Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The greatest SNL sketch

Wherein it's hard to remember a time when "ass" would get bleeped on TV

December 12, 1975, the seventh show of the first season of Saturday Night Live. Hosted by Richard Pryor it was a night of firsts. Aside from the first show broadcast on a tape delay, (from Saturday Night, A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, by Doug Hill and Jeff Weingard):
....That was followed by John Belushi's first Samurai sketch, "Samurai Hotel." Pryor and Belushi played samurai bellboys arguing over which of them would carry a guest's bags upstairs. Pryor ended the argument by cutting the hotel's check-in counter in half with his sword, causing Belushi's samurai to respond, "I can dig where you're coming from," the only line he would ever say in English. Gilda Radner's character, the sweet little old lady Emily Litella, dilvered her first editorial on Weekend Update, deploring the "busting" of school children. When anchorman Chevy Chase informed her the issue was actually busing school children, her "oh...never mind" brought down the house.

The peak of the show may have been a sketch in which Chevy played a job interviewer giving Pryor a word association test.

...The tension generated by Pryor and Chevy during the sketch could be felt distinctly in the audience, and there was a nervous edge to the laughter not usually associated with TV comedy.

Pryor used the word ass twice on the show, but the censor manning the delay device let both go by. (They were edited out of the taped version that was broadcast in the western tme zone later that night.)

The script....and scene:


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