George Carlin/Frankie Goes To Hollywood (11.10.1984)

Mondale Open – Gary Kroeger does an electric razor
commercial as Walter Mondale and then takes off his prosthetic nose and speaks to
the audience out of character about how he regrets spending the summer working
on this impression now that Mondale got his ass handed to him by the Electoral
College. He also mentions that he only got to do Mondale once on the show last
week, but it was actually twice as he made an appearance in the season opener.
He the puts the nose back on and asks the audience to indulge him as he opens
the show with “Live from New York – a state I thought I’d carry – it’s Saturday
Night.” He makes this out to be that last time we will ever see his Mondale
impression, but he would make one more appearance before the season is through.
This was a great opening. Kroeger was pretty funny here with his self
deprecating comments and his chewing out Mondale for losing. I also liked how
the line “nobody likes to lose an election by a whisker” got a few groans from
the audience. B+
Monologue – The show opens with footage of Carlin walking
out to the home base stage from his appearance on the very first SNL in 1975
(set to the Ebersol theme song) and cut back to Carlin at the “newsstand” stage
that night jokingly asking “who’s that guy on the tape?” He makes the
obligatory “gee, I must have been good if they had me back after __years” joke
and then talks about the response to the religious material he did on his first
show. New York Archbishop Cardinal Cooke called to complain at 1:00AM that “God
was not a suitable subject for a TV monologue.” Carlin states that he felt his
monologue was rather uncontroversial and does some jokes about how god may not
be perfect. He then states his intention to get Archbishop O’Connor (the then
current Archbishop of New York) on the phone by the end of this show. He then
mentions Jerry Falwell just briefly and states his support of the separation of
church and state and dedicates a prayer to the cause. This “prayer” consists of
sampled excerpts of the Lord’s Prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star
Spangled Banner thrown together. This monologue had its moments although it
wasn’t as good as his ’75 routine or most of his other stand up material. I did
like his joke about how Archbishops today devote so much time to important
political matters that “they barely have time to think” and the church and
state bit. He must have had to tone down his edginess for Ebersol’s SNL. B-
Willie & Frankie II – Crystal and Guests’ much maligned
masochists make their second appearance. This sketch is the one that is used
most often in clips shows and anniversary specials when the Ebersol period is
being looked at in particular. This time, they are night watchmen. They do
their typical shtick of Crystal talking about opportunities of meeting new
people compared to their previous job and Guest making a joke about their
sexual prowess before describing absurd amounts of pain they’ve suffered. I did
like Guest talking about cutting his toes with a huge linoleum knife and
putting couch drops in his nose after scraping his mucus membranes, but other
than that this was the same reasonably irritating routine. Both players
noticeable break character at the end and Crystal explains this in the “Lost
and Found” ‘80s special right after Short talks about how he Crystal, Shearer
and Guest would just write sketches to make each other laugh instead of
pandering to the audience. When Guest was talking about rolling around on all
those thumbtacks, he was supposed to just say “I got naked” but he said
“stripped down to the nude.” Crystal didn’t like how he “made it a thing” like
that and it made him break character slightly. C+
Profiles In Sports – This was the first filmed piece of the
night. It was a profile of high school chess coach Donald Ramp (Belushi) and
the high and low points of his career. This was a pretty funny premise that I
thought was executed well. The juxtaposition of Belushi as a tough shark of a
coach with a low contact sport like chess was great. I also loved how his
moving of one little piece on the board incited a huge riot. A-
Joe Franklin – Crystal debuts his impression of the New York
talk show host and reigning “king of nostalgia.” From what I’ve seen, Crystal
did well enough with the impression. He had the voice down well and looked
enough like him with the help of a prosthetic nose. His guests are
ventriloquist Senor Cosa (Guest) who proved to be virtually useless. Guest
isn’t actually the worst ventriloquist ever (although you can see his lips
moving), but all he did was correct Crystal through his puppet on the
pronunciation of “Cosa” (explaining that he uses the castellan lispy “Co-th-a”
pronunciation) and randomly say other Spanish phrases. Carlin played New York
fireman Dan Halloran who promotes a benefit barbecue for fireman’s occupational
hazards. He was pretty funny just doing his “dumb guy” voice and answering
every question with the phrase “ah, not that I know of Joe”. Short’s albino
crooner Jackie Rogers Jr. makes his SNL debut in this sketch. I’m sure he did
this bit before on SCTV like he did Ed Grimley, but I’m not really inclined to
look that up at the moment. I never quite got this character (much like a lot
of his other bits) and there wasn’t much to this bit, but Short is still a good
song and dance man. I did like how his book was titled “Damn you daddy sir.”
This sketch probably went on a bit longer than it should have, but it had its moments
nonetheless. C+
Rich Hall’s Election Report – Hall comments on the
“rhetoric” of the 84 campaign by syncing actual Reagan/Mondale quotes to old
Warner Bros. cartoons. This bit really didn’t seem to have a point and just
looked like filler, but it was at least entertaining. C+
Strategic Airborne Contraceptive – Julia Louis Dreyfus hawks
this device that uses the NORAD defense system to seek out and destroy men’s
sperm as they come into contact with a lady’s womb. She and Kroeger are seen
necking briefly. This was sort of a high concept bit, but it was worth a few
laughs. I liked the blaring alarm from Julias’ womb and the sperm showing up on
the radar. C+
Ye Old Comedy Shoppe – This sketch takes place in the times
of the Revolutionary War. Carlin plays comic Jackie Jefferson. The sketch
revolves entirely around Carlin as he stands up on stage and tells a string of
hackneyed Seinfeld-esque gags. Kroeger is the emcee and Pamela Stephenson can
be briefly seen singing at the beginning. This sketch went on a bit too long
and nothing really stands out. C+
The Ghostbuster Show – Belushi plays public access host Chad
Webb (in what appears to be a homemade Ghostbuster uniform) who chats with his
guests about the film. His guests are Chi Chi (Dreyfus) and Consuela (Mary
Gross) whom he met in line to see the film for the 71st time. Shearer is a
caller who asks about a rumor that Ghostubsters II would feature a whole new
cast including Tim Matheson and Prince. There wasn’t a lot to this sketch
either, but Gross and Dreyfus sure made it entertaining with the debut of these
characters. Sure, it was kind of dumb but I found something oddly hot about
their accents. This sketch sort of reminded me of the “KISS Forum” gag from
Family Guy for some reason. Something about it seemed a little masturbatory for
SNL seeing as Murray and Aykroyd were the stars of that film and they seemed to
just be congratulating them for the film’s success (although Rick Moranis is
name checked instead of them) but maybe this was just meant to be a shout out
to Murray because he was apparently scheduled to host this show at first, but
had to cancel. B-
Saturday Night News – Carlin anchors the news (wearing a
regular sweater as opposed to a suit and tie). Stephenson formally introduced
America to her (fake) breasts so men can start treating her right. They move
around on their own (much like B. Spears in her first hosting stint) as she
gives a commentary on men walking small dogs. A hand is seen under the desk as
she flings herself overboard. Carlin invites her out for milkshakes later. I’m
not quite sure how they pulled that bit off, but it was very well done. Carlin
then comments on who might be running for president in ’88 and endorses
Charlton Heston pointing out his many similarities to Reagan. This bit had some
bite to it despite being a little dry, but it was still good. Kroeger comments
on tax dollars going to medical research and encourages more research for a
condition he suffers from known as “spot bleeding” (he takes off his jacket to prove
this). Carlin tells him he has to take the straight pins out of his new shirt
before putting them on making Kroeger look like a horses’ ass. This was pretty
funny. Lew Goldman (Crystal) gives the sports report for his relatives. This
was pretty much the same as his weather forecast from the Bob Uecker show and
there wasn’t much else to it. I didn’t care much for this. Carlin was a decent
news anchor, but he had some rather forgettable jokes. B-
Ted’s Book of World Records – Shearer and Ted McGinty (Carlin)
advertises a book entirely full of records that he was involved in. I don’t
need to explain much beyond that. This was a rather lame premise that was quite
similar to a sketch Chris Farley and Bob Newhart would do eleven years later.
This one, however was better preformed and didn’t just drag on. C+
In Thickness and in Health – Alan Thicke (Shearer) hosts
this talk show on the Cable Health Network (in the wake of his cancelled
“Thicke Of the Night”) and, as you might have guessed, it’s all about staying
in shape. Shearer’s impression was dead on. His guest is the great old
songwriter Irving S. Cohen (Short, debuting another SCTV character on SNL). He
just rambled about vaudeville and sang all the songs he’d written. Thicke
evaluates his stress on a treadmill. This sketch was interrupted by an ad for
“International Star Health” which was a tabloid about celebrity illnesses and
diet/exercise habits. The only real laugh I got from this from Short sprinting
at high speed on the treadmill as Shearer stepped off and coming back from the
commercial to find him collapsed on the floor. I also liked the show being
billed as ”A Thicke-Or-Get-Off-The-Pot Production.” Other than those, this
sketch was pretty forgettable. C+
Cop Family – Carlin is an old cop and his son Bobby
(Crystal) is going through training at the academy. Bobby has to talk about how
he isn’t doing well at the academy and doesn’t feel cut out to be a cop. His
father would just ignore him and make unrelated cryptic comments. Their entire
family had been cops and Carlin labels his son as a quitter. As they are about
to bond, Crystal shoots himself in the leg. The premise was pretty self
explanatory. Aside from Crystal’s lame lines about his own incompetence, this
sketch was pretty funny. B-

At the goodnights, Carlin says they still haven’t gotten a
call from the Archbishop and jokes “see you again (maybe) in another nine
years. I shudder to think what Carlin would’ve been like hosting SNL in 1993 or
2002. Anyway, Carlin proved to be a capable performer even if some of the
material seemed a little beneath him. Next episode is Ed Asner/The Kinks.


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