol’s planned shows, but was cancelled due to a short writer’s strike.
May 11, 1985 Joe Piscopo Not announced One of Ebersol's planned shows, but was cut due to budget cuts.
May 18, 1985 David Letterman Not announced One of Ebersol's planned shows, but was cut due to budget cuts.


TitleOriginal air date
"SNL Film Festival"March 2, 1985 (1985-03-02)
Hosted by Billy Crystal, presenting short films and commercial parodies. Eddie Murphy, Joe Piscopo, Robin Williams, Tim Kazurinsky, and Stevie Wonder make appearances in pre-recorded segments from previous seasons. Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert review the show. John Candy and Eugene Levy plug next week's show with musical guests Hall & Oates (who don't end up appearing due to a writers strike).
"The Best of John Belushi"August 3, 1985 (1985-08-03)
The special included material featuring John Belushi during his stint on the show. Sketches include Sam Peckinpah, Beethoven Composes 'My Girl', Beethoven Composes 'What I Say', Vito Corleone in Therapy, Samurai Deli, Wilderness Comedian, The Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise, The Bee Honeymooners, Dragnet, Tomorrow with Tom Snyder, Mussolini Reenactment, Little Chocolate Donuts, Olympia Cafe, Don't Look Back In Anger, The Academy Awards, Superhero Party and Miles Cowperthwaite, Part Two: I Am Nailed to the Hull". The special also features musical numbers Belushi performs on the show: Belushi as Joe Cocker performs A Little Help From My Friends and The Blues Brothers performs "King Bee," "Soul Man," and "B-Movie Boxcar Blues".


  1. ^ Steele, Brian (April 26, 2015). "11 Things We Learned About Harry Shearer From His WTF Episode". IFC. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 124–127. ISBN 978-0-395-70895-8.
  3. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 156–158. ISBN 978-0-395-70895-8.
  4. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-395-70895-8.
  5. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. p. 264. ISBN 978-0-395-70895-8.
  6. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 160–161. ISBN 978-0-395-70895-8.
  7. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-395-70895-8.