Saturday Night Live

Season 1 Episode 12

Dick Cavett/Jimmy Cliff

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Jan 31, 1976 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
25 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Live from New York, It's... Chevy Chase! Sketches include "Voodoo on Chevy Chase," "Bullets & Alcohol," "Dick Cavett School Of Auto Refinishing & Upholstery," "H&L Brock" (three parts), "Felina Cat Food," "Dick Cavett School Of Hydroplane Operation," "Our Town," "Dick and the Lookalike," "The Tailor & The Plastic Surgeon" (film), "Dance To The Nation," "Looks At Books," "The Apple Follies" (film), and a guest performance by Al Alen Peterson. Jimmy Cliff performed "The Harder They Come," "Many Rivers to Cross," and "Wahjaka Man."moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Dick Cavett hosts this episode of Saturday Night (not SNL yet) with musical guest Jimmy Cliff along with special guests Marshall Efron and comedian Al Alan Petersen.

    The series is getting closer and closer to what it is like today although the "special guests" doesn't really happen anymore. SNL does have many frequent cameos but they usually show up out of nowhere and unexpectedly where here, they were announced along with the host and musical guest.

    Host: Dick Cavett

    Musical Guest: Jimmy Cliff

    Cold Open: Chevy Voodoo (Chase, Morris)

    --Chevy and Garrett have a quick chat and he tells Morris that he's pretty upset that he's not in the show very much with him this week. Garrett seems fine about it but then when Chevy leaves, he performs some voodoo on him causing him to take the fall off the stage. Garrett saying "Chevy" over and over again in his witch doctor voice is quite amusing.

    Monologue: Humour (Cavett)

    --Dick Cavett is a very charming personality and he gives a funny and intelligent monologue that manages to entertain. I especially like the "ending" of the monologue.

    Bullets & Alcohol (Belushi, Chase, Curtin, Newman)

    --Ann (Curtin) gets a visit from her boyfriend, Michael (Chase), who carries a rifle and ends up being pretty clumsy with it much to the acceptance of Ann and her levels of tolerance eventually get pretty ridiculous but pretty funny. See, if this sketch was done today, Cavett would've done Chevy's role.

    Commercial: Dick Cavett School of Auto Refinishing & Upholstery (Cavett)

    --Dick Cavett shills his school that has really shifted his career in the right direction. I love his jingle at the end.

    Jimmy Cliff sings "The Harder They Come"

    --Jimmy sings the theme song from the movie of the same name and it's a really catchy reggae tune.

    Commercial: H&L Brock (Belushi)

    --Belushi shines in the first in this trio of sketches where he advertises for H&L Brock, the tax fraud people.

    Weekend Update with Chevy Chase (also: Dan Aykroyd, Laraine Newman, and Gilda Radner)

    --Chase is in top form this week with the jokes (my favourite is the story on Professor Backwards and his reaction afterwards) and an amusing "artist's rendering" as well. Newman interviews a mercenary from Angola (Aykroyd), which turns into a makeout session and then Emily Litella stops by to comment on an "Eagle Rights Amendment." We also get the "News for 'I Love Lucy' Fans."

    Commercial: Felina Cat Food

    --Repeat from the Rob Reiner episode.

    Commercial: Dick Cavett School of Hydroplane Operation (Cavett)

    --Another good closing line for this one.

    Our Town (Cavett)

    --A resident (Cavett) of New York City tells of "the town" in a quaint manner, but mentions a lot of shady-type places. "I reckon that's old Mrs. Grossman getting raped and strangled in the alley..." Great stuff.

    Jimmy Cliff sings "Many Rivers to Cross"

    --Another great tune from Cliff which is much different from his other one. Jimmy Cliff was probably my favourite musical guest from the first season.

    Dick Cavett Lookalike (Cavett, Marshall Effron)

    --A segment in which Dick announces the winner of the Dick Cavett lookalike contest, Dwayne Christensen (Effron), who of course looks nothing like Cavett but claims that people have confused him for the celebrity. Like Dick says at the end of this, this was kinda silly...and pointless.

    Weis Film #5: The Tailor and the Plastic Surgeon

    --This week's film by Gary Weis focuses on how a tailor says he would improve a plastic surgeon's outfit while the plastic surgeon says how he would improve a tailor's face. This was alright, but still a waste of film.

    Dance To The Nation (Chase, Curtin)

    --An announcer (Chase) asks questions to the first lady Betty Ford (Curtin) from people around the world while Betty dances around. Amusing bit that doesn't go on too long.

    H&L Brock II (Belushi)

    --Another bit with Lowell Brock (Belushi) as he gives more reasons to choose H&L Brock. Good stuff.

    Looks At Books (Cavett, Chase)

    --Chevy interviews Dick Cavett, who has recently written a book about being a pimp and it turns out that Cavett doesn't exactly do what Chevy does. Cavett's deadpan humour is pretty funny.

    Jimmy Cliff sings "Wahjaka Man"

    --This is another classic from Cliff and it has a really nice beat to it with a catchy rhythm.

    H&L Brock III (Belushi)

    --This is the best one of the three only because Lorne Michaels sneaks underneath Belushi's chair and ties his shoelaces together, causing him to crack up.

    Home Movie: The Apple Follies

    --The first of the home movies about a city of apples. Pretty good start to an uneven series.

    Al Alan Petersen

    --Comedian Al Alan Petersen performs "I've Gotta Be Me" and slowly 'transforms'. The transition he makes is quite hilarious.

    Dick says some quick goodnights and then we just cut to credits over a montage recycled from the opening.

    Best segment: Our Town

    Worst segment: Weis Film #5: The Tailor and the Plastic Surgeon

    Host: Dick Cavett - 8/10

    Musical Guest: Jimmy Cliff - 9/10

    This was an episode that was good but didn't really have any truly outstanding sketches (outside of the "Our Town" segment). Dick Cavett made for a very capable host and his deadpan humour and comic timing made for some very funny moments as well (he kind of reminded me of Buck Henry hosting). Jimmy Cliff was outstanding as the musical guest and is probably the best one they had during the first season. The cast was kind of relegated to less screen time this time as basically everyone whose name wasn't Chevy Chase were underexposed.

    Rating: 7.25/10moreless

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • During the third "H&L Brock" sketch, Lorne Michaels sneaks under John Belushi's chair and ties his shoelaces together. This would explain Belushi's breaking character during the sketch.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Chevy Chase: (Talking on the phone): No. Remember that night on the freeway? That truck that passed us? I swear they could see your head. Honey, it did not look like you were napping...

    • Lowell Brock: Hi, I'm Lowell Brock, for H&L Brock, with more of my seventeen reasons why you should bring your taxes to us, insa- instead of H&R Block. [he sits in the chair]

      Reason number one: [SUPER: "REASON #1: WE CHEAT FOR YOU"] we are willing to cheat for you. Take for example, this little item [indicates folder]- reason number two: [SUPER: "REASON #2: BOGUS RECEIPT SERVICE"] our bogus receipt service. [Spreads folder to show various fake receipts]. We can fabricate entire business trips using our collection of all the standard receipt forms used by [points to various receipts] legitimate restaurants, airlines, car rentals, or any expense remotely related to your business. [closes folder]

      Why pay costly taxes [removes his glasses] when you don't have to? [SUPER: "H&L BROCK: THE TAX FRAUD PEOPLE"] Bring your taxes to H&L Brock and don't you be a chump this year.

    • Chevy Chase: Well, the popular TV personality known as "Professor Backwards" was slain in Atlanta yesterday by three masked gunmen. According to reports, neighbors ignored the Professor's cries of "Pleh! Pleh!"
      (groans from the audience)
      Chevy Chase: I'm sorry . . .

  • NOTES (3)

    • Dick Cavett ends his monologue by shooting a life-size stuffed cow out of the sky. The cow-dropping bit is a take-off on Monty Python's "16-ton weight" gag, designed to end a sketch without having to write an actual ending.

    • The NBC rerun on 8/30/80 cut the H&L Brock segments, the second Dick Cavett school ad (Hydroplane Operation), and Our Town. The Bee Heritage was added from Cavett's second hosting gig.

    • The show ran long and the goodnights cut off after the Delta Airlines and Brooks Van Horne credits. Reruns use the credits from Cavett's November '76 show.