Saturday Night Live

Season 1 Episode 10

Buck Henry/Bill Withers, Toni Basil

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Jan 17, 1976 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
30 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Live from New York, It's... Chevy Chase! Sketches include "Suicide Prevention Hotline," "Samurai Deli," "Presidential Foreplay," "Operation Stumblebum," "Citizen Kane II," "Auto Mechanic Bedtime Story," "Evelyn Woodski," "Germasol," "Dope User," "Japanese Sex Device," "The Funniest Person In Town" (film), "Wrigley's," and "Constipated Neighbor." The Blues Brothers performed "King Bee," Bill Withers performed "Ain't No Sunshine" and Toni Basil performed "Wham Re-Bop Boom Bam."moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • This episode marks the first of Buck Henry's many appearances as host of "Saturday Night Live." The episode contains some of the show's most memorable skectches as well as terrific musical performances by Bill Withers and Toni Basil.moreless

    I will start off by stating the obvious: "Samurai Delicatesen" is the hands down best of all of Belushi's Samurai sketches and is even one of the all time best period. However that is not the only reason to tune into this terrific episode. The great musical performances are another, espcially the performance by Howard Shore and his All-Bee Band which gave us a glimpse of what would eventually become the Blues Brothers. Chevy Chase is once again in top form as the anchor of Weekend Update. "Citizen Kane II" is yet another great sketch. Be sure to catch it!moreless
  • Buck Henry hosts for the first time with musical guests Bill Withers and Toni Basil! This is another classic episode.

    This would mark Buck Henry's first of TEN hosting stints on Saturday Night Live as he would also go on to host every season finale from seasons 2-5. Buck was just a writer and not really much of an actor, but he sure proved that he had a knack for comedy after doing this show and this is the first night of his memorable SNL career.

    Host: Buck Henry

    Musical Guests: Bill Withers and Toni Basil

    Cold Open: Suicide Prevention Center (Chase)

    --Really short opening with Chevy stumbling over answering the phone to a suicide prevention center and then opening the show. Can't really say anything positive or negative about that one.

    Monologue: Alternatives (Henry)

    --Buck opens the show by talking about how he probably wasn't the first choice to host the show while alternate names scroll on the screen of other people that were asked before Buck along with other things to contradict what Buck says to the audience. Great start.

    Samurai Delicatessen (Henry, Belushi)

    --Samurai Futaba (Belushi) works at a deli this time and prepares a sandwich for Mr. Dantley (Henry) in a hilarious manner. The acting by Belushi and Henry is outstanding here and it makes this a really memorable and hilarious sketch.

    Presidential Foreplay (Curtin, Radner)

    --A woman (Curtin) interviews Linda Louise (Radner), who claims to have slept with President Kennedy but soon appears to be very clueless. Radner's pretty amusing here and the sketch is decent.

    Operation Stumblebum (Henry, Belushi, Chase, Morris)

    --This is a great sketch to highlight Chase's Gerald Ford impression as he stumbles around in preparation for a speech. Ron Nessen (Henry) then unleashes a plan known as "Operation Stumblebum" that will make it look like the president (Chase) is not as clumsy as people think. Hilarious stuff here.

    Bill Withers sings "Ain't No Sunshine"

    --Good performance of a classic tune.

    Commercial: The Evelyn Woodski School of Speed Reading (Newman)

    --Evelyn Woodski (Newman) teaches people how to read quickly, but can't seem to do it herself. Funny one-joke sketch.

    Weekend Update with Chevy Chase (also: Buck Henry and Garrett Morris)

    --Chevy is on his game in this episode as he riffs on Francisco Franco, Ford, and the gang as per usual but also does a great bit on a Japanese politician's death and again has trouble getting through to Angola, accidentally reaching a janitor (Morris). I love how the "killer dope" story continues here as well. Henry Zuckerman (Henry) also does an editorial on masturbating while Chevy makes faces behind his back. Pretty entertaining edition.

    Commercial: Germasol

    --A housewife (Radner) is taught by her friends (Curtin, Newman) to use Germasol rub-on to get rid of the odours in her house. Funny visual gag.

    Citizen Kane II (Henry, Aykroyd, Belushi, Chase, Morris, Newman)

    --One of the great ensemble sketches as it is discovered that Kane (Aykroyd) had additional last words that Mr. Thompson (Henry) hears as they try to decipher it by way of memories of Jed Leland (Chase), Mr. Bernstein (Belushi), and a delivery boy that has a lot more to do with the story than they think. Best sketch of the night.

    The Muppets: Scred's Sex Device

    --Another edition of the Muppets, this time with Scred introducing Peutah to a Japanese sex device that he ordered. Bland and boring sex jokes fill this waste of time.

    Commercial: Triple Trac

    --A repeat from the first show.

    Toni Basil sings "Wham Re-Bop Boom Bam"

    --This song is full of energy and is pretty silly, but its short and catchy.

    Debbie's Bedtime Story (Aykroyd, Curtin, Radner)

    --Debbie (Radner) listens to her dad (Aykroyd) talk about working at the auto shop as part of a bedtime story. The sketch takes a funny twist at the end.

    Dope User (Aykroyd, Chase)

    --Quick and funny bit where a man (Chase) tries to smoke a joint in ridiculous ways. Quite a funny ending too.

    Weis Film #3: The Funniest Person in Town (Henry)

    --Buck Henry goes from person to person trying to find the funniest person in town. This is pretty funny in a subtle way.

    The Blues Bees, Howard Shore, and the All-Bee Band sing "King Bee" (Aykroyd, Belushi)

    --Aykroyd and Belushi, donned in bee costumes, sing "King Bee" in a way that seems like it's a precursor to the Blues Brothers. Really energetic musical performance here.

    Mr. Mike's Mike Douglas Impression

    --Mr. Mike (staff writer Michael O'Donoghue) makes his debut and does an impression of Mike Douglas with needles plunged in his eyes.

    Commercial: American Constipation Society (Henry, Chase, Curtin, Morris, Radner)

    --Fred (Henry) is berated by his wife (Curtin), friends (Chase, Radner), and the local officer (Morris) when he tells his wife that he's constipated. Amusing, but definitely not up to par with the best sketches on this show.

    Buck and the cast say their goodnights and we round out another episode of season one.

    Best segment: Citizen Kane II

    Worst segment: The Muppets: Scred's Sex Device

    Host: Buck Henry - 9/10

    Musical Guests: Bill Withers - 7.5/10

    Toni Basil - 6.5/10

    This is a great episode with three really, really good sketches that stand out for me in the entire first season. Buck Henry proves to be the best host so far and knows how to write a good monologue as well as the fact that he can play straight man with great subtle humour to get a huge response from an audience. This episode had to be a big surprise to viewers when they first saw it as Buck Henry, like mentioned before, was not a comedian or actor. The music was decent as well (mostly the good coming out of the Blues Bees), but not terrific, but this show's three powerful sketches really raises its status.

    Rating: 8/10moreless
Bill Withers

Bill Withers


Guest Star

Toni Basil

Toni Basil


Guest Star

Alan Zweibel

Alan Zweibel


Guest Star

Neil Levy

Neil Levy


Recurring Role

Buck Henry

Buck Henry


Recurring Role

Tom Schiller

Tom Schiller

Henri, Kane's Lackey/Various

Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Chevy Chase won an Emmy for "Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in Variety or Music" for this episode.

    • Buck Henry and Chevy Chase crack up during the "Citizen Kane II" sketch.

    • In the "Operation Stumblebum" sketch, Ron Nessen (Buck Henry) instructs President Ford on how to go down three steps to the conference room. He accidentally gives the same option twice by saying "you will be either using your left foot twice and your right foot once, or your right foot once and your left foot twice."

  • QUOTES (2)

    • [Open on President Ford at his desk reading a document, with Press Secretary Ron Nessen seated in a chair to Ford's right. Ford's (stuffed) dog Liberty is on the floor at his left. Ford takes a pen from the pen holder in front of him and tries to sign the document.]
      Ron Nessen: Mr. President, you're signing your hand.
      [Ford calmly places the pen back in its holder and looks over at Nessen]
      Gerald Ford: Come on in and sit down, Ron.
      [Nessen gets up from his chair, walks out the door, shuts it, reopens it, walks back in and sits in the same chair]
      Gerald Ford: Now what's this about a press conference, Ron?
      Ron Nessen: You called it, Mr. President.
      Gerald Ford: Called it what?
      Ron Nessen: No, you called the press conference, Sir.
      Gerald Ford: I see. [Looks over at Liberty] Heel, Liberty. [Looking back at Nessen] Sit down and make yourself comfortable, Ron.
      Ron Nessen: I am sitting, Mr. President.
      Gerald Ford: Ah! Then you must be comfortable.
      Ron Nessen: Yes, Sir. Thank you.
      Gerald Ford: I'm pretty comfortable myself.
      Ron Nessen: That's good.
      Gerald Ford: [Looks around the Oval Office] I just don't see what's so awful about this room, personally.
      Ron Nessen: No, Sir, Oval. It's the Oval Office, sir.
      Gerald Ford: Ah!
      Ron Nessen: Not awful, Oval, round.

    • Chevy Chase: Good evening, I'm Chevy Chase, and I love you all very deeply.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Buck Henry's character's name during Weekend Update is Henry Zuckerman, Buck's real name.

    • Writer Alan Zweibel plays a corpse in two different sketches in this episode.

    • The sketch "Samurai Deli" played brilliantly by John Belushi and Buck Henry was named #69 on TV Guide / TV Lands 100 Most Memorable TV Moments in December of 2004.

    • While they aren't credited for their appearance, The Blues Brothers are backed by Howard Shore and "His All-Bee Band."

    • This is Buck Henry's first appearance as host. He will host nine more time in the next five years. Many consider him as one of the Not Ready For Prime Time Players instead of just a guest host whenever he appeared.