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
Original network NBC
Original release October 1, 2005 (2005-10-01) – May 20, 2006 (2006-05-20)
Season chronology
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Season 30
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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.


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, 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]


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


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


No. in
Host Musical guest Original air date
586 1 Steve Carell Kanye West October 1, 2005
587 2 Jon Heder Ashlee Simpson October 8, 2005
  • Ashlee Simpson performs "Catch Me When I Fall" and "Boyfriend".
588 3 Catherine Zeta-Jones Franz Ferdinand October 22, 2005
  • At the end of "Weekend Update", 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 in his memory.
  • Tina Fey returns to her anchoring duties on Weekend Update.
  • Franz Ferdinand performs "Do You Want To" and "Take Me Out."
589 4 Lance Armstrong Sheryl Crow October 29, 2005
590 5 Jason Lee Foo Fighters November 12, 2005
  • Kristen Wiig's first episode as a cast member.
  • Foo Fighters perform "DOA" and "Best of You".
591 6 Eva Longoria Korn November 19, 2005
592 7 Dane Cook James Blunt December 3, 2005
593 8 Alec Baldwin Shakira December 10, 2005
  • Tim Meadows made a guest appearance during the monologue.
  • Shakira performs "Don't Bother" and "La Tortura", with Alejandro Sanz singing in the latter track.
  • At the end of "Weekend Update", Tina Fey shows a clip from a famous sketch from the show's premiere season where Chevy Chase and then-host Richard Pryor get into a word association that leads to the use of racial epithets, commemorating Pryor's death on the show's original airdate.
594 9 Jack Black Neil Young December 17, 2005
  • Jack Black's Tenacious D partner Kyle Gass appear during the spelling bee sketch.
  • The Digital Short in this episode, Lazy Sunday, soon became a cult phenomenon through its exposure on the Internet.
  • Neil Young performs "It's a Dream" and "He Was the King;" Young also makes an appearance in the Appalachian Emergency Room sketch, which also features a cameo from Johnny Knoxville.
  • Tracy Morgan makes an appearance during Weekend Update.
  • Darlene Love performs "White Christmas" with the SNL Band. She had provided vocals for TV Funhouse cartoon "Christmastime For The Jews". which aired right before this performance.
595 10 Scarlett Johansson Death Cab for Cutie January 14, 2006
  • An excerpt from the night's animated TV Funhouse sketch called "The 700 Gang" was used as the cold opening.
  • Death Cab For Cutie performs "Soul Meets Body" and "Crooked Teeth".
596 11 Peter Sarsgaard The Strokes January 21, 2006
  • Drew Barrymore made a special appearance in the Weekend Update segment.
  • The Strokes performs "Juicebox" and "You Only Live Once."
  • A number of technical issues plagued the "Hotel" segment, such as Sarsgaard accidentally disabling the television and visible stagehands.
597 12 Steve Martin Prince February 4, 2006
  • This is Steve Martin's 14th time hosting.
  • Alec Baldwin and Jimmy Fallon cameo in the live show; Baldwin, Kelly Ripa, Scarlett Johansson, Conan O'Brien, Brian Williams and Gideon Yago all appear in filmed segments.
  • Prince performs "Fury" and collaborates with Támar to perform his second song, "Beautiful, Loved and Blessed".
  • This episode was the highest rated episode of the season, drawing 9.3 million viewers.
598 13 Natalie Portman Fall Out Boy March 4, 2006
599 14 Matt Dillon Arctic Monkeys March 11, 2006
  • Arctic Monkeys perform "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" and "A Certain Romance". During "A Certain Romance", lead singer Alex Turner – visibly frustrated with the audience reaction – points into the crowd and sang "That man just yawned!" to the music.[4]
600 15 Antonio Banderas Mary J. Blige April 8, 2006
601 16 Lindsay Lohan Pearl Jam April 15, 2006
602 17 Tom Hanks Red Hot Chili Peppers May 6, 2006
603 18 Julia Louis-Dreyfus Paul Simon May 13, 2006
  • Al Gore, Jason Alexander, and Jerry Seinfeld make cameos. Al Gore's cold opening was written by his daughter, former SNL staff writer Kristin Gore. Al Gore made two appearances during this episode, first giving a cold opening showing an alternate universe under President Al Gore (where Osama bin Laden is caught and gas prices are at their lowest) and later appears in "Weekend Update" making a debate against Amy Poehler about global warming being bad.
  • Paul Simon performs "How Can You Live in the Northeast?" and "Outrageous".
  • This episode marks Colin Jost's first appearance on the show. He will later become the anchor of Weekend Update in season 39.
604 19 Kevin Spacey Nelly Furtado May 20, 2006


Title Original air date
"The Best of David Spade" October 15, 2005
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
The special presented commercial parodies featured on the show.
"Lost & Found: SNL in the '80s" November 13, 2005
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
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).


  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. ^ Kaplan, Don (April 27, 2005). "'SNL' Goes High-Def". New York Post. Archived from the original on February 17, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  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