Saturday Night Live

Season 3 Episode 10

Robert Klein/Bonnie Raitt

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Jan 28, 1978 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • The most bizarre ending of an episode of Saturday Night Live ever...

    In Year 1, back when the show was still trying to figure out what it wanted to be, Robert Klein ended up hosting the fourth episode. That episode would be very close to the style that they have now with two musical performances, the host being in several sketches, and other regular recurring segments that the staff went through. Klein did a fairly good job on that episode and so it is not a shock that he was invited back a couple years later to host for a second (and final) time. Joining him is blues music sensation Bonnie Raitt, whose "Something to Talk About" was probably her biggest hit. She would go on to make three more appearances as musical guest on the show, but her next one wouldn't be until 1990. This episode is also pretty infamous for one of the stranger pieces that the writers have ever concocted. Here's a closer look.

    Host: Robert Klein
    Musical Guest: Bonnie Raitt

    "Charlie's Angels Catch the Syph"...

    Cold Open: Rock Concert (Curtin, Morris, Newman, Radner) (4:53)

    --Don Kirshner (Paul Shaffer) presents a rock concert presented by Mr. Mike, the Mikettes (Curtin, Newman, Radner), and Tina Turner (Morris). Mike does his usual sick tale while Turner and the Mikettes sing along. It sounds thrown together but I really enjoyed this energetic opening. I also love how Garrett didn't even try to match Tina's voice, but did it in the manliest way possible.

    Monologue (Klein) (6:06)

    --Klein brings up his last hosting stint and then talks about college pamphlets, encountering anti-semitism ("HEY JEW BOY!"), and playing the Shylock in 'The Merchant of Venice.' Really funny stuff that makes me want to seek out some of his stand-up material.

    The Olympia Cafe (Klein, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Murray, Newman, Radner) (4:24)

    --The birth of a beloved recurring sketch in which the patrons of the Olympia offer everyone a "cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger!" Belushi is great as always, but Murray's clueless cook really sets this one off too. Hilarious stuff. Apparently, this was based on a real restaurant in Chicago called the Billy Goat.

    X-Police (Klein, Aykroyd, Murray, Newman) (3:26)

    --The second installment of the X-Police (Aykroyd, Murray) sees them busting a couple (Klein, Newman) for co-habiting illegally. More demented brilliant goodness ("She's unconscious and really can't benefit from your words...") and another top-notch framing.

    Bonnie Raitt sings "Runaway" (3:53)

    --Raitt sings a cover of Del Shannon's classic and while it's not up to the quality of Shannon's opus, it still holds up as a worthy successor.

    Weekend Update with Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin (also: Gilda Radner) (8:02)

    --Starting off with a great Larry Flynt/Bert Lance joke ("a gangbank"), Jane also updates us on a possible giant lobster attack. Update continues to bring on the funny with a very humourous flub involving Roseanne Roseannadanna's late entrance for her commentary. Roseanne then comments on an aneurism and again delivers some hilarious insight and an out-of-nowhere story to gross Curtin out once again.

    Nick at the Powder Room (Klein, Aykroyd, Belushi, Murray, Newman, Radner) (7:00)

    --Nick Winters (Murray) makes his second appearance and this time it's even better than the character's debut with his constant songs to the tune of old classics. His hilarious interaction with the patrons and then Jimmy Joe Red Sky (Aykroyd) is also a highlight in this terrific sketch. Oh, and it also features the infamous "Star Wars" tune.

    Frogs Look At Film (Klein, Aykroyd, Curtin, Morris, Murray, Newman, voice of Davis) (6:13)

    --The host (Newman) of a film highlight-type program shows a clip of "The Nutty Air Traffic Controller" starring Jerry Lewis (Klein). This is a very accurate portrayal of a typical vapid Lewis picture complete with the yelling and Aykroyd's hilarious performance as the overbearing boss. Wow, this show is on a tremendous roll.

    Nerds Radio Interview (Klein, Aykroyd, Curtin, Murray, Radner) (3:57)

    --Radio show host Andrew Dugan (Aykroyd) interviews the nerds in the form of Todd (Murray), Lisa (Radner), and Spaz (Klein) to promote their new record. This was the birth of Lisa, Todd, and Enid (Curtin) and this was a fairly funny introduction to them, but they would get really terrific in later incarnations.

    Giant Lobsters Update (Klein, Curtin) (:55)

    --Jane interrupts Robert's introduction of Bonnie Raitt, letting the crowd know that the giant lobsters have moved along the Eastern seaboard and President Carter has declared a state of emergency. Hmm.

    Bonnie Raitt sings "Give It All Up or Let Me Go" (with: Robert Klein on harmonica)

    --Raitt sings her second tune, a big-bass type of song and is then quickly joined by Klein on harmonica. Like Steve Martin with the banjo, Mr. Klein is one heckuva harmonica player. Oh, and a prompter does run through this song about halfway through to let people know that the lobsters have made it to the New York area.

    Barbara & Rhonda On Dope (Belushi, Curtin, Radner) (4:41)

    --Barb (Curtin) and Rhonda (Radner) smoke weed and share stories of what they do when they get really paranoid after smoking up. Eventually, they do and the best line is delivered ("Did you just hear a black man come in and steal all your jewelry?!") The sketch is interrupted by a really strange noise in the background. Even Belushi as a bee is confused.

    Attack of the Atomic Lobsters (Klein, Aykroyd, Curtin, Morris, Newman, Radner) (3:52)

    --Sure enough, the lobsters make it to 30 Rock where they terrorize the audience, cast and crew while Robert Klein comments on the action for the audience. I love the whole "band playing on" bit ala the Titanic and this is a classic, experimental ending with hilarious performances by the cast as well.

    Aftermath (Klein, Murray, voice of Davis) (2:46)

    --Rob continues to commentate on the ensuing attack by the lobsters, as even Pardo gets eaten. The episode then finishes with a hilarious voiceover argument with Tom Davis and Michael O'Donoghue.

    No goodnights because we're not even sure who survived that attack...

    Best segment: Nick at the Powder Room
    Worst segment: Nerds Radio Interview, I guess. But that's still a pretty decent sketch.

    Host: Robert Klein - 8/10
    Musical Guest: Bonnie Raitt - 8/10

    Wow. This episode was something else for sure. From what seemed like it would be a rollicking good time as the show continued to throw classic after classic sketch at the audience, it would be a huge surprise with the way the show ended. Very post-modern. Klein was a very fun host, not always playing the funny man, but holding his own in every sketch and excelling when he DID have to play the funny man like Jerry Lewis as the air traffic controller. Klein was definitely a dominant presence in this episode, but because he was such a good blend with the cast, it was well worth it. Bonnie Raitt delivered two really good songs on her end and it says something about her performance when I almost wasn't distracted by the humourous prompter message during her second number. All in all, this was a terrific, awesome episode and probably ranks with the best of this season.

    Rating: 9/10