Saturday Night Live (Season 3)

Saturday Night Live Season 3
The Saturday Night Live title card as seen in the opening credits of the third season.
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 20
Original channel NBC
Original run September 24, 1977 – May 20, 1978
Home video release
DVD release date May 13, 2008
Season chronology
← Previous
Next →
List of Saturday Night Live episodes

Saturday Night Live aired its third season during the 1977–1978 television season on NBC. The season began on September 24, 1977 and ended on May 20, 1978. The DVD for the entire season was released on May 13, 2008.

The entire cast from the previous season returned for season three. The show also introduced the concept of the "featured player." Writers Tom Davis and Al Franken became cast members.

The season is also notable for the contest, Anyone Can Host. During the start of the season the show advertised the contest for a non-celebrity to host the show. The winner was 80 year-old grandmother Miskel Spillman, the only non-celebrity to host an SNL episode. During Spillman's show the musical guest, Elvis Costello, halted his band, the Attractions, seven seconds into the song "Less Than Zero", launching into "Radio Radio", an as-yet unreleased song critical of mainstream broadcasting. The change angered Lorne Michaels, who banned future appearances on the show for a while.

Chevy Chase's hosted during the season, making him the first cast member to host after leaving the show. Backstage during the show Chase and Bill Murray engaged in a physical altercation that was broken up by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. Chase later accused Murray of trying to upstage him on set and for making explicit remarks about Chase's wife. Chase would host the show several times throughout the show's history, though he was unpopular with the cast and crew.


bold denotes Weekend Update anchor


Tom Davis and Al Franken get prominent amounts of screen time. Brian Doyle-Murray and Don Novello join the writing staff. Michael O'Donoghue temporarily leaves the show.


Saturday Night Live season 3 episodes
No. # Host(s) Musical guest(s) Original airdate
471 Steve Martin Jackson BrowneSeptember 24, 1977
First appearance of the Festrunk Brothers. Jackson Browne performs "Running on Empty" and "The Pretender." Dan Aykroyd makes his debut appearance as co-anchor of Weekend Update alongside Jane Curtin. John Belushi performs as Roy Orbison. 
482 Madeline Kahn Taj MahalOctober 8, 1977
Australian comedian Barry Humphries appears as Dame Edna Everage. Taj Mahal plays "Queen Bee." 
493 Hugh Hefner Libby TitusOctober 15, 1977
504 Charles Grodin Paul SimonOctober 29, 1977
Simon performs "Slip Slidin' Away" and "You're Kind" (a song from Still Crazy After All These Years), accompanied on both songs by harmonica player Toots Thielemans and a backing band. One sketch features Paul Simon and Charles Grodin attempting to sing "The Sound of Silence", with Grodin wearing an Art Garfunkel wig. After several aborted starts (with Grodin singing off-key and forgetting the lyrics), Simon walks off the stage. Grodin then proceeds to sing a verse of "Bridge Over Troubled Water", after which the real Art Garfunkel walks on stage and asked Grodin to take off the wig. The episode is played as if Grodin had not attended dress rehearsals and does not know the scripts. Several of the sketches break the fourth wall when Grodin addresses the cast members by their real names and players discuss the nature of the characters and situations in "Samurai Dry Cleaners", "Killer Bees Trick-or-Treat" and a sketch about incompetence. Roseanne Roseannadanna makes her debut in this episode's "Hire the Incompetent" sketch. 
515 Ray Charles Ray CharlesNovember 12, 1977
Comedian Franklyn Ajaye and Buck Henry make guest appearances. Ray Charles leads the band in a jam during the closing credits. 
526 Buck Henry Leon RedboneNovember 19, 1977
Henry uses his monologue to introduce the five finalists in the "Anyone Can Host" contest. The five finalists are then featured sporadically throughout the episode, including an appearance in a film by Gary Weis. In a sketch, John Belushi plays himself as a retired athlete, endorsing "Little Chocolate Donuts," a parody of Bruce Jenner's Wheaties ad. The voice over for the commercial while Belushi is running is done by sportscaster Marv Albert. A film by Tom Schiller is featured. 
537 Mary Kay Place Willie NelsonDecember 10, 1977
Willie Nelson and Mary Kay Place sing their duet, "Something to Brag About." Andy Kaufman makes a guest appearance. 
548 Miskel Spillman Elvis CostelloDecember 17, 1977
Miskel Spillman was the winner of SNL's "Anyone Can Host" contest. Elvis Costello performs "Watching the Detectives" and was scheduled to perform "Less Than Zero" but halted his band the Attractions seven seconds into the song, launching into "Radio Radio", an as-yet unreleased song critical of mainstream broadcasting. Al Franken's parents, Joseph and Phoebe Franken, appear as an elderly couple in the "Franken & Davis Show" sketch. 
559 Steve Martin Randy NewmanJanuary 21, 1978
Steve Martin references that a snowstorm the day before caused limited rehearsals. Members of The Dirt Band perform backing vocals during Randy Newman's performance of "Short People." 
5610 Robert Klein Bonnie RaittJanuary 28, 1978
The cold open features Paul Shaffer as Don Kirshner and Mr. Mike. Shaffer also appears as Nick the Lounge Singer's pianist. Bill Murray's "Nick Winters" lounge singer performs "Star Wars, nothing but Star Wars..." Because of the recent crash of the highly radioactive Soviet spy satellite Cosmos 954 in northern Canada, this episode makes continuing reference to giant mutant lobsters reportedly heading for NYC, climaxing with them invading the studio during the show's ending credits. Klein joins Bonnie Raitt on harmonica on the song, "Give It Up or Let Me Go." 
5711 Chevy Chase Billy JoelFebruary 18, 1978
Chevy Chase appears on Weekend Update, as "senior anchorperson." 
5812 O. J. Simpson Ashford and SimpsonFebruary 25, 1978
Every cast member, as well as Don Novello and O.J. Simpson, are featured in Samurai Night Fever, a parody of Saturday Night Fever. John Belushi dances to The Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive
5913 Art Garfunkel Stephen BishopMarch 11, 1978
This episode features the short film, Don't Look Back in Anger, in which an aged John Belushi visits the graves of the "Not Ready for Primetime Players" cast and claims that he's the last living member. Andy Kaufman makes a guest appearance. 
6014 Jill Clayburgh Eddie MoneyMarch 18, 1978
6115 Christopher Lee Meat LoafMarch 25, 1978
On Weekend Update, the Writers Guild strikes against Sesame Street ("picket" "scab" "don't, it might get infected") and the"Point/Counterpoint" segment is introduced. A Gary Weis short film, titled “Cold as Ice”, features an uncredited Stacy Keach being repeatedly stabbed with scissors and a gun and eventually shot with a shotgun, all in slow-motion, by a unnamed blonde to the tune of the Foreigner song of the same name. Richard Belzer makes a stand-up appearance, including Muzak versions of Rolling Stones hits; he does an impersonation of Mick Jagger, with the SNL band as backup. 
6216 Michael Palin Eugene RecordApril 8, 1978
In the opening monologue, Michael Palin plays Palin's manager, who ends up stuffing live cats down his trousers; one of the cats defecates freely all over his arm. Palin, with only a one-minute costume change afterward, performs the RC Priest and Very Famous Man (Trunk Escape) sketches with feces still on his clothes.[1] 
6317 Michael Sarrazin Keith JarrettApril 15, 1978
This episode features a short black and white film, La Dolce Gilda
6418 Steve Martin The Blues BrothersApril 22, 1978
6519 Richard Dreyfuss Jimmy Buffett
Richard Dreyfuss
Gary Tigerman
May 13, 1978

The cold opening features Paul Shaffer as Don Kirshner, introducing The Blues Brothers singing "Hey Bartender."

Sketches include the Czech brothers, "Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber," a Martin and Radner dance sketch, a performance of "King Tut," a Gary Weis film with ballet dancers and breakdancers, and "Nerds at the Science Fair." The Blues Brothers perform "I Don't Know." This episode was nominated for an Emmy and was later selected as TV Guide's #12 Top Episode of all time.[2] 
6620 Buck Henry Sun RaMay 20, 1978
Father Guido Sarducci (Don Novello) makes a guest appearance. Paul Shaffer appears as lounge singer Nick Winter's piano player and as Dreyfuss' piano player, as Dreyfuss sings "Seduced" by Gary Tigerman. Twice in the episode, Dreyfuss hears the Jaws theme. During the closing credits, Richard is attacked by the Land Shark

DVD release

Season 3 was released on DVD May 13, 2008 [3]


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.