Saturday Night Live (Season 12)

Saturday Night Live Season 12
The Saturday Night Live title card as seen in the opening credits of the 12th season.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 20
Original channel NBC
Original run October 11, 1986 – May 23, 1987
Season chronology
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List of Saturday Night Live episodes

Saturday Night Live aired its twelfth season during the 1986-1987 television season on NBC. The 12th season started on October 11, 1986, the 11th anniversary of the show's first episode, and ended on May 23, 1987.

Despite plans to have Saturday Night Live canceled due to the ratings of its previous season, producer Lorne Michaels convinced Brandon Tartikoff to give the show another chance, provided that a better cast be found for the next season. As a result, many of season 11's cast members were fired, except for Nora Dunn, Jon Lovitz, featured player A. Whitney Brown, and Weekend Update anchor Dennis Miller. Al Franken was rehired as a writer. The rest were relative unknowns, led by Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Jan Hooks, Victoria Jackson, and Kevin Nealon. Hooks had auditioned to be in the season 10 and 11 casts, but had been turned down. Hartman helped write sketches in season 11's Thanksgiving episode hosted by Pee-wee Herman, and appeared in a sketch as a Pilgrim.

The first show of the 1986-1987 season opened with Madonna, host of the previous season opener, reading a "statement" from NBC about season 11's mediocre writing and bad cast choices. According to the "statement", the entire 1985-1986 season was "...all a dream. A horrible, horrible dream."

The season included "Masterbrain", a skit written by Jim Downey and Al Franken, in which Phil Hartman portrayed two sides of Ronald Reagan; 25 years later Todd Purdum called the skit "surely among the show’s Top 10 of all time."[1]


bold denotes Weekend Update anchor



Saturday Night Live season 12 episodes
No. # Host(s) Musical guest(s) Original airdate
2141 Sigourney Weaver (none)October 11, 1986
Madonna appears in the cold opening to read a statement from NBC about the 1985–1986 season: "It was all a dream—a horrible, horrible dream." Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Kevin Nealon, Victoria Jackson and Jan Hooks' first episode as cast members. Buster Poindexter and Christopher Durang appear as special guests. 
2152 Malcolm-Jamal Warner Run–D.M.C.October 18, 1986
Guest appearances are made by Sam Kinison, Buster Poindexter, and Spike Lee as his Mars Blackmon character from She's Gotta Have It
2163 Rosanna Arquette Ric OcasekNovember 8, 1986
Ric Ocasek appears as himself in Church Chat. 
2174 Sam Kinison Lou ReedNovember 15, 1986
Lou Reed performed "I Love You, Suzanne" from 1984's New Sensations and "Original Wrapper" from 1986's Mistrial
2185 Robin Williams Paul SimonNovember 22, 1986
Guest appearance by Art Garfunkel
2196 Chevy Chase
Steve Martin
Martin Short
Randy NewmanDecember 6, 1986
Chevy Chase acknowledges his recent stint in the Betty Ford Center in the monologue and cold opening, a sketch where klutzy people hold a support group meeting called Stumblebums Anonymous. In a sketch written by Jim Downey and Al Franken, Phil Hartman portrays President Ronald Reagan as Masterbrain, a "sweet, befuddled old man in public, who in private becomes the hard-charging director of the covert operation to finance the Nicaraguan Contras."[1] Guest appearance by Eric Idle
2207 Steve Guttenberg The PretendersDecember 13, 1986
Guest appearances by Penn & Teller and Buster Poindexter
2218 William Shatner Lone JusticeDecember 20, 1986
This show features a sketch where William Shatner, sick of Star Trek fans asking him inane questions, tells them to "Get a life!" Comedian Kevin Meaney makes a guest appearance. Lone Justice played "Shelter" and "I Found Love", while special guest Buster Poindexter played "Zat You, Santa?" 
2229 Joe Montana
Walter Payton
Deborah HarryJanuary 24, 1987
22310 Paul Shaffer Bruce Hornsby & the RangeJanuary 31, 1987
22411 Bronson Pinchot Paul YoungFebruary 14, 1987
Guest appearances by Paulina Porizkova and Buster Poindexter, who performs with the SNL Band
22512 Willie Nelson Willie NelsonFebruary 21, 1987
Danny DeVito makes a guest appearance. Willie Nelson performs "Nightlife" and "Partners After All". In a sketch, Nelson accompanies Victoria Jackson on "The Boyfriend Song". 
22613 Valerie Bertinelli Robert Cray BandFebruary 28, 1987
Bertinelli's then-husband, Eddie Van Halen, appears in a sketch and plays with the SNL Band. Guest appearance by Edwin Newman
22714 Bill Murray Percy SledgeMarch 21, 1987
22815 Charlton Heston Wynton MarsalisMarch 28, 1987
The episode features a short film by Ben Stiller
22916 John Lithgow Anita BakerApril 11, 1987
23017 John Larroquette Timbuk 3April 18, 1987
23118 Mark Harmon Suzanne VegaMay 9, 1987
23219 Garry Shandling Los LobosMay 16, 1987
Tracey Ullman appears in the filmed Hollywood Mom sketch. Nell Campbell appears in Tenny Café. A number of sketches had Shandling breaking the fourth wall, referring to the style of the then-airing It's Garry Shandling's Show. Los Lobos performed Is That All There is and One Time, One Night
23320 Dennis Hopper Roy OrbisonMay 23, 1987


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