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 origin United States
No. of episodes 20
Original channel NBC
Original release October 11, 1986 (1986-10-11) – May 23, 1987 (1987-05-23)
Season chronology
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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.


Despite plans to have Saturday Night Live canceled due to the ratings of its previous season, producer Lorne Michaels convinced Brandon Tartikoff to give the show another chance, provided that a better cast be found for the next season.[citation needed] As a result, many of season 11's cast members were fired, except for Nora Dunn, Jon Lovitz, featured player A. Whitney Brown, and Weekend Update anchor Dennis Miller. Al Franken was rehired as a writer. The rest were relative unknowns, led by Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks, Victoria Jackson, and Kevin Nealon.[1] Hooks had auditioned to be in the season 10 and 11 casts, but had been turned down.[citation needed] Hartman helped write sketches in season 11's Thanksgiving episode hosted by Pee-wee Herman, and appeared in a sketch as a Pilgrim.

The first show of the 1986-1987 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.[2] According to the "statement", the entire 1985-1986 season was "...all a dream. A horrible, horrible dream."

The season included "Masterbrain", 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."


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.


Saturday Night Live season 12 episodes
No. # Host(s) Musical guest(s) Original airdate
214 1 Sigourney Weaver (none) October 11, 1986

Madonna appears in the cold opening to read a statement from NBC about the 1985–1986 season: "It was all a dream—a horrible, horrible dream." This was a reference to the famous ninth season of Dallas, which was later revealed to be a dream.

Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Kevin Nealon, Victoria Jackson and Jan Hooks' first episode as cast members.

Buster Poindexter and Christopher Durang appear as special guests.
215 2 Malcolm-Jamal Warner Run DMC October 18, 1986

Run DMC performs "Walk This Way" and "Hit It, Run".

Guest appearances are made by Sam Kinison, Buster Poindexter, and Spike Lee as his Mars Blackmon character from She's Gotta Have It.

First appearance of the Sweeney Sisters.
216 3 Rosanna Arquette Ric Ocasek November 8, 1986

Ric Ocasek performs "Emotion in Motion" and "Keep on Laughin'".

The episode was actually recorded two weeks prior, but delayed due to NBC's broadcast of the legendary sixth game of the 1986 World Series between the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox; the aired version began with a taped segment in which Mets pitcher Ron Darling playfully apologized for the cancellation.

Ric Ocasek appears as himself in Church Chat.
217 4 Sam Kinison Lou Reed November 15, 1986

Lou Reed performed "I Love You, Suzanne" from 1984's New Sensations and "Original Wrapper" from 1986's Mistrial.

Guest appearance by porn star Seka.
218 5 Robin Williams Paul Simon November 22, 1986

Paul Simon performs "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo, "The Boy in the Bubble", and "The Late Great Johnny Ace".

Guest appearance by Art Garfunkel.
219 6 Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Martin Short Randy Newman December 6, 1986

Randy Newman performs "Longest Night" and "Roll with the Punches".

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.
220 7 Steve Guttenberg The Pretenders December 13, 1986

The Pretenders performs "Don't Get Me Wrong" and "How Much Did You Get for Your Soul?".

Guest appearances by Penn & Teller and Buster Poindexter.
221 8 William Shatner Lone Justice December 20, 1986

Lone Justice performs "Shelter" and "I Found Love".

This show features a sketch where William Shatner, sick of Star Trek fans asking him inane questions, tells them to "Get a life!"

Comedian Kevin Meaney makes a guest appearance.

Lone Justice played "Shelter" and "I Found Love", while special guest Buster Poindexter played "Zat You, Santa?"
222 9 Joe Montana
Walter Payton
Deborah Harry January 24, 1987
Deborah Harry performs "French Kissin" and "In Love with Love".
223 10 Paul Shaffer Bruce Hornsby & the Range January 31, 1987
Bruce Hornsby & the Range performs "The Way It Is" and "Mandolin Rain".
224 11 Bronson Pinchot Paul Young February 14, 1987

Paul Young performs "War Games" and "The Long Run".

Guest appearances by Paulina Porizkova and Buster Poindexter, who performs with the SNL Band.
225 12 Willie Nelson Willie Nelson February 21, 1987

Danny DeVito makes a guest appearance.

Willie Nelson performs "Nightlife" and "Partners After All".

In a sketch, Nelson accompanies Victoria Jackson on "The Boyfriend Song".
226 13 Valerie Bertinelli Robert Cray Band February 28, 1987

Robert Cray Band performs "Smoking Gun" and "Right Next Door".

Bertinelli's then-husband, Eddie Van Halen, appears in a sketch and plays with the SNL Band.

Guest appearance by Edwin Newman.
227 14 Bill Murray Percy Sledge March 21, 1987
Percy Sledge performs "When a Man Loves a Woman".
228 15 Charlton Heston Wynton Marsalis March 28, 1987

Wynton Marsalis performs "J Mood" and "Juan (E. Mustaad)".

The episode features a short film by Ben Stiller.
229 16 John Lithgow Anita Baker April 11, 1987
Anita Baker performs "Sweet Love" and "Same Ole Love (365 Days a Year)"
230 17 John Larroquette Timbuk 3 April 18, 1987
Timbuk 3 performs "Just Another Movie" and "Hairstyles & Attitudes".
231 18 Mark Harmon Suzanne Vega May 9, 1987
Suzanne Vega performs "Luka" and "Marlene on the Wall".
232 19 Garry Shandling Los Lobos May 16, 1987

Los Lobos performs "Is That All There Is" and "One Time, One Night".

Tracey Ullman appears in the filmed Hollywood Mom sketch.

Nell Campbell appears in Tenny Café.

A number of sketches had Shandling breaking the fourth wall, referring to the style of the then-airing It's Garry Shandling's Show.
233 20 Dennis Hopper Roy Orbison May 23, 1987
Roy Orbison performs "Crying", "Pretty Woman", and "In Dreams".


  1. ^ Gendel, Morgan (30 September 1986). "Another Groundling Hops To 'Snl'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  2. ^