America's favourite mass murderer O.J. Simpson was actually a regular guy at one point in his life! At this point, he was playing football and had earned the Heisman Trophy ten years previous. O.J. would go on to do some comedy later on in life (the "Naked Gun" movies), but this right here is pretty much O.J. Simpson the football player hosting and marks SNL's second athlete host. Accompanying Mr. Stabby is Ashford & Simpson (no relation) as musical guests. I don't really know who they are or what kind of music they perform, so we'll leave it at that. Onward!
Host: O.J. Simpson
Musical Guest: Ashford & Simpson
"James At 16 Marries Roman Polanski"...creepy...
Cold Open: Audience Questions (Radner) (2:42)
--Gilda answers some questions from the audience ("Are these questions actually written by us the audience or the writers?") in humourous fashion. Quick, but good opening.
Monologue: Life Story (Simpson) (5:47)
--O.J. comes out as a Conehead and talks of his aspirations and accomplishments in life with some unwanted assistance from the house band. Pretty bland monologue actually.
Samurai Night Fever (Simpson, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Murray, Newman) (8:25)
--Another installment of Samurai Futaba's (Belushi) misadventures crossed with a parody of "Saturday Night Fever" and done quite well. The caricatures by the cast are all fun and despite O.J.'s inexperience, he is less one-note than Tarkenton.
Great Moments in Sports (Simpson, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, voice of Murray) (6:39)
--O.J. tells of a story of Babe Ruth (Belushi), complete with a mug of beer and food, trying to comfort a young boy (Morris) in the hospital. I liked O.J.'s constant attempts at eating crackerjacks when on-camera and the final twist is a scream.
Ashford & Simpson sing "So, So Satisfied" (3:46)
--They've both got nice voices, but this slow-paced tune didn't really do it for me.
Commercial: Mohawk Master (Aykroyd, Murray, Newman) (1:06)
--A spokesman (Aykroyd) advertises the new Mohawk Master that of course highlights his great, manic announcer-type character. Kinda weak premise though.
Commercial: The Raid on Nicosia (Simpson, Aykroyd, Belushi, Morris, Murray, Newman, Radner) (2:14)
--A send-up of those TV movie advertisements with a bunch of big stars and vapid lines from the film. Good fun.
Weekend Update with Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin (also: O.J. Simpson, Bill Murray, Laraine Newman, Gilda Radner) (10:36)
--Dan talks of a newly-discovered original version of "Moonlight Sonata" and then a case of nasal frostbite in the highlights of tonight's edition. Bill Murray stops by to comment on Woody Allen's chances at the Oscars in a humourous smug bit, Laraine Newman interviews O.J. Simpson in the men's locker room and makes reference of his undercarriage, and Roseanne Roseannadanna (Radner) gives her consumer report that of course delves into the disgusting, irritating Jane like always. The commentaries were funny, but Update was rather drab this time out.
Football Voodoo (Simpson, Aykroyd, Belushi, Morris, voice of Murray) (3:44)
--O.J. and his buddies watch Walter Payton playing football on TV and possibly breaking Simpson's record, but thanks to voodoo he is able to prevent it. The concept of the sketch is fun and the execution is fair.
The Franken & Davis Show (Davis, Franken) (4:49)
--Tom Davis announces his partner's malignant tumor causing Franken to not be himself. The awkward/dark humour is very good here as per usual for this comedic duo.
Mandingo II (Simpson, voice of Aykroyd, Morris, Murray, Newman
--Kind of an infamous sketch where Mandingo gets the sequel treatment, placing O.J. as Mandingo as everyone makes out with everyone else. Not a bad little parody.
E. Buzz Miller's Animal Kingdom (Aykroyd, Newman) (2:37)
--Miller (Aykroyd) and Christy Christina (Newman) present various animals getting it on ("That one has herpes!"). A couple of chuckle-worthy moments because of the hilarious performances from both Danny and Laraine here.
Commercial: Hertz (Simpson, Newman, Radner) (:38)
--O.J. stars in a parody of his own Hertz commercial where his car is given away to Walter Payton, who had a better season. Not sure what the Emily Litella appearance was for.
Ashford & Simpson sing "Don't Cost You Nothing" (3:38)
--Better and more fast-paced than the first tune, but still nothing special from this duo.
Celebrity Battle of the Sexes & Races (Simpson, voice of Aykroyd, Curtin, Morris, Murray, Radner) (3:28)
--It's black men vs. white women as O.J. and Leon Spinks (Morris) take on Sandy Duncan (Newman) and Marie Osmond (Radner) in a series of different humourously-themed events. Pretty good 10-to-1 bit that also acts as a commentary on race and gender.
Simpson returns to the stage to thank one and all for joining him for the show and all wave goodbye.
Best segment: Samurai Night Fever
Worst segment: I don't usually include it as a segment, but the monologue stunk.
Host: O.J. Simpson - 7/10
Musical Guest: Ashford & Simpson - 5/10
O.J. Simpson marks the second athlete-host to appear on Saturday Night Live and while this episode was not as sharp as Tarkenton's (an underrated one in my opinion), O.J. was still a better host and appeared to actually emote rather than coming off like an athlete that's really nervous to be there. Despite a flat monologue, O.J. delivered what needed to be done in the sketches and held his own amongst the comedy veterans. As for the music, Ashford & Simpson were very unimpressive to me and were a strange choice for SNL given their slow, melodious tones. This breaks the roll SNL was on with great musical guests but something tells me that may change back again pretty soon. Overall then, a fairly good episode with no real stand-out classics, but nothing terrible.