Saturday Night Live (season 4)

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Saturday Night Live (season 4)
The title card for the fourth season of Saturday Night Live.
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes20
Original networkNBC
Original releaseOctober 7, 1978 (1978-10-07) –
May 26, 1979 (1979-05-26)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 3
Next →
Season 5
List of Saturday Night Live episodes

The fourth season of Saturday Night Live, an American sketch comedy series, originally aired in the United States on NBC between October 7, 1978, and May 26, 1979.

The entire cast from the previous season returned. This would be the final season for Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Aykroyd and Belushi left to work on the film The Blues Brothers.

The season four DVD was released on December 2, 2008.


The cast remained the same as last season except Bill Murray replaced Dan Aykroyd as anchor for Weekend Update

Cast roster[edit]

bold denotes Weekend Update anchor


Walter Williams, creator of the Mr. Bill shorts, joined the writing staff.

This season's writers were Dan Aykroyd, Anne Beatts, Tom Davis, Jim Downey, Brian Doyle-Murray, Al Franken, Brian McConnachie, Lorne Michaels, Don Novello, Herb Sargent, Tom Schiller, Rosie Shuster, Walter Williams and Alan Zweibel. The head writer was Herb Sargent.


No. in
HostMusical guest(s)Original air date
671The Rolling StonesThe Rolling StonesOctober 7, 1978 (1978-10-07)

682Fred WillardDevoOctober 14, 1978 (1978-10-14)

693Frank ZappaFrank ZappaOctober 21, 1978 (1978-10-21)

  • Frank Zappa was unpopular with the cast and crew through both rehearsals and taping of the episode, possibly in part because their lax views on drug and alcohol consumption did not mesh with his anti-drug stance.[2] This is highlighted in the sketch "Night on Freak Mountain", which also features Paul Shaffer as Don Kirshner. Throughout the episode, he regularly mugs for the camera and frequently notes to the audience that he is reading from cue cards.[2]
  • Zappa and his band performed "Dancin' Fool"[1] from the 1979's Sheik Yerbouti, "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing"[1] from 1981's You Are What You Is, and the instrumental "Rollo",[1] which had been cut from 1974's Apostrophe (') and would remain unreleased until 2006's Imaginary Diseases.[2]
  • During Zappa's performance of "Rollo", John Belushi, in character as Samurai Futaba, briefly appears on stage with the group.[2] Singing into a microphone duct taped to the body of an electric guitar, Belushi carries out a call and response bit with Zappa's band.
704Steve MartinVan MorrisonNovember 4, 1978 (1978-11-04)

  • This is Steve Martin's sixth time as host.
  • Van Morrison performed two songs from his September 1978 release Wavelength: the title track and "Kingdom Hall".[1][3]
  • The last sketch was cut short. When the show closes, Martin announces there were technical problems and that the sketch would resume the next time he hosted.
715Buck HenryGrateful DeadNovember 11, 1978 (1978-11-11)

726Carrie FisherThe Blues BrothersNovember 18, 1978 (1978-11-18)

  • The Blues Brothers open the show with "Soul Man", and perform a medley of "Got Everything I Need, Almost" and "'B' Movie Box Car Blues"[1]
  • An appearance by Father Guido Sarducci. Also seen are Paul Shaffer, Harry Shearer and Al Franken in the Beach Blanket sketch.
737Walter MatthaunoneDecember 2, 1978 (1978-12-02)

  • There is no billed musical guest for this episode. At host Matthau's request, Garrett Morris performed Mozart's "Dalla sua pace" ("On her peace"), an aria from Don Giovanni.
748Eric IdleKate BushDecember 9, 1978 (1978-12-09)

759Elliott GouldPeter Tosh with Mick JaggerDecember 16, 1978 (1978-12-16)

  • Elliott Gould (4th time hosting) and Garrett Morris sing "It's Christmas Time in Harlem" during the opening monologue, accompanied by Paul Shaffer
  • Tosh and Jagger perform "(You Gotta Walk And) Don't Look Back", and Tosh performs "Bush Doctor"[1]
  • "Mommie Dearest" sketch
  • "Point/Counterpoint" regarding relations with China
  • The comedy team of "Bob and Ray"
7610Michael PalinThe Doobie BrothersJanuary 27, 1979 (1979-01-27)

7711Cicely TysonTalking HeadsFebruary 10, 1979 (1979-02-10)

7812Ricky NelsonJudy CollinsFebruary 17, 1979 (1979-02-17)

7913Kate JacksonDelbert McClintonFebruary 24, 1979 (1979-02-24)

  • McClinton performs "B Movie"[1]
  • A running gag throughout the show is Fred Silverman trying to sabotage NBC's line-up
  • Brian Doyle-Murray is one of the people taking a tour during the opening monologue
  • Kate Jackson plays a nurse who Bill Murray falls for in a sketch involving the Nerds
  • Andy Kaufman plays the bongos and yodels
  • "Bad Cabarat for Children" with Leonard Pinth-Garnell
  • Mr. Bill Goes on a Diet
8014Gary BuseyEubie Blake & Gregory Hines
Gary Busey with Rick Danko & Paul Butterfield
March 10, 1979 (1979-03-10)

  • Brian Doyle-Murray is one of Belushi's sycophants during the cold open and also appears as an audience member with a question in "Women's Problems"
  • Paul Shaffer plays the bass in Busey's rock-n-roll band in the 1950s sketch
  • Bill Murray stars in the Tom Schiller short, "Perchance to Dream"
  • Busey's band performed "Stay All Night"[1]
  • Blake and Hines performed a medley of "Low-down Blues", "I'm Just Simply Full of Jazz", and "I'm Just Wild about Harry"[1]
8115Margot KidderThe ChieftainsMarch 17, 1979 (1979-03-17)

  • Lorne Michaels and the production staff appear with Margot and Gilda in the opening monologue.
  • The Chieftains performed "If I Had Maggie in the Woods" and "Morning Dew"[1]
  • "Point/Counterpoint" regarding Lee Marvin's palimony case.
  • Mr Bill hides from Mr Hand.
8216Richard BenjaminRickie Lee JonesApril 7, 1979 (1979-04-07)

8317Milton BerleOrnette ColemanApril 14, 1979 (1979-04-14)

  • Berle's long opening monologue featured bits from his nightclub stand-up routine that did not mesh with the younger audience, including jokes about women, "Arabs", George Burns, and retirees in Miami Beach.[7][8] After about five minutes, an off-stage Bill Murray dropped a large pipe, making a loud noise and disrupting the comedian's routine.[9] Shortly after, Berle was told by a producer at the foot of the stage that the monologue was over, which he responded incredulously to and briefly contested.[7] During the audience's applause while transitioning to commercial, he can be seen angrily yelling while the house band looks on nervously.[8]
  • While on-air, Berle frequently mugged for the audience, did spit-takes, and ad-libbed straight to the camera.[7]
  • At the end of the show, Berle broke into a "dreary version" of the 1950s standard "September Song" and according to Lorne Michaels, loaded the audience with friends and family members who awarded his performance of the tune with a standing ovation.[7] Michaels told Wilson immediately afterwards that this show was the worst ever; he kept it from appearing in syndicated reruns later.[10]
  • Coleman performed "Times Square"[1]
8418Michael PalinJames TaylorMay 12, 1979 (1979-05-12)

  • The opening monologue featured a song by Taylor, the first of three in the show. Taylor performed "Johnny Comes Back", "Up on the Roof", and "Millworker".[1]
  • Dickens's "Miles Cowperthwaite", Part 2.
  • Mr Bill Runs Away From Home.
8519Maureen StapletonLinda Ronstadt
Phoebe Snow
May 19, 1979 (1979-05-19)

8620Buck HenryBette MidlerMay 26, 1979 (1979-05-26)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 124–127. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  2. ^ a b c d "Saturday Night Live > Season 4 > Episode 3 : Frank Zappa". October 21, 1978.
  3. ^ "Saturday Night Live > Season 4 > Episode 4 : Steve Martin/Van Morrison". November 4, 1978.
  4. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. p. 91. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  5. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. p. 119. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  6. ^ "Season 4: Episode 11". Saturday Night Live Transcripts. February 10, 1979.
  7. ^ a b c d Kovalchik, Kara (July 9, 2008). "5 Awful Saturday Night Live Hosts of the '70s". Mental Floss. Archived from the original on September 17, 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Season 4: Episode 17, 78q: Milton Berle / Ornette Coleman". Saturday Night Live Transcripts.
  9. ^ Trivia for Saturday Night Live Milton Berle/Ornette Coleman (1979) on IMDb
  10. ^ Hill, Doug; Weingrad, Jeff (2011). "33: Off the Air". Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live. Untreed Reads. ISBN 9781611872187. Retrieved May 1, 2015.