Saturday Night Live (season 31)

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Saturday Night Live (season 31)
The title card for the thirty-first season of Saturday Night Live.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 19
Release
Original network NBC
Original release October 1, 2005 (2005-10-01) – May 20, 2006 (2006-05-20)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 30
Next →
Season 32
List of Saturday Night Live episodes

The thirty-first season of Saturday Night Live, an American sketch comedy series, originally aired in the United States on NBC between October 1, 2005, and May 20, 2006. 19 episodes were produced (rather than the usual 20) due to the 2006 Winter Olympic Games.

History[edit]

This season is notable for the people who hosted the show. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, an SNL cast member from 1982 to 1985 under Dick Ebersol, became the first former female cast member to come back and host the show (and also the third cast member from Seinfeld to host). It is worth noting that Gilda Radner was originally supposed to host in 1988, but could not due to the Writer's Guild of America Strike and then Radner's death the following year. This season is also known for the return of such frequent hosts as Alec Baldwin (who last hosted in season 29 with musical guest Missy Elliott in 2003), Tom Hanks (who last hosted the first episode of season 22 with musical guest Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1996), and Steve Martin (who last hosted the first episode of season 20 with musical guest, Eric Clapton in 1994).

This season saw the seventh death of a former cast member when Charles Rocket committed suicide.[1]

This season was the first to broadcast in high-definition (HD), after 30 years of broadcasting in analog.[2]

A 30th anniversary special for the show was planned, but scrapped due to budget cuts.[citation needed]

Cast[edit]

Changes and notes[edit]

Before the start of the season, featured player Rob Riggle was let go from the show. Finesse Mitchell and Kenan Thompson were both promoted to repertory status.

The show added three new cast members: Los Angeles-based sketch comedian Bill Hader, Andy Samberg (the show also hired his two friends Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone as writers, all members of The Lonely Island sketch group) and Kristen Wiig of The Groundlings. Wiig debuted on the show in November,[citation needed] in the episode hosted by Jason Lee. Samberg, Schaffer and Taccone would be a notable force for creating SNL Digital Shorts. One such short was "Lazy Sunday".

Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph missed episodes due to maternity leave. Fey's place on Weekend Update was briefly taken over by Horatio Sanz until her return in the episode hosted by Catherine Zeta-Jones. Fey returned to the show before her maternity leave time was up. Maya Rudolph, however, appeared on the first episode of the new season, and then went on maternity leave and returned in February, in the episode hosted by Steve Martin.

This would also be the final season for cast members Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, Finesse Mitchell, Chris Parnell and Horatio Sanz, as well as the last season for longtime director Beth McCarthy-Miller. Dratch and Fey both left the show to focus on 30 Rock and McCarthy-Miller left the show on her own terms.[vague] Parnell, Mitchell, and Sanz were let go due to NBC budget cuts.[citation needed]

Cast roster[edit]

bold denotes Weekend Update anchor

Writers[edit]

There were three head writers for the 31st season: Andrew Steel,[3] Tina Fey, and Seth Meyers.

Episodes[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
Host Musical guest Original air date
586 1 Steve Carell Kanye West October 1, 2005 (2005-10-01)
587 2 Jon Heder Ashlee Simpson October 8, 2005 (2005-10-08)
  • Ashlee Simpson performs "Catch Me When I Fall" and "Boyfriend".
588 3 Catherine Zeta-Jones Franz Ferdinand October 22, 2005 (2005-10-22)
  • Franz Ferdinand performs "Do You Want To" and "Take Me Out".
  • A still photo of former Jean Doumanian-era cast member and Weekend Update anchor Charles Rocket, who had committed suicide the week before this episode premiered, is shown after Weekend Update in his memory.
  • Tina Fey's first episode back as Weekend Update co-anchor.
589 4 Lance Armstrong Sheryl Crow October 29, 2005 (2005-10-29)
590 5 Jason Lee Foo Fighters November 12, 2005 (2005-11-12)
591 6 Eva Longoria Korn November 19, 2005 (2005-11-19)
592 7 Dane Cook James Blunt December 3, 2005 (2005-12-03)
593 8 Alec Baldwin Shakira December 10, 2005 (2005-12-10)
594 9 Jack Black Neil Young December 17, 2005 (2005-12-17)
  • Neil Young performs "It's a Dream" and "He Was the King". Additionally, Young appears in the "Appalachian Emergency Room" sketch,
  • Johnny Knoxville appears in the "Appalachian Emergency Room" sketch.
  • Darlene Love provides vocals for TV Funhouse cartoon "Christmastime For The Jews" and performs "White Christmas" with the SNL Band.
  • Tracy Morgan appears on Weekend Update.
  • Cast member Horatio Sanz did not appear in this episode
  • Black's Tenacious D partner Kyle Gass appear during the "Spelling Bee" sketch.
  • The SNL Digital Short in this episode, "Lazy Sunday", soon became a cult phenomenon through its exposure on the internet.
595 10 Scarlett Johansson Death Cab for Cutie January 14, 2006 (2006-01-14)
  • Death Cab For Cutie performs "Soul Meets Body" and "Crooked Teeth".
  • An excerpt from the night's TV Funhouse cartoon "The 700 Gang" was used as the cold open.
  • Cast member Darrell Hammond did not appear in this episode.
596 11 Peter Sarsgaard The Strokes January 21, 2006 (2006-01-21)
  • The Strokes perform "Juicebox" and "You Only Live Once".
  • Drew Barrymore appears on Weekend Update.
  • A number of technical issues plagued the "Fairmount Suites Inn" sketch, such as Sarsgaard accidentally disabling the television and visible stagehands.
597 12 Steve Martin Prince February 4, 2006 (2006-02-04)
598 13 Natalie Portman Fall Out Boy March 4, 2006 (2006-03-04)
599 14 Matt Dillon Arctic Monkeys March 11, 2006 (2006-03-11)
  • Arctic Monkeys perform "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and "A Certain Romance". Lead singer Alex Turner became visibly frustrated with the audience reaction during the latter performance, at one point pointing into the crowd and singing "That man just yawned!" to the music.[4]
600 15 Antonio Banderas Mary J. Blige April 8, 2006 (2006-04-08)
601 16 Lindsay Lohan Pearl Jam April 15, 2006 (2006-04-15)
602 17 Tom Hanks Red Hot Chili Peppers May 6, 2006 (2006-05-06)
603 18 Julia Louis-Dreyfus Paul Simon May 13, 2006 (2006-05-13)
  • Paul Simon performs "How Can You Live in the Northeast?" and "Outrageous".
  • Al Gore appears in the cold open and on Weekend Update, the latter written by his daughter and former SNL writer Kristin Gore.
  • Jason Alexander and Jerry Seinfeld appear in the pre-filmed portion of the opening monologue.
  • SNL writer and future cast member Colin Jost makes his first appearance on the show, appearing as an extra in The Morning Show sketch.
604 19 Kevin Spacey Nelly Furtado May 20, 2006 (2006-05-20)

Specials[edit]

Title Original air date
"The Best of David Spade" October 15, 2005 (2005-10-15)
The special presented material featuring David Spade during his stint on the show. Sketches include "Dick Clark's Receptionist", "Gap Girls", "Total Bastard Airlines", "Spade in America", "Stewart Release", "Salon", "Stunt Double", Sean Penn's Celebrity Roast", "Peer Pressure at Valley High", "Dirtball and Burnout Convention", "Karl's Video", "NCI Long Distance", "The Road to Self-Improvement", and "Hollywood Minute".
"The Best of SNL Commercial Parodies" November 5, 2005 (2005-11-05)
The special presented commercial parodies featured on the show.
"Lost & Found: SNL in the '80s" November 13, 2005 (2005-11-13)
Topics of the special include: the Jean Doumanian era as one of SNL's many critical and ratings low points, the cancellation, retooling, and reviving of SNL courtesy of Dick Ebersol and Doumanian-era stand-outs Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo, Murphy and Piscopo emerging as the driving force behind Ebersol's 1981-1984 seasons, Ebersol picking a new cast for season 10 after the departure of Murphy and Piscopo, Lorne Michaels returning to the show and hiring a young cast of semi-famous actors and actresses and the harsh critical response from that decision leading to yet another threat of cancellation, and the second golden age of SNL with season 11 survivors Nora Dunn, Al Franken, Jon Lovitz, A. Whitney Brown, and Dennis Miller and new cast members Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Victoria Jackson, Jan Hooks, Kevin Nealon, and Mike Myers. James Belushi, A. Whitney Brown, Dana Carvey, Billy Crystal, Denny Dillon, Robin Duke, Nora Dunn, Dick Ebersol, Al Franken, Gilbert Gottfried, Mary Gross, Victoria Jackson, Tim Kazurinsky, Gary Kroeger, Neil Levy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jon Lovitz, Gail Matthius, Lorne Michaels, Kevin Nealon, Conan O'Brien, Joe Piscopo, Martin Short, Robert Smigel, Terry Sweeney and Bob Tischler gave insight for the special.
"The Best of TV Funhouse" April 29, 2006 (2006-04-29)
The special presented TV Funhouse material featured on the show. The special was hosted by The Ambiguously Gay Duo, Ace and Gary. Jimmy Fallon cameos near the end of the show. Sketches include "The Ambiguously Gay Duo", "The All-New Adventures of Mr. T", "Fun With Real Audio", "E! Cartoons' The Smurfette Show", "The X-Presidents", "The Religetables" (DVD version only) and "Conspiracy Theory Rock" (DVD version only).

References[edit]

  1. ^ McNamara, Melissa (October 17, 2005). "Former 'SNL' Cast Member Dead". CBS News. Archived from the original on April 19, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Kaplan, Don (April 27, 2005). "'SNL' Goes High-Def". New York Post. Retrieved May 13, 2017. 
  3. ^ McCarthy, Sean L. (18 February 2010). "Executive producer Andrew Steele says HBO's "Funny or Die Presents" is "true to us"". Retrieved 2015-09-20. 
  4. ^ That Man Just Yawned! (Alex Turner) on YouTube