Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Saturday Night Live: "Margot Kidder & The Chieftains"

Aired March 17, 1979

The show opens in a Doyle's Tavern, an Irish pub in Chicago. The bar is decked out in St. Patrick's day decor.    DJ Dick Lanky (Bill Murray) is broadcasting live for WGN radio.

Lanky and the bar patrons are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the ghost of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. It seems the late Mayor visited the pub last St. Paddy's Day. Lanky takes calls from listeners who have inane questions for Daley's ghost.

After the opening montage, host Margot Kidder delivers the opening monologue. She talks about New York's celebration of St. Patrick's Day, saying it "makes Mardi Gras look like a wake." The camera keeps pointing towards the floor and away from Kidder.

Gilda Radner joins Kidder and informs her that most of SNL's camera crew is Irish...and drunk. They visit the control room and find the director Dave Wilson nearly passed out!

Later, St. Mickey's Knights Of Columbus holds their annual St. Patrick's Day Banquet, with Frank Leary (John Belushi) presiding over the festivities.

On Weekend Update, Father Guido Sarducci (Don Novello) delivers a commentary on the holiday. He says that St. Patrick was a good, but not great saint. Sarducci also wonders why Patrick gets more attention and why there are no parades celebrating St. Joseph's Day.

Next up is a party hosted by Superman (Murray) and Lois Lane (with Kidder reprising her film role). Other superheroes attend the party, including Flash (Dan Aykroyd), Ant-Man (Garret Morris) Lois asks the Hulk (Belushi) if he was Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick's Day parade. Hulk tells her it was "the Green Lantern's turn this year. We rotate."

The musical guests on this show were the Chieftains, who helped popularize traditional Irish music all over the world. They perform "If I Had Maggie in the Woods" and "Morning Dew".

J.A. Morris says:
This is a great episode from the classic era of SNL. Sometimes the best hosts are the ones who are game for anything and don't try to hog the spotlight. Kidder is one of those hosts.

The Superman sketch was the highlight of the show for me (and not just because I'm a comic book enthusiast!). It's great to see Kidder poke fun at her then-recent portrayal of Lois Lane, and Belushi's performance as the Hulk is one of his best moments on SNL.

The Cheiftains' numbers are perfect for the occasion, they perform in front of a "Irish farm" set that includes a fog machine!

The opening bit about Mayor Daley's ghost is fun too, I won't spoil how it ends.

My summary only covered the Holiday-themed sketches on this episode, but it also includes Dan Aykroyd's classic one-shot performance as "Fred Garvin:Male Prostitute."

This episode can be found on dvd on Saturday Night Live:The Complete Fourth Season.  It also streams on Amazon.

My rating:

4 Shamrocks

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