Harry Anderson/Bryan Adams (2.9.1985)

Some of you might know that Harry Anderson was previously a
frequent guest performer on SNL. He made a couple of appearances a year during
each of Ebersol’s previous seasons (except for 83-84 where he only appeared
once) but this is the first time he would actually host (and his only
appearance of the 84-85 season).
Congress – Robert Latta (Hall) wanders his way into what
appears to be the Reagan’s 1985 State of the Union. This was just Hall
superimposed into footage of the speech with a green screen. He waves at G.H.W.
Bush, presents a birthday cake to Reagan, puts Alka Seltzer in Tip O’Neil’s’
water and opens the show with LFNY. This turned out to be pretty funny for what
is was and was definitely better than the “Inauguration” clip from the Schieder
episode. I liked how they muted the congressional applause for one of Reagan’s
comments. B-
Monologue – The “Night Court” star comes out and mentions
this as being his eighth appearance on this show. He also acknowledges that he
is dropping his old hat/con/geek act now that he is an establishing himself as
a “judge”. Harry then tells us of his new clean “family” act with his new
guinea pig, Skippy. Harry leads us to believe that Skippy won’t do his
“acrobatic tricks” because of a refusal to “work with a Caucasian drummer”, so
Harry eats Skippy. This was a very funny monologue and I rather liked the dark
tone of it. It does remind me of Weird Al Yankovic’s “Harvey The Wonder
Hamster” sketches where Al would edit shots of a real hamster in with an
obviously fake one as he casually tossed it across the room and launch him off
a tiny ramp. I still wonder how Anderson might have pulled this trick off. B+
Kate and Ali Valentines’ Day Special – Short and Crystal
reprise their impressions of the greatest actress and boxer of all time
(respectively) for this fake promo for an alleged three hour special. Hepburn
(Short) finds herself all alone on Valentine’s Day and Muhammad (Crystal) comes
back from a bad date…so they decide to have casual sex. Well…that was deeply
disturbing. I never really cared for the first installment of this sketch and I
don’t see why they needed to recur it. D-
American Profiles – Linda Ellerbee (Dreyfus) hosts this
second piece on famed novelty makers Herb (Guest) and Al (Crystal) Minkman who
consider themselves the embodiment of the American Dream. They briefly discuss
their ancestors Eli and Atticus Minkman, the latter being present at
Independence Hall signing wearing a fake schnozz. This time, they decide to
participate in the NY Mets “Dream Week” ’85 as the only dream they haven’t
achieved yet is playing major league baseball. Plus, they claim to have
invented the original two person wave. As they haven’t played in thirty years
and are out of shape, they enlist the help of their own novelty products (like
exploding bats, radio controlled slow flying balls and fake dog doo and vomit
they would place about the diamond) to help them get their edge back against
former Mets greats. At the end, they share a post game dribble glass champagne.
This wasn’t as great as they original and they really should’ve left these
characters in a one off sketch, but upon second viewing this wasn’t quite as
bad as I had remembered. C+
Dueling Magi – Anderson with his slick con man act squares
off against the glamorous illusions of Doug Henning (Hall). Henning makes his
wife Debby Douillard (Stephenson) magically appear out of a dollhouse and
Anderson just shoots him. This was brief and Anderson really made this sketch
just by underplaying it. Hall’s Doug Henning is starting to wear a bit thin. If
they were going to keep doing these sketches, why didn’t they just have Short
play him? Pamela looked pretty hot. I wonder how they got her in that house
that quick. B+
While You Were Gone – Cecil (Belushi) comes home from the
post office to find that his wife Barbara (Gross) has married a stranger named
Phillip and had the dog put to sleep. She is also pregnant. He was waiting in a
long line for twenty minutes and he was assumed dead. Suddenly, her first
husband Albert (Guest) comes back from work. This sketch felt a little
derivative, but it was enjoyable. Belushi played a decent straight man to Gross
and I did like her line “life is for the prompt.” C+
Ronald Reagan Jeans – This was short footage of Reagan on
his ranch and preparing to sign huge budget and tax plans wearing a denim
jacket. Hall narrates with the tagline “Ronald Reagan Jeans – Guaranteed to
voluntarily shrink by 5% but still as baggy as ever.” I didn’t quite get the
point to this and it didn’t feel like it still held up. D+
Oscar Talk – Crystal and Guest reprise their roles as Ricky
and Phil. They are playing Trivial Pursuit, but Ricky can only answer questions
about film. Phil asks Ricky to justify the Oscar picks for best picture and
discuss their personal picks. They even discuss taking a bus out to Hollywood,
kdnapping Price and Waterhouse and rigging the show. This wasn’t as good as the
Super Bowl sketch, btu it still ahd its funny moments. I liked the Pinocchio
discussion and Guest referring to Amadaeus as “a-may-dee-us”. B+
Saturday Night News – Best jokes: Weather Update, Goetz
settlement. Guest does a very long commentary on love and affection in the
White House for Valentines Day which we could’ve done without.Also, his hair
looked really sewaty and disheveled. It seemed to only be relevant to a joke
where he mentions the banning of beer commercials that glamorize alcohol abuse.
He burps and says he disagrees. That didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Defense
Secretary Caspar Weinberger (Hall) appears live via satelite from Washington to
addresss allegations of wasteful spending and fraud. He announces that he will
hold his breath until he gets $285 billion and Guest checks on him periodically
two more times later. He holds his breath until his eyes bulge and his head
inflates and pops like a giant baloon. This was pretty funny. Crystal reprises
his aging comic Buddy Young Jr. to give a restaurant review. He just did his
Hawaiian food routine from the “Mahvelous” album and went into the audience to
interact with Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Christopher Reeve. Crystal
didn’t add much, but that was a good way to work in some random unexpected
cameos. This was one of the better Updates of this season. B-
Salem Witch Trials – Edward Abbey Manning is accused of
witchcraft (Kroeger) is on trial and his sleazy lawyer Larry Grobner (Short)
shows up right under the wire. Manning tries to tell his lawyer he is innocent.
Brother Lowell is the prosecuting attorney whose opening statement just
consists of his pointing at Manning and yelling “WIIIIIIIIIITCH!” at the top of
his lungs. That was pretty funny. His witness is Mistress Cartwright
(Stephenson) who is pregnant and bears a huge letter “A” on her chest. She
claims Manning bequiled her taking the form of a goat and the crowd sides with
her. She reminded me of Denny Dillon with the voice she used. Grobner calls
Manning to the stand and it soon becomes evident that he is a witch as his hand
burns through the bible while he speaks in tounges. Grobern moves for dismissal
which the judge (Anderson) grants. This was a pretty well written and well
acted sketch. Short was good as a modern lawyer in medeval times and Kroeger
played his part well. B+
Hats – In this solo performance piece, “Harry the Hat”
professes his love for hats. He tells the audience of how an old street hobo in
Chicago taught him the ancient European clown art of chapography (hat making)
when he was a boy. He was eager to learn this as he really wanted a baseball
cap, but cash was tihgt and he only had but a dime for a piece of felt. He
showed Harry how he can cut a piece of felt into a donut shape and twist it
every way to get any kind of hat he wanted. He shows off his skills to the
audience much to their delight. This was a great type of avant garde solo
performance piece that was one of the highlights of Ebersol era SNL. A-
Small Time Agency – Howie Rosegarden (Kroeger) runs a talent
agency. His aunt and niece act Helen (Gross) and Giorgiana (Dreyfus) show him
their new number and asks for gigs. Howie tells them that most acts are only
interested in one of them and the only act that wanted them both was the
Bellevue cafeteria. Howie asks why they are a team and Giorgiana explains that
Helen saved her life twice and she felt like she owed her. Giorgiana and Howie
are about to convince Helen to leave the act when a rattlesnake appears out of
nowhere. Helen wrestles the snake and ties it in a knot. This was another sort
of strange sketch that turned out pretty funny. I liked how the flashback to
Gross saving Dreyfus’s life was Gross shooing away stock footage of a tiger and
dukcing from 20’s gangster gunshots even though they were both safely indoors.
Goodnights – Anderson brings Skippy back out saying “we were
just kiddin’” and hands him to Crystal. He then points out Carol Burnett in the
audience and invites her up on stage. Hall “wanders” on stage as Robert Latta.

This was one of the better shows of the season because they
were willing to try some more bizarre experimental things. Next episode is
Pamela Sue Martin/Power Station.

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