Saturday Night Live (season 2)

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Saturday Night Live (season 2)
The title card for the second season of Saturday Night Live.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 22
Original channel NBC
Original release September 18, 1976 (1976-09-18) – May 21, 1977 (1977-05-21)
Season chronology
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List of Saturday Night Live episodes

The second season of Saturday Night Live, an American sketch comedy series, originally aired in the United States on NBC between September 18, 1976, and May 21, 1977.

The season included a Live from Mardi Gras Special.

This season of what began as NBC's Saturday Night saw the departure of Chevy Chase after the October 30th episode hosted by Buck Henry. Jane Curtin took over as Weekend Update anchor following Chase's departure. On the January 15, 1977 episode, Bill Murray joined the Not Ready for Prime-Time Players, filling the void left by Chase's departure. Jim Downey joined the writing staff. This season was the last to feature The Muppets.

Steve Martin, Eric Idle, and Buck Henry each hosted two episodes.


Following the cancellation of ABC's Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell, NBC changed the name of the show from NBC's Saturday Night to its current title, Saturday Night Live in the episode hosted by Jack Burns in 1977.[citation needed]

The shows on October 16, October 23, and October 30 1976 were live from NBC's studio complex in Brooklyn, NY. NBC News used Studio 8-H for Presidential election coverage.

This season was the last to feature The Muppets in The Land of Gorch, who had appeared in segments that were unpopular with fans and the SNL writers. Jim Henson was reportedly displeased with the amount of creative control he had over the scripts. Jerry Juhl called Henson "very frustrated" with his input into the scripts, and stated that the SNL writers "didn't have any real handle" on Henson's concept. "Jim would come in with ideas, and sit with them, and give them wonderful ideas, and they wouldn’t know how to fly with them," Juhl recalled.[1] In a 1977 interview with Playboy, O'Donoghue who was head writer/performer, referred to the Muppets as "those fucking Muppets, those little hairy facecloths" and were "made from the refuse after they cleaned up after Woodstock". He also refused to write for them, saying "I don’t write for felt". O'Donoghue also had a lynched Big Bird hanging in the writer's office.[2][2]

Jim Downey joined the writing staff in what would be a long career on the show.[3]


bold denotes Weekend Update anchor


Jim Downey joined the writing staff.

This season's writers included Dan Aykroyd, Anne Beatts, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Tom Davis, Jim Downey, Al Franken, Bruce McCall, Lorne Michaels, Marilyn Suzanne Miller, Bill Murray, Michael O'Donoghue, Herb Sargent, Tom Schiller, Rosie Schuster and Alan Zweibel. The head writer was Michael O'Donoghue.


Saturday Night Live season 2 episodes
No. # Host(s) Musical guest(s) Original airdate
25 1 Lily Tomlin James Taylor September 18, 1976

The episode marks the final appearance of the characters from "The Land of Gorch." In this appearance, King Ploobis, Queen Peuta, Scred, and Wisss wake up in a filing cabinet assuming that they are in the afterlife. When they think that their sketch has been revived, they find The Mighty Favog under a dust cover that King Ploobis removes. The Mighty Favog states that this may be their last chance on the show and that they must do whatever they tell them to do. "The Land of Gorch" Muppets are then visited by Lily Tomlin. When Lily states that she heard about The Muppet Show that came out last week, Wisss states that they won't let them be on their show since it's a family show. Lily and "The Land of Gorch" Muppets try to sing "I Whistle a Happy Tune". Unfortunately, "The Land of Gorch" Muppets can't whistle. Lily leaves planning to find something else for her and "The Land of Gorch" Muppets to do.

Actor Taylor Mead makes a filmed cameo appearance in Gary Weis's piece.

James Taylor performs Shower the People and a cover of (I'm a) Road Runner with a backing band featuring saxophonist David Sanborn, and plays an acoustic performance of Sweet Baby James.

The show ends with Paul Shaffer and Lily Tomlin performing the Antler Dance as the entire cast, crew, the characters from "The Land of Gorch," and the audience join in.
26 2 Norman Lear Boz Scaggs September 25, 1976

Jane Curtin fills in for Chevy Chase as Weekend Update anchor.

Chase's voice and photo are used in a cold open in which Gilda Radner uses a telephone receiver to act out Chase's customary show-opening pratfall as the injured Chase speaks over the line warning her not to attempt such a fall.

In his monologue Norman Lear mock interviews a series of stars from his various produced shows of the time including Bea Arthur from Maude, Richard Crenna and Bernadette Peters from All's Fair, Carroll O'Connor and Jean Stapleton from All in the Family, Nancy Walker from The Nancy Walker Show, and Isabel Sanford and Sherman Helmsley from The Jeffersons.

Boz Scaggs performs "Lowdown" and "What Can I Say", both from the Silk Degrees album.
27 3 Eric Idle Joe Cocker & Stuff October 2, 1976

Richard Belzer, the show's warm-up comedian during season 1, makes a cameo appearance during the cold open impersonating the still-injured Chase, who contributes via phone.

There is a recurring joke throughout this episode where Eric Idle tries to sing George Harrison's "Here Comes The Sun" in a gruff, angry voice before getting stopped by various cast members. Harrison himself performed the song with Paul Simon on the show almost 2 months later.

Belushi "duets" with Cocker on "Feelin' Alright".

First US television appearance of The Rutles.
28 4 Karen Black John Prine October 16, 1976
The second appearance of Mr. Bill in response to the show's request for home movies.
29 5 Steve Martin Kinky Friedman October 23, 1976
This is the first episode Steve Martin hosts.
30 6 Buck Henry The Band October 30, 1976

This is Chevy Chase's final episode as a cast member.

Buck Henry was cut on his forehead by John Belushi's sword during Samurai Stockbroker sketch. Henry, as well as cast members, continued the show with bandaged heads. During this sketch Henry refers to Belushi's character as "Mr. Mikuraki." Belushi's character is typically cited as "Samurai Futaba."
31 7 Dick Cavett Ry Cooder November 13, 1976
32 8 Paul Simon Paul Simon & George Harrison November 20, 1976

Chevy Chase appears in the cold open.

Paul Simon and George Harrison play Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun" and Simon's "Homeward Bound". Harrison's appearances were pre-taped.

Promo videos for Harrison's songs "Crackerbox Palace" and "This Song" air during the show.

During the cold open, Harrison and Lorne Michaels can be seen discussing Michaels's Beatles offer from the previous season.

Paul Simon sings "Still Crazy After All These Years" in a turkey costume.
33 9 Jodie Foster Brian Wilson November 27, 1976

The fourth wall is broken as Jodie Foster addresses the audience in the Bee sketch.

Brian Wilson appears solo, though he's promoting the current Beach Boys release 15 Big Ones. He performs "Back Home," "Love is a Woman" and the Beach Boys' hit, "Good Vibrations"
34 10 Candice Bergen Frank Zappa with Don Pardo as "The Slime" December 11, 1976

First appearance of Irwin Mainway.

During the "Right to Extreme Stupidity" sketch, Bergen slips up and addresses Gilda Radner's character as Fern, which is actually the name of Bergen's character. While Bergen is reduced to spontaneous laughter, Radner responds by inverting the sketch's premise ("We can't all be brainy like Fern here!").

Bergen and the cast perform "Let's Kill Gary Gilmore for Christmas".

Frank Zappa performs "I'm the Slime" (with Don Pardo), "The Purple Lagoon" and "Peaches En Regalia" as well as appearing in "The Killer Trees" sketch.

The show ends with Bergen ad-libbing a closing and the cast ice skating around Rockefeller Plaza.
35 11 Ralph Nader George Benson January 15, 1977

Bill Murray's first episode as a cast member. Murray replaces an injured John Belushi, who only appears via telephone.

First appearance of the Coneheads.

Andy Kaufman makes his fifth appearance.
36 12 Ruth Gordon Chuck Berry January 22, 1977
37 13 Fran Tarkenton Leo Sayer
Donny Harper
January 29, 1977
38 14 Steve Martin The Kinks February 26, 1977
Lily Tomlin appears as "special guest."
39 15 Sissy Spacek Richard Baskin March 12, 1977
This episode won a Primetime Emmy Award.
40 16 Broderick Crawford Levon Helm
Dr. John
The Meters
March 19, 1977

Linda Ronstadt makes a special appearance in the opening sketch as a back-up singer of the "Rondettes".

This episode includes Bill Murray's direct appeal that "I don't think I'm making it on the show."

The last episode to carry the title NBC's Saturday Night
41 17 Jack Burns Santana March 26, 1977
The first episode to carry the title Saturday Night Live.
42 18 Julian Bond Tom Waits
April 9, 1977

Tom Waits performs " Eggs & Sausages."

Brick performs "Dazz"
43 19 Elliott Gould McGarrigle Sisters
Roslyn Kind
April 16, 1977
First appearance of Nick The Lounge Singer.
44 20 Eric Idle Alan Price
Neil Innes
April 23, 1977
"Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth" (played by Jeannette Charles) assists in the telethon to "Save Great Britain" at "555-1066", which is a running sketch throughout the show.
45 21 Shelley Duvall Joan Armatrading May 14, 1977

Lorne Michaels appears in the opening sketch, with Shelley Duvall and John Belushi in Bee costumes.

The opening montage is only shown on a backstage TV, as the camera follows Shelley, Jane, Laraine, and Gilda onto the stage to sing as the "Video Vixens."

Chevy Chase appears in the audience during one of the commercial bumpers, with the caption "USED TO BE ON THE SHOW."

Spalding Gray narrates and appears in the video "Brides."
46 22 Buck Henry Jennifer Warnes
Kenny Vance
May 21, 1977

Bella Abzug is interviewed by Emily Litella during Weekend Update.

Home video by William Wegman

Chevy Chase makes a cameo appearance as the Landshark in a sketch about Charles Lindbergh.


# Special Original airdate
1 "Live from Mardi Gras" February 20, 1977
The cast and crew participate in the annual Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans. Jane Curtin and Buck Henry try to provide commentary on the parade. Eric Idle and Penny Marshall and Henry Winkler cameo in the special.

DVD release[edit]

The Mardi Gras Special and all 22 episodes were released on a DVD set on December 4, 2007.[4]


  1. ^ Jones, Brian (September 29, 2013). "Escape from “Saturday Night Live,” birth of “The Muppet Show”". Salon. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Three Muppet Conflicts & How They Were Resolved". Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (March 3, 2008). "'SNL' Writer Narrows the Gap Between Politics and Farce". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-29. Mr. Downey joined “SNL” in its second season, alongside another new hire, Bill Murray. Mr. Downey left in 1980, going on to become head writer for “Late Night With David Letterman” before returning in 1984. 
  4. ^ "Saturday Night Live - The Complete 2nd Season". TV Guide Online. Retrieved 2015-03-29.