Saturday Night Live

Season 2 Episode 21

Eric Idle/Neil Innes, Alan Price

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Apr 23, 1977 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
15 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Live From New York, It's... Bill Murray! Sketches include "Potato Torture," "Save Great Britain Telethon," "The American Dope Growers Union," "The Nixon Interviews," "Body Language" (film), "Oxxon," "Sherry the Flight Attendant," "Plain Talk," "Heavy Wit Championship," "Bill Murray's Bad Childhood Memories," and "The Battle of Britain". Alan Price performed "Poor People" and "In Times Like These." Neil Innes performed "Cheese & Onions" (as Ron Nasty) and "Shangri-La."moreless

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  • "I love him, I love him, I love him! And where he goes, I'll swallow, I'll swallow, I'll swallow!"

    Eric Idle makes his second appearance in Year 2 to host the show after the phenomenal showing he put on in his previous effort combined with some great writing and performances from the cast. Idle's style of humour can be seen as being quite different from Saturday Night Live's but members of the cast obviously appreciated Monty Python and enjoyed working with him as he would go on to host a total of four times. In this episode, Neil Innes and Alan Price serve as two separate musical guests. Innes was a guy who would hang around Monty Python and appear in their comedy bits a lot while Alan Price was a talented British musician and did...not appear with Monty Python. He was a member of the Animals though. Here we go.

    Host: Eric Idle

    Musical Guests: Alan Price and Neil Innes

    Cold Open: Irish Interrogation (Idle, Murray) (1:53)

    --A British soldier (Idle) interrogates an Irishman (Murray) and probes him for info, eventually threatening to take it out on potatoes! Pretty standard Irish jokes, but it's made amusing by Idle and Murray.

    Monologue: Save Great Britain Telethon (Idle, Aykroyd, Jeannette Charles) (4:57)

    --Eric welcomes the Queen (Charles) onto the stage in an effort to raise money for Great Britain. The highlight is Constable Ronald Quinn (Aykroyd) taking part in the 'Kick-A-Canadian' competition. Funny opening.

    Commercial: American Dope Growers Union (Curtin, Morris, Murray, Newman, Radner) (1:14)

    --A clever play on those Union commercials where a group of people sing a tune about always looking for the Union label before buying your pot.

    The Nixon Interviews (Idle, Aykroyd, Curtin, Radner) (8:58)

    --David Frost (Idle) interviews Richard Nixon (Aykroyd) for 20 uncensored hours, where he talks about everything from his father shaving to his mother preparing breakfast. Of course, when he gets to Watergate there are "audio problems", and the sketch just goes full-tilt with Julie (Radner) and Pat Nixon (Curtin) showing up as well. A definite classic due to the superb writing and performances.

    Alan Price sings "Poor People" (2:04)

    --Good song that is fast-paced and enjoyable enough.

    Weis Film #32 (Idle, Innes, Morris, Murray, Newman, Radner) (2:26)

    --Various people show off their body language to suggest various things while a narrator (Idle) mentions ridiculous things that some of them are trying to suggest. This is another classic bit.

    Weekend Update with Jane Curtin (also: Bill Murray and Gilda Radner) (8:35)

    --Curtin thanks everyone for the Pullitzer Prize that Update has been awarded before diving into a goofy Groucho Marx joke. Jane also does one of her funny incomplete jokes and then reports on Marty Poppins. This week, Bill Murray delivers an amusing editorial on corporal punishment in school that turns into a rant about his high school days and being made fun of and then Emily Litella (Radner) reports on "air solution" before cracking up and reporting on her new man. Good stuff on this edition.

    Commercial: Oxxon (1:15)

    --The most expensive commercial possible is used for an oil commercial, which tends to focus on the financial aspects of it rather than the oil itself. I got the joke, but it was only semi-amusing.

    The Heavy Wit Championship (Idle, Aykroyd, Belushi, Morris, Murray, Radner) (6:12)

    --Ray Grimwade (Idle) faces off against Mohammed Stallion (Belushi) in a battle of witty jokes as Danny Fontanelli (Aykroyd) and Billy Lanova (Murray) provide commentary at ringside. The concept was better than the execution here.

    Ron Nasty (Innes) sings "Cheese and Onions" (1:21)

    --To continue the telethon, Ron Nasty (Innes) of the Rutles sings a ridiculous tune lampooning the Beatles. Funny quick bit.

    The Battle of Britain (Idle, Aykroyd, Belushi Curtin, Murray, Newman, Radner) (8:19)

    --Cynthia's (Radner) lover Rodney (Aykroyd) writes her a letter from the war as it also causes her to have various pointless flashbacks with several people just saying hello various times after being introduced. It seems bland, but it's actually quite hilarious as the sound effects of war are included in the letter as well as responses to her questions. Great stuff.

    Neil Innes sings "Shangri-La" (3:18)

    --Neil, in very amusing garb, does a very elaborate musical number with background singers and colourful backgrounds and cardboard cut-outs. Quite enjoyable.

    Plain Talk (Idle, Aykroyd) (1:44)

    --Quite a ridiculous sketch as a host (Idle) talks to his guest (Aykroyd) with gibberish by just strewing random words together. Pretty damn amusing though.

    Trans Eastern Flight (Idle, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Newman) (3:51)

    --Sherry (Newman) welcomes everyone onto the flight, but she is continuously given requests by calm people at gunpoint. Another sketch that is definitely on the ridiculous side, but it's another funny one as well. The ending is gold too.

    Alan Price sings "In Times Like These" (3:51)

    --Price sings another good one with the help of some background singers this time.

    Save Great Britain Telethon II (Idle, Murray, Jeannette Charles) (1:15)

    --Eric reveals the total as zero dollars, so he tries desperately to raise money by having Bill Murray chug a bottle of grape juice, but he gives up in the middle of it.

    All of a sudden, the cast are all on the phones thanks to the Queen being sold. Idle then reminds everyone of the Daylight Savings Time in his own quirky way before saying goodnight and hugging the cast.

    Best segment: The Nixon Interviews

    Worst segment: Oxxon

    Host: Eric Idle - 9/10

    Musical Guests: Alan Price - 8/10

    Neil Innes - 8.5/10

    Wow. Idle was one of the most fantastic hosts that ever appeared on Saturday Night Live and would sadly not be used again after 1979. I haven't seen the episodes where Michael Palin, a fellow Monty Python member, has hosted yet, but I can't imagine them being any better than this or the first episode in which Idle hosted. Alan Price was a great musical act along with Neil Innes, who gets the extra points for his wonderful performance of "Shangri-La" with all the colourful backdrops and cardboard cut-outs. As for the great cast, Aykroyd definitely dominated here by appearing in the monologue, as Nixon in the best sketch of the night, in the Battle of Britain bit, and his goofy bit in Plain Talk. Although there was a general great effort by the entire cast. Great episode.

    Rating: 8/10moreless
Neil Innes

Neil Innes

Ron Nasty

Guest Star

Jeannette Charles

Jeannette Charles

Queen Elizabeth

Guest Star

Alan Price

Alan Price


Guest Star

Eric Idle

Eric Idle


Recurring Role

Howard Shore (I)

Howard Shore (I)


Recurring Role

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Prisoner: You're wastin' your time, slimey Lime!
      Soldier: [slaps prisoner on the face] That's "Limey slime," you uneducated hick scum! Very well, I didn't want to do this ... but you leave me no choice. In direct violation of all civilized moral codes, I am now going to attach these electrodes... to your potatoes! [does so] And then turn the crank on this field generator! Now, you ignorant bog-hopper, start singing! [turns the crank]
      Prisoner: [starts singing while feeling the torture of the potatoes as if they're his nipples] When Irish eyes are smilin', you're - duh-aaaAAAAAAAAAAAAHH God bless youuuuuuuuuu, and keep youuuuuuuu, Mother MacreeeEEEeee!
      Soldier: I see this is getting us nowhere. You've forced my hand. Unless you tell me the answers to these three questions, I'm going to turn your potatoes... into French fries! [places a potato in the French fry slicer] You've got ten seconds! TEN, NINE, [head shot of prisoner] EIGHT, SEVEN, [close-up of the potato in the slicer] SIX, [head shot of prisoner as he shakes his head no] FIVE, FOUR, [head shot of soldier] THREE, [head shot of prisoner] TWO, ONE [close-up of the potato in the slicer] ...
      Prisoner: All right, all right! I'll tell yeh. [sighs of relief]
      Soldier: [walks up to prisoner] All right. One: is the bomb live or diffused? Two: what city was it mailed from? And three: when will it go off?
      Prisoner: [still recovering from the shock] Live ... from New York ... it's Saturday Night.

  • NOTES (3)

    • The "Plain Talk" sketch was originally performed on Rutland Weekend Television.

    • Neil Innes' first song, "Cheese and Onions," was passed off as a Beatles outtake on several bootlegs. The song would be re-recorded for the Rutles LP and TV special. His second song, "Shangri-La" was re-recorded for the Innes Book of Records series and LP, and again for the second Rutles LP.

    • Neil Innes also appears in the "body language" film.