Saturday Night Live

Season 3 Episode 20

Buck Henry/Sun Ra

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM May 20, 1978 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
12 votes
  • "You have to be crazy to live in Sodom. Crazy about sodomy."

    Well, we've finally made it to the end of the third season. Does anyone read these things? Anyway, we have reliable Mr. Buck Henry back in this episode to host the season finale as per his usual ritual now and this marks his sixth time hosting. Joining Buck is the very unusual Sun Ra (or Herman Blount), a man who believed in afrofuturism and claimed that he was from an "Angel race" from Saturn. Hmm. Oh yeah, I guess he's a musician too. Alright, so here we go with the last episode of the season! Plus: End-of-Season Awards will be in this review this time.

    Host: Buck Henry
    Musical Guest: Sun Ra

    "The Boy in the Plastic Pants Suit"...oh my, more Travolta bashing.

    Cold Open: Nixon's Book (Aykroyd, Morris) (3:10)

    --Shamed Ex-President Nixon (Aykroyd) addresses the people who don't want to buy the book and instead tells people that they can kick it right after if they want. Solid start if only for Dan's spot-on Nixon impression.

    Monologue (Henry) (3:29)

    --Buck states that he was brought back to host because he brings a sense of class to the show but the scrolling text gives another completely different reason.

    Prom Night Nerds (Henry, Curtin, Murray, Radner) (7:50)

    --Lisa Loopner (Radner) talks with her mother (Curtin) and waits for Todd (Murray) to escort her to the prom. This time, Todd's dad (Henry) also shows up and proceeds to hit on Enid in a similar nerdy fashion. I love how no matter what situation they put these characters in, they never really change their true selves. Another thumbs up for the nerds.

    Samurai T.V. Repairman (Henry, Belushi) (3:27)

    --Mr. Dantley (Henry) brings his television set in to the Samurai (Belushi), making his 14th appearance. Nothing will ever match Samurai Delicatessen, but this is another really amusing Samurai bit.

    Sodom Chamber of Commerce (Henry, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Murray, Newman, Radner) (4:19)

    --The head of the Sodom Chamber of Commerce, Abanasher (Henry), tells his people that others look upon Sodom as a vile place. Noab the Hittite (Murray) shows up to try and turn things around like playing down the sodomy aspect. Really twisted sketch that is pretty damn funny.

    Weekend Update with Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin (also: Voice of Laraine Newman (9:41)

    --Following a humourous flub by Don Pardo during the introductions, Jane talks of McDonald's recalling hamburgers in one of the highlights. We get our final season three Point/Counterpoint for more guaranteed laughs involving jogging. Laraine Newman reports from a Brooklyn courtroom where David Berkowitz is on trial as a dog is on the witness stand. But of course, we only see this as a badly-drawn artist's rendering. Finally, Bill Murray gives his review of "The Greek Tycoon" based on a short clip, but realizes in the middle of it that the film is so close to Onassis' life that he tries to call her. Good, solid edition of Update and Danny's last.

    The Olympia Cafe (Henry, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Murray, Newman, Radner) (5:01)

    --More fun from the folks over at the Olympia Cafe. This time, Al (Henry) from Lease-A-Doberman shows up to sell a guard dog for a protection, but that means Niko (Murray) has to be fired. I felt bad for Murray's character here, as he kept getting fired and re-hired by Pete (Belushi). Another gem though.

    Mr. Mike's Least-Loved Music (Newman) (2:56)

    --Mr. Mike sings a dark tune much like the style of his bedtime tales, while a vampire (Newman) covered in blood does some sign language and then takes some blood. Another really dark piece by O'Donoghue.

    More Insects To Worry About (Henry, Curtin) (4:40)

    --Joan Face (Curtin) this time welcomes Dr. Russell Bedanza (Henry), who describes more disgusting insects like ones that live in the human brain and carry large items to burrow in there. Good stuff.

    Stunt Puppy (Henry, Curtin, Morris, Murray, Radner) (4:53)

    --The second and final of the "Stunt..." series, this time with a puppy and the psychotic father (Henry) taking it out on the aforementioned canine. Great sketch for the absolute violence and the smarmy performance by Murray.

    Bad Conceptual Art (Aykroyd, Morris, Newman, Radner) (2:57)

    --Leonard Pinth-Garnell (Aykroyd) introduces "Pavlov Video Chicken One" that features a woman (Radner) dancing for 378 consecutive hours while a woman's (Newman) mouth and a man's (Morris) eye are shown on two TVs in the background. More good crap.

    The Franken & Davis Show (Davis, Franken) (4:18)

    --The comedic writing duo come out in sumo costumes, as Al announces his wife and son and then Tom's woman he's living with who are in the audience. Davis then interrupts the routine to make a confession that the two of them are homosexual lovers, which eventually results in Al committing suicide. Another brilliant edition of the show.

    Sun Ra sings "Space is the Place" & "Space-Loneliness" (6:05)

    --Wow, he got shafted to the 10-to-1 spot. Bizarre is one way to describe this. Another way would be really strange and messed-up and original and innovative as all hell.

    Buck says goodnight and wishes everyone a good summer with cast in tow.

    Best segment: Sodom Chamber of Commerce
    Worst segment: There really wasn't a bad one.

    Host: Buck Henry - 8.5/10
    Musical Guest: Sun Ra - 8/10

    What a wonderful way to close out the season. Buck delivered a showstopping performance as he usually did and was clearly game for anything the writers wanted to throw at him including a sketch all about making sodomy look good, which was my favourite one of the night for sure. Sun Ra was a most interesting musical guest and the reason I gave him such a high rating because for those six minutes he was given to perform, he made the most out of it and gave a wild, wacky, weird, and most importantly ORIGINAL performance. The rest of the show coasted from funny sketch to funny sketch with the most recurring characters/sketches that I think I've ever seen in an early era episode. Terrific season finale where you would usually expect them to slum it, but not this time.

    Rating: 9/10

    And without further adieu, the end-of-the-year awards.

    Best Host: Steve Martin (9/24/77, 1/21/78, & 4/22/78)
    Worst Host: Miskel Spillman (12/17/77)

    Best Musical Guest: Elvis Costello (12/17/77)
    Worst Musical Guest: Keith Jarrett (4/15/78)

    Best Overall Episode: Steve Martin/Blues Brothers (4/22/78)
    Worst Overall Episode: O.J. Simpson/Ashford & Simpson (2/25/78)

    Best sketch: King Tut (4/15/78)
    Worst sketch: Hercules Movie Dub (10/8/77)

    Well that's it for me for a while as exams are finishing up and then Christmas will be upon us so...happy holidays, folks!
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