Saturday Night Live (season 12)

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Saturday Night Live (season 12)
The title card for the twelfth season of Saturday Night Live.
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes20
Original networkNBC
Original releaseOctober 11, 1986 (1986-10-11) –
May 23, 1987 (1987-05-23)
Season chronology
← Previous
season 11
Next →
season 13
List of Saturday Night Live episodes

The twelfth season of Saturday Night Live, an American sketch comedy series, originally aired in the United States on NBC between October 11, 1986 and May 23, 1987.


The season opened with Madonna, host of the previous season opener, reading a "statement" from NBC about season 11's mediocre writing and bad cast choices.[1] According to the "statement", the entire 1985–86 season was "... all a dream. A horrible, horrible dream."

The season included "Mastermind," a skit written by Jim Downey and Al Franken, in which Phil Hartman portrayed two sides of Ronald Reagan; 25 years later Todd Purdum called the skit "surely among the show's Top 10 of all time".

A new logo was introduced for this season: it consisted of a yellow square and a small black rectangle; the yellow square had "SATURDAY" and "LIVE" in it; between them was a black rectangle with the word "NIGHT" in it. It was used only until the following season.


Most of season 11's cast members were fired, except for A. Whitney Brown, Nora Dunn, Jon Lovitz and Dennis Miller. Al Franken was rehired as a writer. The new cast members included Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks, Victoria Jackson and Kevin Nealon.[2] Phil Hartman helped write sketches in season 11's Thanksgiving episode hosted by Pee-wee Herman, and appeared in a sketch as a Pilgrim. Jan Hooks had auditioned for the show twice, firstly for season 10, but lost to Pamela Stephenson and the second time for season 11, but lost to Joan Cusack.

Cast roster[edit]

bold denotes Weekend Update anchor


This season's writers were Andy Breckman, A. Whitney Brown, E. Jean Carroll, Tom Davis, Jim Downey, Al Franken, Jack Handey, Phil Hartman, George Meyer, Lorne Michaels, Kevin Nealon, Herb Sargent, Marc Shaiman, Rosie Shuster, Robert Smigel, Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner, Jon Vitti and Christine Zander. Downey also served as head writer.


No. in
Host(s)Musical guestOriginal air date
2141Sigourney WeaverNoneOctober 11, 1986 (1986-10-11)

2152Malcolm-Jamal WarnerRun-DMCOctober 18, 1986 (1986-10-18)

2163Rosanna ArquetteRic OcasekNovember 8, 1986 (1986-11-08)

2174Sam KinisonLou ReedNovember 15, 1986 (1986-11-15)

  • Lou Reed performs "I Love You, Suzanne" from 1984's New Sensations and "Original Wrapper" from 1986's Mistrial.[3]
  • Guest appearance by porn star Seka.
  • A guest appearance by Buster Poindexter is mentioned in the intro; Kinison apologizes that he was cut for time in the goodnights.
2185Robin WilliamsPaul SimonNovember 22, 1986 (1986-11-22)

2196Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Martin ShortRandy NewmanDecember 6, 1986 (1986-12-06)

  • Randy Newman performs "Longest Night" and "Roll with the Punches".[3]
  • Chevy Chase acknowledges his recent stint in the Betty Ford Center in the monologue and cold opening, a sketch where klutzy people hold a support group meeting called Stumblebums Anonymous.
  • In a sketch written by Jim Downey and Al Franken, Phil Hartman portrays President Ronald Reagan as Masterbrain, a "sweet, befuddled old man in public, who in private becomes the hard-charging director of the covert operation to finance the Nicaraguan Contras".
  • Guest appearance by Eric Idle.
2207Steve GuttenbergThe PretendersDecember 13, 1986 (1986-12-13)

2218William ShatnerLone JusticeDecember 20, 1986 (1986-12-20)

  • Lone Justice performs "Shelter" and "I Found Love".[3]
  • This show features a sketch where William Shatner, sick of Star Trek fans asking him inane questions, tells them to "Get a life!"[7]
  • Comedian Kevin Meaney makes a guest appearance.
  • Special guest Buster Poindexter played "Zat You, Santa?".[3]
2229Joe Montana
Walter Payton
Deborah HarryJanuary 24, 1987 (1987-01-24)

22310Paul ShafferBruce Hornsby & the RangeJanuary 31, 1987 (1987-01-31)

22411Bronson PinchotPaul YoungFebruary 14, 1987 (1987-02-14)

22512Willie NelsonWillie NelsonFebruary 21, 1987 (1987-02-21)

  • Danny DeVito makes a guest appearance.
  • Willie Nelson performs "Blue Eyes" and "Partners After All".[3]
  • In a sketch, Nelson accompanies Victoria Jackson on "The Boyfriend Song".
22613Valerie BertinelliRobert Cray BandFebruary 28, 1987 (1987-02-28)

  • Robert Cray Band performs "Smoking Gun" and "Right Next Door".[3]
  • Bertinelli's then-husband, Eddie Van Halen, appeared in a sketch and played with the SNL Band. Van Halen performed "Stompin' 8H".[3]
  • Guest appearance by Edwin Newman.
22714Bill MurrayPercy SledgeMarch 21, 1987 (1987-03-21)

22815Charlton HestonWynton MarsalisMarch 28, 1987 (1987-03-28)

  • Wynton Marsalis performs "J Mood" and "Juan (E. Mustaad)".[3]
  • The episode features a short film by future cast member Ben Stiller.
22916John LithgowAnita BakerApril 11, 1987 (1987-04-11)

23017John LarroquetteTimbuk 3April 18, 1987 (1987-04-18)

  • Timbuk 3 performs "Just Another Movie" and "Hairstyles & Attitudes".[3]
23118Mark HarmonSuzanne VegaMay 9, 1987 (1987-05-09)

  • Suzanne Vega performs "Luka" and "Marlene on the Wall".[3]
23219Garry ShandlingLos LobosMay 16, 1987 (1987-05-16)

23320Dennis HopperRoy OrbisonMay 23, 1987 (1987-05-23)


  1. ^
  2. ^ Gendel, Morgan (30 September 1986). "Another Groundling Hops To 'Snl'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 124–127. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  4. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 214–217. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  5. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 120. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  6. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 218–219. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  7. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 42. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.