Saturday Night Live (season 23)

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Saturday Night Live (season 23)
The title card for the twenty-third season of Saturday Night Live.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 20
Original network NBC
Original release September 27, 1997 (1997-09-27) – May 9, 1998 (1998-05-09)
Season chronology
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Season 22
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Season 24
List of Saturday Night Live episodes

The twenty-third season of Saturday Night Live, an American sketch comedy series, originally aired in the United States on NBC between September 27, 1997, and May 9, 1998.

Before the season, Colin Quinn was promoted to repertory status and Mark McKinney left the show. This season did not include any featured players or new cast members. It was also the only season to have an opening sequence that did not show any shots of New York City, instead featuring a 1950s-inspired design.

During the season, a controversy arose in which Weekend Update anchor Norm Macdonald was removed from the Update segment after angering NBC executive Don Ohlmeyer with his O. J. Simpson jokes. The weekly inclusion of O.J. jokes upset Ohlmeyer, who was good friends with Simpson. Ohlmeyer arranged to have Macdonald fired from the segment, but not from the show. Macdonald's final episode as Update anchor was on December 13, 1997. Quinn was then promoted to the job and anchored the segment in the next live episode, which aired January 10, 1998. Even though Macdonald still performed in sketches, he was not happy and eventually quit the show; his final appearance was on March 14, 1998.

This season saw the deaths of two former cast members. Six weeks after he came back to host, Chris Farley became the fifth SNL cast member to die prematurely. Similar to his idol, John Belushi, Farley died of a speedball overdose at the age of 33. Two weeks after the season finale, long-time performer Phil Hartman was killed by his wife.


Cast roster[edit]

bold denotes Weekend Update anchor


Tina Fey joins the writing staff in this season. Jim Downey leaves the show after Norm Macdonald was taken off Weekend Update (since Downey co-wrote Update with Macdonald).


No. in
Host Musical guest(s) Original air date
427 1 Sylvester Stallone Jamiroquai September 27, 1997 (1997-09-27)
  • The initial 1996 Olympics bombing suspect Richard Jewell makes a guest appearance, where, in a highly publicized sketch, he punches Janet Reno (played by Will Ferrell) in the gut, with Reno responding, "Same time next week?". Jewell also appeared alongside Norm Macdonald on Weekend Update.
  • Jamiroquai performed "Alright".
428 2 Matthew Perry Oasis October 4, 1997 (1997-10-04)
429 3 Brendan Fraser Björk October 18, 1997 (1997-10-18)
430 4 Chris Farley The Mighty Mighty Bosstones October 25, 1997 (1997-10-25)
431 5 Jon Lovitz Jane's Addiction November 8, 1997 (1997-11-08)
432 6 Claire Danes Mariah Carey November 15, 1997 (1997-11-15)
433 7 Rudolph Giuliani Sarah McLachlan November 22, 1997 (1997-11-22)
434 8 Nathan Lane Metallica & Marianne Faithfull December 6, 1997 (1997-12-06)
435 9 Helen Hunt Hanson December 13, 1997 (1997-12-13)
436 10 Samuel L. Jackson Ben Folds Five January 10, 1998 (1998-01-10)
  • Ben Folds Five performed "Brick".
  • Colin Quinn takes over as Weekend Update anchor in this episode.
437 11 Sarah Michelle Gellar Portishead January 17, 1998 (1998-01-17)
438 12 John Goodman Paula Cole February 7, 1998 (1998-02-07)
  • Dan Aykroyd cameos in this episode, reprising two of his popular recurring characters, Elwood Blues from The Blues Brothers (during the monologue) and Irwin Mainway from "Consumer Probe" (in the Judge Judy sketch). He also impersonates Bob Dole in the cold opening. Aykroyd performed "Lookin' For a Fox".
  • Paula Cole performed "I Don't Want to Wait".
439 13 Roma Downey Missy Misdemeanor Elliott February 14, 1998 (1998-02-14)
440 14 Garth Brooks Garth Brooks February 28, 1998 (1998-02-28)
441 15 Scott Wolf Natalie Imbruglia March 7, 1998 (1998-03-07)
442 16 Julianne Moore Backstreet Boys March 14, 1998 (1998-03-14)
443 17 Steve Buscemi Third Eye Blind April 4, 1998 (1998-04-04)
444 18 Greg Kinnear All Saints April 11, 1998 (1998-04-11)
445 19 Matthew Broderick Natalie Merchant May 2, 1998 (1998-05-02)
446 20 David Duchovny Puff Daddy
Jimmy Page
May 9, 1998 (1998-05-09)


# Special Original airdate
1 "SNL Halloween '97" November 1, 1997 (1997-11-01)
A clip show hosted by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey featuring material from previous shows.
2 "SNL Sports Extra '98" January 24, 1998 (1998-01-24)
A clip show featuring material from previous shows.
3 "Best of the New Season '97-'98" January 31, 1998 (1998-01-31)
A clip show featuring some of the best material from the first half of the '97-'98 season. Sketches include "Well Babies Tragedy," "Cookie Dough Sport," "The View," "The Ladies' Man," and "The Ambiguously Gay Duo".
4 "SNL Remembers Chris Farley" February 21, 1998 (1998-02-21)
The special featured some of the best material featuring Chris Farley during his stint on the show. Sketches include "Chippendales Auditions," "Superfans," "The Chris Farley Show," "Bobby Watches Grandma," "Schmitts Gay," "Focus On Beauty II," "Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker," "Giuliani's Inauguration," "Tater Junction," "Lunchlady Land", "Lillehammer", "Clinton Auditions," "Good Morning Brooklyn," "Japanese Game Show," "Juggernaut Force," "Zagat's," and "Hidden Camera Commercials".
5 "SNL Remembers Phil Hartman" June 13, 1998 (1998-06-13)
The special featured some of the best material featuring Phil Hartman during his stint on the show. *Sketches include "Donahue," "The Crosby Show," "Star Trek Convention," "Discover," "On Broadway," "Church Chat," "Cumpulsion," "Anne Boleyn," "Succinctly Speaking," "All-Drug Olympics," "Nicknames," "Win, Lose, or Tie," "Love is a Dream (film)," "Nancy Reagan Visits," "Robot Repair," "Cooking with the Anal Retentive Chef," "A Betty Ford Straight Arrow Christmas," "Celebrity Lawyer Court," "Greenhilly," "The Sinatra Group," "Clarence Thomas Hearings," "Campaign '92," "Sprockets," "Dick Clark's Snotty Receptionist," "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer," "Johnny Carson's Last Episode," "Perot and Stockdale Car Trip," "Clinton at McDonald's," "Sassy's Sassiest Boys," and "Acting Class".
6 "The Best of Eddie Murphy" August 22, 1998 (1998-08-22)
The special featured some of the best material featuring Eddie Murphy during his tenure on the show. Sketches include "The Little Richard Simmons Show," "Prose and Cons" (film), "Velvet Jones School Of Technology," "Career Corner," "Ebony & Ivory," "Buckwheat Dead," "Stevie Wonder Impersonator," "Rock & Roll... and then some," "Black History Minute," "Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood," "Gumby," "Buckwheat Sings," and "James Brown's Hot Tub Party".