Saturday Night Live

Season 3 Episode 9

Steve Martin/The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Randy Newman

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Jan 21, 1978 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
17 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Live From New York, It's... Dan Aykroyd! Sketches include "State of the Union '78," "Swill," "Searching For Bigfoot," "Wild & Crazy Guys," "Body Floss," "The Coneheads On 'Family Feud'," "Steve's Personal Friends" (film), and "What If?" The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band performed "On the Loose With the Blues" and "White Russia" with Steve Martin; Randy Newman performed "Short People" and "Rider In The Rain."moreless

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  • "Well it just goes to show you that it's always something..."

    Steve Martin once again graces the Saturday Night Live stage with his presence! This time, Mr. Martin was hosting for his fourth time since last season and had really proved himself to the world as a stand-up comedian and also huge star thanks to the Tonight Show mainly and his legion of fans that he had gathered up to this date. Along with Steve would be musical guest Randy Newman (who, at the time, was receiving some flak for his "Short People" number) and a second musical guest in the Dirt Band (with or without Nitty Gritty, it's up to you). Martin himself also had some experience with the banjo and so was no stranger to the music scene. With that in mind, let's take a look at another Martin-hosted episode.

    Host: Steve Martin

    Musical Guests: The Dirt Band & Randy Newman

    Damn, I hope "Bruce Jenner Wins the Javelin Catch" is a special feature on here somewhere...

    Cold Open: State of the Union 1978 (Aykroyd, Belushi, Murray, Davis) (3:36)

    --Walter Mondale (Murray) and Tip O'Neill (Belushi), who sit behind President Carter (Aykroyd) giving his State of the Union address, proceed to drink, yawn, and act uncomfortable, while the people in the audience become bored with the speech as well. This one lacked a big punch, but Aykroyd's Carter impression is always fun.

    Monologue (Martin, Belushi) (4:50)

    --Steve does a nice little intro before making a small error in assuming that John Belushi stole 50 bucks from him backstage. He then runs through more of his entertaining schtick before ending a wholly entertaining monologue.

    Commercial: Swill (Murray, Newman) (1:19)

    --A repeat from Kahn/Mahal and it's still damn funny.

    The Mystery of Bigfoot (Martin, Belushi, Radner) (5:03)

    --A couple (Belushi, Radner) welcome Park Ranger McConnell (Martin) over, who claims that Bigfoot is on the loose, but it is obvious soon enough that it is a big misunderstanding due to the couple's big shoes and the husband's fur coat. This works to a point, but the premise is a little thin.

    Festrunks Computer Dates (Martin, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Newman) (7:30)

    --The second appearance of Georg (Martin) and Yortuk (Aykroyd) with more awkward pop-culture references and another attempt to hook up with "girls with big American breasts", this time over the internet. This is also the first appearance of Cliff (Morris), playing straight-man to the Festrunks' wackiness. This one's better than the first of its kind and adding a whole bunch of other characters to the sketch helps.

    The Dirt Band perform "On the Loose With the Blues" (4:30)

    --The mellow sounds of the Dirt Band, school chums with our host, is some very easy listening.

    Commercial: The Body Floss (Martin, Curtin, Morris, Murray, Radner) (1:32)

    --A spokesman (Martin) introduces the Body Floss while several people use it and sing its praises. Cute.

    Weekend Update with Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin (7:50)

    --After announcing Fred Silverman as the new NBC President, they reveal his big plan for ratings by changing their first names to Laverne and Shirley. Jane's review of President Carter's attributes since becoming president is mean-spirited but funny, but the real highlight of this segment is the Weekend Update debut of Roseanne Roseannadanna (Radner). Her commentary that grosses Curtin out, causing her to freak out, is quite hilarious and another one of Radner's genius creations.

    Randy Newman & the Dirt Band sing "Short People" & "Rider in the Rain" (7:11)

    --Newman sings his somewhat-controversial song about little folks with the Dirt Band as back-up and responds to his criticisms with a raspberry noise. The second tune has a slow-moving western feel to it that is equally good, if not as fast-paced.

    Family Feud (Martin, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Murray, Newman, Radner) (7:47)

    --Richard Dawson (Murray) introduces the Conehead family (Aykroyd, Curtin, Newman) against the Mel family (Martin, Belushi, Radner) in an amusing series of surveys, which lead to a family dispute among the Mels and a humourous riff by Beldar during Fast Money.

    What If? (Martin, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Murray, Newman) (5:37)

    --Joan Cage (Curtin) asks the question of what would have happened had Napoleon (Belushi) had a B-52 at the Battle of Waterloo and then we get a little dramatization. I liked the part where the pilot (Aykroyd) chats with Napoleon about the way to use the B-52, but this sketch was a little dry.

    Weis Film #34: Celebrity Homes (Martin) {2:43)

    --In this Weis film, Steve visits several celebrity homes and yells for them to come out, but to no avail. This was a pretty funny bit even though it was the same joke for the whole film. Steve's charm and charisma makes it work.

    Steve Martin & the Dirt Band perform "White Russia" (2:32)

    --An entirely instrumental piece here that also involves Steve himself helping out on the banjo. The Dirt Band's talent is obvious, but man Steve is no slouch on the banjo either.

    Steve, Newman, the Dirt Band, and the cast wave goodnight to all as the show then finally comes to a close.

    Best segment: Festrunks Computer Dates

    Worst segment: The Mystery of Bigfoot

    Host: Steve Martin - 8.5/10

    Musical Guests: The Dirt Band - 9/10

    Randy Newman - 9/10

    Steve Martin is always a good choice for the cast and crew if they're looking to have a fun time getting the show ready and also having a great professional as the host. Steve was all over the map in this show, not always necessarily playing the funniest person in the sketch but serving every one of them to the best of his abilities. Meanwhile, Newman and the Dirt Band more than held up the music side of things with some great tunes and good chemistry when performing together as well. I think from now on I'm gonna stop saying which cast member was best because it always seems to be Danny or John for the most part. Maybe that'll start up again in season 5. Anyways, this was a good show, while not Steve's best.

    Rating: 7.5/10moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Bill Murray:This is the Nick Winters show and I do the entertaining, thank you.
      Lets go out with something really hot for these folks
      The big hit out of '77...
      singing to Star Wars theme music
      Aww..Star Wars, Nothing But Star Wars
      Give Me those Star Wars
      Dont let them end
      Oh Star Wars
      If they should bar wars
      Please let these Star wars stay
      And hey!
      How bout that nutty star wars bar
      Can you forget all the creatures in there
      And hey!
      Darth Vader in that black and evil mask
      Did he scare you as much as he scared me
      Star Wars those here in Bar wars
      My 7th Winter up here!!
      Star Wars!

    • Steve Martin: He-ey![ singing ] "I've got music.. I've got rhy-hythmmm!" (pauses to collect himself) Okay, welcome to "Saturday Night", with the Not Ready For Prime Time Players, and, uh.. The Dirt Band. There was a big snowstorm in New York yesterday - we did not get to rehearse at all, so.. that's never stopped us before! And, uh, I'm excited - we have Randy Newman on the show... I met Randy Newman, and, you know he's only about this big? [ holds his finger and thumb an inch apart ]

  • NOTES (2)

    • This is Roseanne Roseannadanna's (Gilda Radner) first "Weekend Update" spot. The character debuted earlier this season on the Charles Grodin-hosted show in a "Hire the Incompetent" sketch.

    • "Mr. Richard Feder of Fort Lee, New Jersey," the man whose letters Roseanne Roseannadanna always read, is writer Alan Zweibel's brother-in-law (Zweibel actually wrote the letters). For this episode only, however Mr. Feder lives in Manhatten.