Saturday Night Live: Season 1, Episode 1

George Carlin/Billy Preston/Janis Ian (11 Oct. 1975)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Music
7.5
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The host for the episode is George Carlin, and the musical guests are Billy Preston and Janis Ian. The skits for this episode are as follows: an ESL teacher gives increasingly bizarre ... See full summary »

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(as Dave 'Bud' Wilson)
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Title: George Carlin/Billy Preston/Janis Ian (11 Oct 1975)

George Carlin/Billy Preston/Janis Ian (11 Oct 1975) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself - Host
Janis Ian ...
Herself - Musical Guest
...
Himself - Musical Guest
...
Interviewer (segment 'The Impossible Truth') (voice)
...
Themselves (as Jim Henson's Muppets)
...
Phyllis Crawford / Various
...
Harvey Morgomaster / Various
...
Various
...
Mrs. Kromer / Various
...
Kenny Vorstrather / Various
...
Martin Gresner / Mr. Kromer / Various
...
...
Various
Michael O'Donoghue ...
Various
Valri Bromfield ...
Herself - Stand-up Act
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Storyline

The host for the episode is George Carlin, and the musical guests are Billy Preston and Janis Ian. The skits for this episode are as follows: an ESL teacher gives increasingly bizarre sentences to his student, who repeats his every word; until the teacher suffers a fatal heart attack, and the student dutifully acts out an identical "death". New Dad Insurance offers bereaved families a new father to take the place of their deceased one. A distraught rape victim in a courtroom describes the attacker's words in writing, which then confuses an inattentive jurist. Andy Kaufman sings along with a Mighty Mouse record. A reporter interviews the victim of a shark bite who, despite his claims to the contrary, obviously still has all his limbs. Two men, claiming to be a married couple, discuss the benefits of a new vitamin product called Jamitol. A mock ad for pain-reliever Triopenin plays up the product's child-proof caps. Albert Brooks presents a documentary titled "The Impossible Truth," in ... Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

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pilot episode | See All (1) »

Genres:

Comedy | Music

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Release Date:

11 October 1975 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lorne Michaels had wanted to have Carole King and Stevie Wonder as the musical guests for this show. Stevie Wonder would not appear until he was host/musical guest in 1983, and Carole King would make a cameo in 1991. See more »

Goofs

During the "commercial" for the Phone Answering School, when the chalkboard showing the international area codes is shown, the Cook Islands are spelled "Cooks" Islands. See more »

Quotes

Various: [talking into the telephone] What are you wearing right now?
[smiles]
Various: No bathrobe?
[notices the audience, hangs up telephone]
Various: Good evening, I'm Chevy Chase!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, Don Pardo says "The Not For Ready Primetime Players", rather than "Not Ready for Primetime Players". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Man on the Moon (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Nothing from Nothing
Written by Billy Preston & Bruce Fisher
Performed by Billy Preston
See more »

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User Reviews

 
like finding an odd, surreal relic that still retains lots of its original awesomeness
29 June 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Saturday Night Live first aired as, simply, "Saturday Night", with its cast (including quintessential members Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Lorraine Newman and Chevy Chase) called the "Not Yet Ready for Prime-Time Players. It was a rough and sometimes crude and disorganized skit show, and it hasn't aired much over the years save for the obscure VHS title and if and when ever on repeat screenings on NBC (that and the newly released first season DVD). With the untimely passing of George Carlin- now among a number of others, Jim Henson, Belushi, Andy Kaufman, Gilda Radner, Billy Preston, who have died- Lorne Michaels made the wise choice to replay the first episode in its unedited glory.

It's not a perfect program by any stretch, but its messiness is half the fun. One might like one skit over the other, or prefer one musical guest to the other (frankly, I prefer the funky beats of Preston over the melancholy Janis Ian tunes), or wonder what is up with these strange looking Muppets from Henson, or how outrageous Albert Brooks could get for better or worse (there's both great Jewish jokes and crazy pedophile jokes in one-minute of time). But one thing that it can't be called is ingenuous. This is the real-deal in sketch comedy, and the writing is irreverence squared. Adding on to tis is the wonderful, classic presence of Carlin (who originally would've been in skits had it not been for his cocaine habit at the time), who goes through Baseball and Football and his first thoughts on God to the New York audience. Even in this coked-up state he's on fire, in a laid-back sort of way.

Featuring the first Weekend Update segment (Hirohito Watch!), skits ranging from Bee Hospital to a cheerful gun expo, and Kaufman's masterwork of awkwardness in "singing" Mighty Mouse, it's the seed of something rather special in television, and it's very enjoyable in its imperfection (and, for some, a sweet nostalgia trip).


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