Saturday Night Live/Rob Reiner

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Rob Reiner
Season 1, Episode 3
Airdate October 25, 1975
Production Number 003
Written by Anne Beatts
Chevy Chase
Al Franken &
Tom Davis
Lorne Michaels
Rosie Apple
Michael O'Donoghue
Herb Sargent
Tom Schiller
Alan Zweibel
Albert Brooks (film)
Directed by Dave Wilson
Albert Brooks (film)
← 1x02
Paul Simon/Randy Newman, Phoebe Snow
1x04 →
Candice Bergen/Esther Phillips
Saturday Night LiveSeason One

Rob Reiner is the third episode of the first season of Saturday Night Live, and the third episode overall. It is the first appearance by its host, and it has no musical guest.

Guest Stars: Rob Reiner (Host)

Special Guests: Penny Marshall (Herself/Square Dancer/Darling), The Lockers (Dance Troupe), Andy Kaufman (Comedian), Denny Dillon (Sister Mary Eugene), Mark Hampton (Sister Xavier Coogan)

Film Cast: Albert Brooks (Himself)


Episode Breakdown

  • Chevy Chase Wheelchair Pratfall: Nurse Janet (Curtin) wheels the wheelchair-bound Mr. Featherstone (Chase) into a day room, where she turns on soft music and leaves him alone. Featherstone tries to light a cigarette, but the lighter slips out of his hands and falls on the floor. He stands up and walks over to the lighter, then sits back down and turns off the music. As he starts to light his cigarette again, he realizes what he just did. He tosses the lighter on the floor and stands up to retrieve it, but he falls flat on his face.
  • Rob Reiner's Monologue: Reiner enters wearing a tuxedo and black wig and speaking in the boisterous manner of Las Vegas lounge singers. He greets women in the front row and says this is "the way I look live, ladies and gentlemen. This is the real me." He introduces a random man in the audience whom he identifies as noted songwriter and his "dear friend" Irving Berlin, but the man is not Berlin. Reiner then starts to pay tribute to another "close friend" who is "no longer with us, God rest his soul," Bob Dylan. When Reiner learns Dylan is still alive, he says they haven't talked in a while, and he transitions into singing a jazzy version of "Blowin' in the Wind." After the song, Reiner pays tribute to God and asks the audience to applaud Him. Reiner then talks nonsensically about love and sings a refrain of "Blowin' in the Wind." Afterwards, he exits the stage but immediately returns and thanks the audience again. When the applause dies down, Reiner takes off the wig and says, "I've always wanted to be one of those guys."
  • National Pancreas Association: When Ed (Belushi) complains he doesn't feel well, his wife (Radner) suggests it might be his pancreas. The next morning, a doctor (Aykroyd) says the problem is indeed Ed's pancreas. The doctor tells a knock-knock joke with no punchline, and Ed says he has ignored his pancreas. He goes home, where he tells his wife his pancreas is now healthy.
  • Fashion Mistakes: Reiner says people ask him if his wife is Sally Struthers, but his real wife is Marshall, who is in California. Don Pardo claims SNL has secretly flown Marshall in, and she enters. Reiner acts surprised, but Marshall says the appearance was planned all along. They host a fashion show for common fashion mistakes. Radner enters wearing a pantsuit, but she is wearing her Thursday underwear on the outside. Newman wears a rhinestone-studded dress complete with the cellophane and hanger from the dry cleaner's. Morris has a chair strapped to his back in case there is no chair available. Curtin has a giant rubber hamster head mask. Aykroyd struts onto the stage in a black, open-front "double-knit leisure suit from Norman of Newark," and Reiner says his mistake is, "Don't wear them. They make you look like a moron." Belushi has a lobster on his eyebrows. O'Donoghue wears a top hat and tails, but a long piece of toilet paper is stuck to his back.
  • Golden Needles: Various people go about their day-to-day activities, including Chase as someone playing tennis, but each claims to be undergoing major surgery at the time. The announcer (Coe) says their secret is Golden Needles Voodoo Acupuncture. He tells viewers how to send in for treatment, in which major medical procedures are performed through acupuncture on voodoo dolls by Haitian witch doctors.
  • Pop Goes the Weasel: Kaufman lip-syncs to a children's record of the traditional song "Pop Goes the Weasel," in which a male baritone sings the song and talks to his daughter. Kaufman acts out the man's role and hams up his facial expressions and dancing. Whenever the invisible little girl sings, he patronizes her and seems mildly annoyed.
  • Dangerous but Inept: Curtin hosts a talk show where she interviews "dangerous but inept" guests. Her guest, would-be assassin and Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme (Newman), threatens to shoot Curtin, but the gun doesn't fire. As Curtin asks Fromme questions, Fromme angrily defends Manson and tries to make her gun work, but she can't.
  • Felina Cat Food: An announcer promotes a brand of cat food, which he claims tastes as good as regular tuna. He has a woman take a taste test, and she agrees the cat food-flavored casserole is delicious, but she is disgusted when she learns she just ate cat food.
  • The Lockers Dance Troupe: The Lockers perform to a funky piece of music, and they continue to dance after the music has stopped.
    "OUR TOP STORY TONIGHT!" Morris reads the news for the hard of hearing.
  • Weekend Update.
    • Newman reports live from the Blaine Hotel, where terrorists called "Blowfish" are holding hostages. They have announcer Don Pardo read their list of demands, and he reads them in the style of promotional consideration credits for a game show.
    • Cutting back from the "Wrigley's Gum" commercial, Pardo says guests of SNL are given accomodations at the Blaine Hotel.
    • Chase repeats the top story as a service to the hearing impaired. As Chase re-reads the headline, Morris shouts it at the top of his lungs.
  • Wrigley's Gum: A commercial parody which airs during WU for Wrigley's gum, set at a funeral with the tagline, "The gum good enough to be enjoyed by the deceased." Radner plays the deceased's widow, and Newman and O'Donoghue are visible as two of the mourners.
  • Joe Cocker - With a Little Help from My Friends: Joe Cocker (Belushi) staggers across the stage and mugs as he sings. He tries to drink a beer but ends up splashing it all over himself. At the end of the song, he collapses onto his back on the stage.
  • Anti-Defamation League for Droolers: A representative of the Anti-Defamation League for Droolers (Chase) makes a plea for equal treatment for droolers and drools profusely while doing so.
  • Middle American Van Lines: Middle American Van Lines helps a family move, but rather than packing up their belongings into the moving van, the movers throw blankets over the family themselves and throw them into the van.
  • Sadistic Hoe-Down: Four square dancing couples (Chase & Marshall; Morris & Curtin; O'Donoghue & Newman; Belushi & Radner) do everything the cackling caller (Aykroyd) instructs them to, which includes pulling each other's noses, kicking each other in the shins and punching each other in the mouths. At the end, the caller tells them to shoot each other, and as they do, one dancer kills the caller.
  • The Muppets - Crater Heads in Gorch: King Ploobis learns from his wife Queen Peuta that his son Wisss is "smoking craters." Ploobis investigates to find Wisss blowing smoke out his long snout and talking in hippie slang. Ploobis tries to tell Wisss to stop, but Wisss won't listen. Scred suggests Ploobis speak to Wisss in slang, but that doesn't work, either, so Ploobis asks Scred to talk to Wisss. When Scred approaches Wisss, Wisss blows smoke in his face and makes Scred high, too. Ploobis and Scred go to the Mighty Favog for advice, but all Favog says is, "The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind."
  • Talent Night: Sister Mary Eugene (Dillon) emcees her convent's talent night accompanied by Sister Xavier Coogan (Hampton) on electronic keyboard. Mary Eugene introduces a visiting nun who is just back from the Phillippines and reads a postcard from a nun in their convent who is on a mission in the Congo. Mary Eugene kicks off the talent night with a joke from Catholic World and a magic trick in which she makes two inspirational cards of the saints switch to different pictures. She ends with a singalong of "Kumbaya," including a Pacific-style song for the sisters in the Phillippines.
  • What Gilda Ate: Reiner introduces the "new feature," in which Radner describes everything she has eaten that day. As she continues, it becomes clear Radner has eaten a lot that day, including a "Milk Dud covered with tobacco in the bottom of my purse." Reiner cuts Radner off and says they are out of time, so Radner leaves to get a snack.
  • Albert Brooks Film - Operation: Brooks says he placed an ad in newspapers asking for a volunteer to allow him to perform heart bypass surgery on them to fulfill his dreams of being a surgeon. He has gotten a patient, Ralph Porter of San Francisco, an older Jewish man. Brooks is exhausted from studying and has a sore throat on the day of the surgery, but the Porters aren't worried when Brooks shows up to have them sign forms. On the way to the operating room, Brooks shows the Porters an "Invisible Man" heart he was unable to put back together, so he gives it to Mrs. Porter for her grandson. Dr. Bernard Millman uses the model to describe what a bypass operation is. Brooks confers with his assistant, Dr. Edwin Hiller, who says he is in charge of the surgery. Dr. Hal Lester and Dr. Millman also assist. As Brooks starts to perform the surgery, Dr. Hiller corrects his mistakes, but Porter is still awake because the anesthesiologist hasn't come by yet. Brooks and Porter goof off until the anesthesiologist, Dr. Pat Souder, can come put Porter under. Brooks has trouble cutting Porter open, so he starts to have a crisis of confidence, but he rallies and goes to work. Dr. Hiller continues to correct Brooks until Brooks gets fed up and pulls Hiller aside. When Brooks learns the other surgeons have taken a vein out of Porter's leg, he is angry because he bought a "synthetic miracle vein." The other surgeons laugh, and Brooks discovers the "miracle vein" is a prank pulled by interns to haze him, and he joins in the laughter. As the surgery continues, Brooks lets Mrs. Porter come into the operating room and see what the doctors are doing to her husband. Tragedy strikes when Dr. Souder dies of a heart attack, which complicates surgery when Porter's anesthesia starts to wear off. Brooks quickly sews Porter up and pays Hiller half his fee until Brooks can be sure Porter is all right.
  • The Bees - Restaurant Sketch: A man (Reiner) and his married girlfriend (Marshall) have a melodramatic scene in which the man complains whenever she brings up another person's name. At first, the waiter in the background (Chase) is dressed normally, but as the scene continues, the extras (Belushi, Newman, Aykroyd, Curtin, Morris, O'Donoghue, Radner, et al.) are all in bee costumes. Reiner breaks character to say he was promised there would be no bees in this episode, because they hadn't worked in the first two episodes. Marshall tries to calm him down, but Reiner gets more agitated. Belushi breaks character and says the cast didn't choose to be bees, but the substandard writers couldn't come up with anything better. An increasingly agitated Belushi says he and the cast are merely trying to break into show business, because they can't all be on hit shows like Reiner. The rallied cast storms off the set and leaves an embarrassed Reiner to mumble to himself.


"Live from New York, It's Saturday Night!"

  • Chevy Chase as Mr. Featherstone, who has tried but failed to walk out of his wheelchair.


  • Blowin' in the Wind, performed by Rob Reiner: Bob Dylan's 1963 folk protest song which was included on his second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. It launched an era of protest songs and folk hits, but Dylan certainly never intended for it to become a jazzy lounge song as it is when Reiner sings it here.
  • With a Little Help from My Friends, performed by John Belushi (as Joe Cocker): Originally written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney for the Beatles' revolutionary 1967 concept album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Cocker's bluesy 1968 cover charted at #1 in the UK and became one of few Beatles covers to be as successful or more successful for other artists as the Fab Four's original version.


The Show

  • First Appearance: The song "With a Little Help from My Friends" marks John Belushi's first appearance in an impression of blues singer Joe Cocker, a recurring impression for Belushi on the show. In fact, Belushi's impression of Cocker and Laraine Newman's impression of Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme in the sketch "Dangerous but Inept" make Cocker and Fromme the first two celebrities ever to be impersonated by cast members of the show.
  • Uncredited Cast Member: Although cast member George Coe is not listed in the opening credits, he appears in this episode in the pre-taped "Golden Needles" sketch.
  • Uncredited Anybody: Because this episode ran long in its original broadcast, it aired without closing credits or even the traditional goodnights.
  • Writer Cameos: Writers Anne Beatts, Tom Davis and Al Franken all play mourners in the "Wrigley's Gum" sketch. Also in the sketch, writer Tom Schiller plays the priest, and Alan Zweibel is the deceased. This was Franken's first on-screen appearance on SNL, but he would go on to become a recurring featured cast member.
  • ROB REINER IS THE THIRD EPISODE OF THE FIRST SEASON OF SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE!: This episode is the first time Morris repeats the top story on Weekend Update for the hard of hearing. This would be one of the most frequently repeated gags on Chase's run as WU anchor.
  • Host vs. Star: Reiner's appearance in "the Bees" sketch marks the first time the host of the show appears in character in a sketch. However, throughout the sketch, the in-character Reiner does not interact with the Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players, who play extras in the background. As soon as Reiner is alerted to the cast's presence, he breaks character and becomes a host again. It should be noted that "special guest" Marshall does interact in costume and in character with the cast in the sketch "Sadistic Hoe-Down." In general, Reiner and Marshall have much more contact with the cast throughout this episode than previous hosts George Carlin and Paul Simon, but this episode is still a far cry from the more familiar formula of today, in which the host is usually just another (very important) cast member.

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

Memorable Moments

  • WU for the hearing impaired.
  • John Belushi as Joe Cocker performs "With a Little Help from My Friends."


  • Chevy Chase: And now as a public service to those of our viewers who have difficulty with their hearing, I will repeat the top story of the day aided by the headmaster of the New York School for the Hard of Hearing, Mr. Garrett Morris. Our top story tonight...
    Garrett Morris: OUR TOP STORY!
    Chevy Chase: ... President Ford is finally over that stubborn, weeklong cold.