Saturday Night Live

Season 4 Episode 4

Steve Martin/Van Morrison

Aired Saturday 11:30 PM Nov 04, 1978 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
14 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Live from New York, it's... Dan Aykroyd! Sketches include "Carter Encourages Inflation," "Elvis Presley's Coat," "What If?," "Theodoric of York, Medieval Judge," "Festrunk Brothers in an Irish Bar," "The Nerds at the Hospital," "Looks At Books," and "Annoying Waiter." Van Morrison performed "Wavelength" and "Kingdom Hall."

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  • "In other words, our economic system is screwed, blued, and tattooed."

    Oh, Steve Martin. It was actually kind of sad to watch him somewhat phone-in his performance this past season (34), especially when you consider how many appearances he's made on this show since its inception and the number of those episodes that have been at the very least enjoyable if not wonderful. This is his first and only hosting stint in season four (although he was scheduled for one in February, he ended up canceling) and this time, he brings along rock group Van Morrison with him. I'm not very familiar with the music from V.M. outside of "Brown-Eyed Girl", but I like that song and that could be a good sign of the music that is yet to come on this episode. Let's dive in and have a look-see.

    Host: Steve Martin

    Musical Guest: Van Morrison

    Cold Open: Inflation Is Our Friend (Aykroyd) (3:14)

    --President Carter (Aykroyd) discusses the economic problem in America (hmm, doesn't seem so dated) and attempts to get the people to think of inflation as a friend. His plans to print off more and more money despite inflation increasing is ludicrous yet quite amusing.

    Monologue (Martin, Murray) (8:07)

    --Steve-o comes in with his head in a clamp and does some of his trademark off-the-wall comedy to the appreciative New York crowd. After a few minutes of that, Steve brings out Bill Murray to do some "tricks" in which he is rewarded with crackers. Great monologue.

    Commercial: Elvis Presley's Coat (1:23)

    --Who needs another lame impersonator when you can see...Elvis Presley's coat?! LIVE!

    What If? (Martin, Belushi, Curtin, Morris, Newman) (5:27)

    --This discussion panel show explores the hypothetical of Eleanor Roosevelt (Curtin) being able to fly. Steve Martin essentially plays the host as straight-man, proving that he doesn't always have to be the center of attention. Meanwhile, Curtin does a terrific impression of the first lady in question in this middling sketch.

    Theodoric of York, Medieval Judge (Martin, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Murray, Newman, Radner, Davis, Franken) (7:12)

    --Theodoric (Martin) makes his second appearance, this time as a judge in the 12th century with his assistant Brungilda (Radner) and (Aykroyd). One of my favourite bits with Steve Martin and he and the cast are tremendously entertaining here.

    Musical Performance: "Wavelength" (5:23)

    --Van Morrison rocks out to a tune that I'm 100% unfamiliar with, but it still rocked my socks.

    Weekend Update with Jane Curtin and Bill Murray (also: John Belushi and Garrett Morris)

    --Bill's Celebrity Corner focuses on a new film, "The Wiz", which leads into an interview with Diana Ross (Morris) in which Murray eventually begs Diana to belt out "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." My favourite bit this week comes from Jane as she delivers a commentary on illiteracy while some text scrolls by, offering to kill all the illiterates in the world. Belushi also stops by to do one of his commentaries on voting that develops into a crazy rant about being able to do drugs legally.

    The Festrunks at the Bar (Martin, Aykroyd, Belushi, Curtin, Murray, Newman, Radner, Davis) (6:18)

    --Another batch of recurring characters, as the Festrunks (Martin, Aykroyd) make their way to a bar and attempt to hit on some more foxes (Curtin, Newman, Radner). The brothers rattle off some more classic lines, show off a sex device from Czechoslovakia, and mingle with the bartender (Murray).

    The Nerds in the Hospital (Martin, Curtin, Morris, Murray, Radner) (7:57)

    --And more recurring characters yet again. This time, Lisa Loopner (Radner) is in the hospital for a deviated septum and gets visits from Grant Robinson (Morris), Enid Loopner (Curtin), Chaz the Spaz (Martin), a nurse (Morris again), and of course Todd DiLaMuca (Murray). Unlike most recurring characters though, these ones never ever get old thanks to the wonderful chemistry between Bill and Gilda. Not to mention that Steve Martin plays a great nerd.

    Looks At Books (Aykroyd, Curtin) (1:42)

    --Jane interviews the author of "Mauled", a disfigured man (Aykroyd) as a result of a horrible grizzly bear incident. The makeup is pretty amusing but this sketch was way too quick to really go anywhere beyond the one-joke premise.

    Musical Performance: "Kingdom Hall" (4:08)

    --Morrison rocks out again for his second tune, which is another one I have never heard before but thought was quite good.

    Annoying Waiter (Martin, Aykroyd, Radner) (2:34)

    --Steve and Gilda (playing themselves) are constantly annoyed by a waiter (Aykroyd) who recognizes them and keeps quoting their material like an obnoxious fan. The sketch got cut off early, but it was fun while it lasted.

    Steve promises to re-do the sketch next time in February, but he would not end up hosting then and so it would never be finished!

    Best segment: Theodoric of York, Medieval Judge

    Worst segment: What If?

    Host: Steve Martin - 9/10

    Musical Guest: Van Morrison - 8.5/10

    I am starting to think that people will accuse me of being biased (if anyone is actually reading these reviews) as I've given glowing praise to every episode so far in season four, but quite honestly, I've enjoyed them all without too many faults. We will reach the mid-season slump soon enough I would imagine and I am still dreading Berle/Coleman, but we'll deal with that when we get to it. Anyway, back to the episode. It was a lot of fun and Steve and the cast obviously were having a lot of fun as well. There were an awful lot of ensemble sketches scattered throughout the night, which gave most castmembers something substantial to do in at least one or two sketches. Aykroyd was all over the episode not surprisingly, but Jane Curtin was in most of the bits tonight too, which was slightly more surprising. Van Morrison rocked the house in this episode too and I'm surprised he was never invited back after this electric performance. No outright bad sketches either this episode, which was nice. Overall, another really, really good one.

    Rating: 8/10moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Just as the camera pans to John Belushi on the Weekend Update set, the caption "Coming Up Next: Corrective Oven Mitts" is flashed on screen.

    • Bill Murray is instructed to play Mary Had A Little Lamb on clown horns. One of the horns is out of place, so the notes where "had" and "snow" would be sung, are very low.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • President Jimmy Carter: Last week, I delivered a message on inflation. Since then, the dollar has dropped in value, the stock market has sustained record losses, and the whole sow price index increased 0.9%. In other words, our economic system is screwed, blued and tattooed! We just have to face the fact that there is simply no way to fight inflation in a capitolly-intensive, highly-technological, conflict-riddled, anything-for-a-thrill world of today. That's why, tonight, I want you to try to look for in inflation, an entirely new word: Inflation is our friend.

  • NOTES (4)

    • During Weekend Update, John Belushi does a bit where he goes into a rant about being allowed to do drugs. This was one of many Update commentaries that Belushi did where he alluded to drug usage; ironically, 3 1/2 years later Belushi would die of a drug overdose.

    • During Weekend Update, announcer Don Pardo introduced the sponser "Colonel Lingus' Fried Chicken". This gag was repeated on February 22, 2003 during the Christopher Walken sketch "Welcome Home Colonel Angus."

    • The Interrupting Waiter sketch was never finished. Steve, Danny and Gilda ran out of available show time at the pique of it. Coming out of commercial, Martin said they would finish the sketch on his next scheduled appearance in February 1979. By the time Martin returned, Dan Aykroyd would no longer be part of the SNL cast.

    • Laraine Newman nearly drowned in the rehearsal of the Theodoric of York sketch because when she was put into the tank of water, she didn't escape in time.


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