Saturday Night Live

Season 1 Episode 7

Richard Pryor/Gil-Scott Heron

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Dec 13, 1975 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
44 votes

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Episode Summary

On a seven-second delay from New York, it's... Garrett Morris!
Sketches include "The Clumsy Waiters," "Samurai Hotel," "Looks At Books," "New Dad," "Police Line-Ups" (three parts) "Racist Word Association," "Pong" (film), "When White Family Members Turn Black," "Spud Beer," "Early Suicide Pill," "Ploobis and Scred Get Drunk" (Muppets), "Exorcist II," a performance by Shelley Pryor, "Albert is Home Sick" (film), and two stand-up performances by Richard Pryor.
Gil-Scott Heron performed "Johannesburg" and "A Lovely Day."moreless

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  • Richard Pryor becomes SNL's first black host with musical guest Gil Scott-Heron and special guests Shelley Pryor, Anazette Chase, and Thalmus Rasulala!

    This is definitely Saturday Night Live's first large-scale show with a sufficient amount of hype beforehand about whether Pryor was going to slip up and drop an F-bomb or if the show itself was actually going to work with a stand-up act like Pryor thrown into the mix. Well, did it EVER!

    Host: Richard Pryor

    Musical Guest: Gil Scott-Heron

    Cold Open: Garrett's Fall (Aykroyd, Chase, Curtin, Morris)

    --Garrett tells Chevy that Richard asked HIM to take the fall instead this week, which Chase finally accepts. While teaching Garrett how to do the fall, Chevy knocks himself down and Morris then screams the line to open the show. Good start.

    Monologue: Alcohol and Acid (Pryor)

    --Richard does some stand-up about drinking and about taking acid. He does the acid trip one so well with the voices and everything as well as the typical drunk guy in a bar. Great stuff of course.

    Samurai Hotel (Pryor, Belushi, Chase)

    --The debut of Samurai Futaba (Belushi) as a hotel receptionist. A customer (Chase) asks him stuff to which Futaba responds in babbling "Japanese", before finally getting the similar-looking bellboy (Pryor) to come in and have a duel. Wackiness erupts. Great recurring sketch.

    Gil Scott-Heron sings "Johannesburg"

    --It's a very catchy tune with a pretty poignant message on top of that.

    Looks at Books (Pryor, Curtin)

    --This one features Jane interviewing Junior Griffin (Pryor), who wrote a book from the perspective of a white man by going undercover as one. More greatness from Pryor as he does a perfect 'nerdy white guy' voice and just looks very comfortable during the whole thing.

    Commercial: New Dad (Aykroyd, Chase)

    --A repeat from the first show.

    Line-up I (Pryor, Aykroyd, Belushi, Chase, Radner)

    --A man (Pryor) is made out very obviously to be the guilty suspect in a line-up that a woman (Radner) identifies him in. Pretty short, but the trio of sketches as a whole is kind of amusing.

    Word Association (Pryor, Chase)

    --An employer (Chase) interviews Mr. Wilson (Pryor) and in the course of a word association test, it gets very heated with racial slurs being thrown back and forth between the two. This is a total classic as Pryor and Chase have great chemistry as well.


    --This time around, the two discuss a hockey game and "this Bouchard guy." Not that great on this go-around.

    Black Family Takeover (Pryor, Anazette Chase, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Radner)

    --A man's (Aykroyd) family start turning black before his very eyes but he doesn't seem to notice as he keeps going on about how black people are beginning to take over the world. Pretty amusing one-note joke.

    Weekend Update with Chevy Chase (also: Garrett Morris and Gilda Radner)

    --This seems like everyone had their game faces on this night. Chevy is raring to go with comments regarding homosexuality in professional sports, a great bit on Frank Sinatra, a big jab at Wallace, and lets us know that "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead." Emily Litella (Radner) makes her Update debut in an amusing editorial against "busting schoolchildren" and then Garrett does the "hard of hearing" bit to close the segment. Good one this week.

    Commercial: Spud Beer (Morris)

    --A repeat from the last show...

    Line-up II (Pryor, Aykroyd, Curtin, Radner)

    --This is my favourite of the three. "Umm, could you open the icebox?"

    Early Suicide Pill (Pryor, Aykroyd)

    --This is a pretty funny and quick sketch that I don't want to give anything away in, but suffice to say it's Richard Pryor doing something and then paying dearly for it after. Again, Pryor shines here.

    The Muppets: Alcohol

    --Ploobis and Scred drink their sorrows away before visiting Favog. This one was okay.

    Line-up III (Pryor, Aykroyd, Belushi, Chase, Radner)

    --The weakest of the three but still pretty amusing.

    The Exorcist II (Pryor, Thalmus Rasulala, Curtin, Newman)

    --Two priests (Pryor, Rasulala) try to bring back a possessed girl (Newman), who is very conniving, with little to no luck. Pryor's pannicky performance is great here along with Newman's acting as Regan to support it. "The foot!" Classic stuff.

    Albert Brooks Film: Sick in Bed

    --Albert is too sick to make a film so he lies in bed and tells the people about his sickness with the help of his doctor on the phone. A delivery boy also arrives leading to a funny bit involving his record name getting bleeped out all the time. Good film this week.

    Kennedy Conspiracy Shooting (Pryor)

    --A frantic man comes onto the stage, saying that he knows the truth behind the JFK assassination before he himself is assassinated, leaving Pryor to shrug and say he had nothing to do with it. Pointless but quick.

    Shelley Pryor tells a story called "Carousel Horses"

    --This one is actually not about the comedy, but does provide a nice message about equality buried in the children's story.

    Monologue: Wino and a Junkie (Pryor)

    --Richard does some stand-up about what it would sound like if a wino was trying to coach a junkie on how to turn his life around. More greatness, as his stand-up is phenomenal.

    Gil Scott-Heron sings "A Lovely Day"

    --Pretty decent musical number to close the show.

    Everyone surprises Richard with some sort of food item, as he closes the show and hopes that those who didn't watch were able to "make love."

    Best segment: Word Association

    Worst segment: The Muppets: Alcohol

    Host: Richard Pryor - 9/10

    Musical Guest: Gil Scott-Heron - 7.5/10

    All in all, like mentioned before, this is probably the first 'classic' episode and probably is one of, if not, THE best episode from the first season. Almost everything works and whatever doesn't is kept short anyway. Richard excels in everything he's involved in and Heron provides some catchy musical numbers to support it. As for the cast members, while Chevy is clearly the stand-out, Belushi already has a very popular recurring character started up that lasts him for his entire duration on the show.

    Rating: 8.5/10moreless
  • Funniest episode of the bunch!

    Too many guest hosts of SNL,even in the "classic" era (75-80),seemed to be too unconfortable with the format.Not so,Mr. Pryor.His episode is one of the funniest episodes of the entire run,and still holds up today.From his appearance as a black samurai(opposite John Belushi),to the infamous "word association" sketch,and finally to the gut-busting "Exorcist II" parody ("The on..MY FOOT!"),it's almost non-stop laughs.

    Not even the inclusion of his ex-wife,as well as some political-based soul from Gill Scott Heron can take away from the fun here.And fans of blaxploitation flix will be thrilled to see Thalmus Rasulala pop in. Highly Recommended for Pryor devotees as well as SNL fans.moreless
  • OMG! Richard Pryor, one of the funniest men on Earth, hosts this completely funny episode of Saturday Night Live!

    Whatever time you're reading this from New Jersey, it's my review! Richard Pryor, one of the funniest men on Earth, hosts this completely funny episode of Saturday Night Live, or as it was known back then as NBC's Saturday Night. All the funny skits make this episode a must-see. With Richard Pryor in stuff as funny as the 2nd samurai in Samurai Hotel, or as the 2nd preist in Exorcist II (or was it III?) As well as the always-funny Not Ready for Prime Time Players. I suggest that if you haven't seen the Richard Pryor episode of Saturday Night Live, find any way you can to see it! You will NOT be disappointed!moreless

Featured Episode Clip

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Richard Pryor: Drive you to drink, jack, you know? I tried drinkin' for a while but I used to go into bars and check out the people that were drinkin' and they weren't happy. And they get beat up a lot. No -- drunks, they start out cool. Brother be cool at first and he goin': [quiet, polite] "Give me a Scotch and soda, please." Real cool. 'Bout a hour later: [instantly imitates a drunk, yelling at a bartender to his right] "WHAT?! WHAT YOU MEAN I'M DRUNK?! HUH? I wasn't drunk when I came in here! And I ain't gonna leave till I'm sober. Now, you can dig that, baby. Bartender?! Are you the bartender? Give everybody in here somethin'. Give 'em a beer. And twenty straws. Ha ha! Whoooo!" [applause, Pryor turns to his left] "Hey! Huh? What you lookin' at, bitch? What? No, I don't know what time it is. It's time for you to stop messin' with me. That's what time it is. I know I'm ugly but I don't look like no clock. That's right, baby. [turns to his right] What? What are you worried about? You the bartender. If I say somethin' to this piece of wood, then you say somethin'. Otherwise, you can freeze on your thing, baby. You know, 'cause I'll bust you apart. Ha haaaa! Whooo! [turns to his left, looks up] What you want, big ol' dude? Apologize to who? For what? I don't care if she your mama-- [suddenly falls to the floor and tries to fend off blows with his arms as if being punched and kicked by the big ol' dude] Hey, man! Wait a minute, man! [rises] I'm just kiddin', man, baby. What you doin'?! You done kick me in the ass, baby! [feels his sore ass] You in a world o' trouble now! No, don't hold him -- let him go, baby! Come on, you want some of me? [puts his fists up to fight but is instantly knocked to the floor, bounces back up again] Wait a minute, man. I'm only kiddin' ya now." [pretends to vomit all over himself noisily, much applause.]

      That's why I don't drink so much. Take acid, either. White dudes take acid. They do. They take acid and go see "The Exorcist." They crazy. White dude gave me some acid once at a party, too, jack. And I thought I was crazy before I took it. It saned me right up. Dude say: [nerdy white dude's voice] "This is far out." I said, "What?" Says: [nerdy white dude's voice] "It's far out." I took it, jack. [mimes taking the acid, then as the white dude] "You're gonna be trippin'!"

      'Bout twenty minutes later, I was at the party: "Hey, blood, what's happenin'? [mimes one half of a complex handshake for two brothers] Everything is cool. White dude gave me some stuff I'm gonna be trippin'! You know, I ain't goin' no place without my luggage. Believe that. [runs his lips over his teeth, something feels funny, he puts his left hand up to his face, then starts waving it back and forth, his eyes riveted to his hand, then he starts waving both hands around in the air watching them intently] Look at this, man! I can catch my hand! [eyes bug out, mouth opens wide, a high-pitched squeal] Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! [suddenly the squeal becomes low-pitched and Pryor starts moving -- and talking -- in slow motion] Uh oh. I've got to get out of here! [running in very slow motion across home base, another high-pitched squeal] Whaaaaaaaa! [suddenly stops, clutches his chest, in a normal but panicked voice] I don't remember how to breathe! I can't breathe! [opens mouth, bobs head] One, two, three. Ain't nothin' happenin', man!" [nerdy white dude's voice] "Told ya it was far out!"

      [tripping again] "I'm gonna die! I don't even know who I am, I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die! [keeps repeating "I'm gonna die!" over and over in an increasingly funky rhythm and then starts dancing goofily to the beat - it begins to sound like an auctioneer's chant - abruptly, he stops and raises an arm triumphantly while speaking gibberish that sounds vaguely like an African tribesman - this segues into a brief pseudo-native American chant - finally, Pryor flaps his arms in slow motion as if about to fly away] What - in - the - world - is - happening - to - me?!" [Much applause. Pryor waves to the audience.]

    • Richard Pryor:
      Richard Pryor: How you doin'? Thank you very much for coming here to New York. Uh, hope I'm funny. I'd like to dedicate this to, uh, show to Miles Davis, my friend. He's in the hospital, sick. But he's cool. Miles always gets women, though, 'cause he talks so cool. You know, Miles go: [scratchy whisper] "What's happenin'?"
      I get women, too. I can't keep 'em but I get 'em. Women always leave me, man! I don't mind 'em leavin' but they tell you why. You know what I mean? Just leave! Don't tell me why! 'Cause there ain't nothin' you can do but stand there and look silly, right? You be ... [imitates a man standing there and looking silly: points to himself in surprise, shrugs helplessly, rolls his eyes, shakes his head in disbelief] And the madder you get, women get cool when you get mad. [as an angry man] "WELL, GO ON AND GET OUT THEN!" [as a cool, calm woman] "I'm leaving." [as the man] "I DON'T EVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN!" [as the woman] "Don't worry, you shan't."

    • Interviewer: (quickly wraps the interview up) Okay, Mr. Wilson, I think you're qualified for this job. How about a starting salary of $5,000?
      Mr. Wilson: Your momma!
      Interviewer: (fumbling) Uh.. $7,500 a year?
      Mr. Wilson: Your grandmomma!
      Interviewer: (desperate) $15,000, Mr. Wilson. You'll be the highest paid janitor in America. Just, don't... don't hurt me, please...
      Mr. Wilson: Okay.
      Interviewer: [ relieved ] Okay.
      Mr. Wilson: You want me to start now?
      Interviewer: Oh, no, no... that's alright. I'll clean all this up. Take a couple of weeks off, you look tired.

    • Mr. Wilson: Tree.
      Interviewer: Tree. (nods head, prepares the test papers) Dog.
      Mr. Wilson: Tree.
      Interviewer: Fast.
      Mr. Wilson: Slow.
      Interviewer: Rain.
      Mr. Wilson: Snow.
      Interviewer: White.
      Mr. Wilson: Black.
      Interviewer: Bean.
      Mr. Wilson: Pod.
      Interviewer: (casually) Negro.
      Mr. Wilson: Whitey.
      Interviewer: Tarbaby.
      Mr. Wilson: (silent, not sure what he heard correctly) What'd you say?
      Interviewer: Tarbaby.
      Mr. Wilson: Ofay.
      Interviewer: Colored.
      Mr. Wilson: Redneck.
      Interviewer: Jungle bunny.
      Mr. Wilson: (starting to get angry) Peckerwood!
      Interviewer: Burrhead.
      Mr. Wilson: (defensive) Cracker!
      Interviewer: (aggressive) Spearchucker.
      Mr. Wilson: White trash!
      Interviewer: Jungle Bunny!
      Mr. Wilson: (angry) Honky!
      Interviewer: Spade!
      Mr. Wilson: (really upset) Honky Honky!
      Interviewer: (relentless) Nigger!
      Mr. Wilson: (immediate) Dead honky! (face starts to flinch)

    • Chevy Chase: UNICEF fell under attack this week when Syria formally protested the charitable organization's new Christmas card, which says, in ten different languages, "Let's kill the Arabs and take their oil!"

  • NOTES (7)


    • Chevy Chase: Our top story tonight- Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

      This would become one of Chevy's trademark lines, and although Franco's prolonged death struggle inspired it, so too did the actions of a New York Post writer. The Post held an inside contest at the start of each year, in which reporters selected which prominent figure they expected to die before the year was out. This contest, known as the "Ghoul Pool," awarded $300 to the reporter whose selection died earlier than any other reporter's. When Franco became deathly ill early in 1975, a Post reporter thought he had $300 for sure. In fact, he had counted his Spanish chick before it hatched. As a weakened Franco continued his brave struggle with the Grim Reaper, another Post reporter's pick had died. With his Ghoul Pool winnings gone, the Franco man completed a fake Post headline claiming, FRANCO STILL DEAD.