Saturday Night Live

Season 2 Episode 3

Eric Idle/Joe Cocker and Stuff

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Oct 02, 1976 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Monty Python invades as Eric Idle hosts this episode of Saturday Night with his musical guests Joe Cocker and back-up band Stuff. Also, Python buddy Neil Innes makes an appearance as well.

    Here's an interesting concept. Let's go out and get one of the funniest men this side of British comedy and team him up with the funniest ensemble in America to see if it gels. Eric Idle, the aforementioned funny British man, would be the first Monty Python member to host the show and would pave the way for Michael Palin to host later on in the show's history and also for John Cleese to make an appearance much, much later. Joe Cocker is the musical guest and is one of Britain's very best musicians so the combining of two fellow countrymen seems to be a good plan. Reportedly, Cocker wasn't too pleased with Belushi's impression of him but was eventually okay with it once they calmed him down the week previous to the show. Stuff is his back-up band and they performed back-up for lots of other singers and bands previous to Cocker. Keep in mind that this is still very early in the season.

    Host: Eric Idle
    Musical Guest: Joe Cocker & Stuff

    Cold Open: The Real Chevy Chase (Chase)

    --Richard Belzer makes an appearance as the "Real Chevy Chase", but then Chevy calls him and argues with him about who the real man truly is. Belzer eventually hangs up on him and lets the phone dangle, but Chase still says the line and opens the show. Funny opening.

    Monologue: "Here Comes the Sun" (Idle, Curtin)

    --Eric starts out by attempting to perform a ridiculous version of "Here Comes the Sun" before being interrupted by Jane Curtin, who tells him he should save it for later. In Python style, this segues right into the opening sketch. So far so good.

    Genetic Counsellor (Idle, Aykroyd, Radner)

    --A genetic counsellor (Idle) helps a couple (Aykroyd, Radner) decide what their child should look like and it gets pretty ridiculous when the decisions are between "feet or pods", "quilted or fur", and other such things. Hilarious way to get going.

    KLOG Radio (Aykroyd)

    --A radio DJ (Aykroyd) switches between AM and FM radio stations flawlessly as he goes from uppity excited AM DJ to downbeat and dark Kenneth Wardell. Great performance by Danny. This one also segues right into the next sketch in another Pythonesque move.

    The Killer Bees (Idle, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Newman, Radner)

    --The Killer Bees (Idle, Aykroyd, Belushi, Morris, and others) make their second appearance in a hospital and mourn the loss of the swine flu as two nurses (Curtin, Radner) try to innoculate people of the affliction. I love the turn the sketch takes with Idle's bee having a very obvious British accent and getting called on it in a breaking-character bit. Hilarious.

    Eric's Song (Idle, Curtin)

    --A second attempt is made at trying to sing the song again, but Curtin tells him to save it until the end. This leads into the introduction for Joe Cocker.

    Joe Cocker sings "You Are So Beautiful"

    --Cocker belts out a classic and this wouldn't even be his best segment on the show.

    Baba Wawa's Farewell (Radner)

    --Baba Wawa (Radner) says her farewell to NBC in a quick bit. This was just there to highlight Radner's impression.

    Weekend Update with Jane Curtin (also: John Belushi and Garrett Morris)

    --"Here now the news." Jane is on her game again this week as we get an artist's rendering on the controversial Ali/Norton championship fight that compliments an earlier punchline and some other good stuff involving an interview with Garrett Morris talking to a priest (writer Alan Zweibel) about the statue of David being vandalized and circumcized. Jane also does a great bit about a correction being made to last week's story and then cuts to an "outtake" from the Johnny Carson show with Ed Ames (Belushi) taking an ax to a cardboard cutout. Another great job by Curtin.

    Commercial: Epifix (Aykroyd)

    --A man (Aykroyd) shills for Epifix, a product that kills a headache faster than anything. All you have to do is jam a needle in your mouth. Good ol' Danny.

    Beatles Offer Backfired (Lorne Michaels)

    --Lorne announces that Eric had promised the Beatles if he got to host, so Lorne sent him the money but instead Eric brought a film of "The Rutles."

    Film: The Rutles (Idle + Neil Innes)

    --A narrator (Idle) talks of the Rutles' (Dirk (Idle), Nasty (Innes), Stig, and Barry) rise to the top, which includes showing "old concert footage" with audience footage from Beatles concerts as well as some very Beatles-esque quirky video clips. Just pure greatness.

    Nazi Spies (Idle, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Newman, Radner)

    --Two spies in a Nazi bar (Idle, Aykroyd) go through the various tests to see if they are spies and then it ends with a humourous bit as they are recognized. Amusing bit.

    Eric's Song II (Idle, Morris)

    --Eric tries to sing another ditty, but Garrett interrupts and tells Eric to save it for the end of the show. This leads into the intro for the second Cocker song.

    Joe Cocker and John Belushi sing "Feelin' Alright" (Back-up: Stuff)

    --A terrific duet with Cocker and "Cocker" (Belushi) and it remains an iconic moment in SNL history.

    Dragnet (Idle, Aykroyd, Belushi, Morris, Newman, Radner)

    --The title of the old cop show is taken a little too seriously as Sgt. Friday (Aykroyd) and Saturday Morning (Idle) get into uniform which consists of dresses and they call it "impersonating an officer" when finding someone in a dress. I don't want to ruin the ending, but the sketch is quite brilliant and hilarious.

    Film: Drag Racing Today (Idle, Aykroyd)

    --Two men in drag (Idle, Aykroyd) race each other and then interact with the audience even though they're on film. Hilarious additional piece to the "Dragnet" sketch.

    Stuff performs "Foots"

    --The back-up band from NYC delivers a little jamming tune and it's pretty light and entertaining I guess.

    The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (Idle, Belushi)

    --The voice of Jacques Cousteau (Belushi) introduces the host of the show (Idle), who feeds the goldfish ridiculous food items like chickens and coffee. Not bad.

    Boxer Talent Spot (Morris)

    --Ken Norton (Morris) disputes his loss to Muhammad Ali and demands his talent spot. He gets it so he delivers an opera song. Filler.

    Cufflinks of the Gods? (Newman)

    --Erica von Donnigan (Newman) talks of comedians from outer space and asks of how long it takes a joke to travel through space, which depends on how subtle it is. Pretty funny bit actually.

    Pong: Barometer

    --The returning sketch involves a chat about doing a test with a barometer question. Pretty decent one.

    Eric's Song III (Idle, Cocker, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Newman, Radner)

    --Eric goes into another rendition of "Here Comes the Sun" while the cast and Cocker sing along with him for a bit before we go to the closing credits.

    Best segment: Dragnet
    Worst segment: Boxer Talent Spot (but nothing was terrible)

    Host: Eric Idle - 9/10
    Musical Guests: Joe Cocker - 8.5/10
    Stuff - 7/10

    Eric Idle ended up being one of the best hosts in SNL history and had no problem blending right in with the castmembers and was very cooperative it seemed because he didn't always have to be the funny one and wanted the cast to join him in many of the sketches. Joe Cocker was of course a fantastic choice for a musical guest and belted out two classics with the help of John Belushi for one of them. Stuff was also a good addition, providing back-up for "Feelin' Alright" and then delivering a little ditty of their own. Out of the cast, I would choose Danny as the stand-out for being in the Dragnet, Drag Racing Today, Epifix, Nazi Spies, and KLOG Radio as his strongest performances with John Belushi coming in at a close second. Classic episode.

    Rating: 8.25/10