6 Iconic SNL Skits from the 1970s That Still Crack Us Up

If you’re a fan of laughter and classic television, you can’t miss out on some of the most iconic skits from the 1970s era of Saturday Night Live.

This period brought to life unforgettable characters and moments that have since become legendary in the world of sketch comedy. SNL’s original cast members, including John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Bill Murray, created sketches that still resonate with audiences today.

These skits not only entertained millions but also reflected the creative and sometimes subversive spirit of the 1970s.

They provided a comedic lens through which viewers could see the quirks of society and politics.

Whether you’re new to these classic sketches or revisiting old favorites, you’ll find that these iconic moments are still as funny and relevant as ever.

1) The Coneheads

You can’t think of iconic SNL skits from the 1970s without mentioning The Coneheads.

Imagine a family of aliens with cone-shaped heads trying to fit in on Earth.

The skits featured Dan Aykroyd as Beldar, Jane Curtin as Prymaat, and Laraine Newman as their daughter, Connie.

The Coneheads first appeared on January 15, 1977, becoming instant favorites.

They often hilariously misunderstood human norms, like eating “mass quantities” of odd food or blending in with their neighbors.

One of their funny moments was when they met the Farber family.

Watching these aliens interact with their clueless human neighbors made for great comedy.

The absurdity of their appearance combined with their deadpan delivery was a winning formula.

The success of these skits led to a Coneheads movie years later.

SNL alum Jane Curtin, who played Prymaat, reminisced about the sketch’s success in interviews.

So, next time you think about SNL’s golden era, The Coneheads will surely come to mind.

Their quirky antics and unique look made them unforgettable staples of 1970s television.

2) Roseanne Rosannadanna

You can’t talk about iconic SNL skits from the 1970s without mentioning Roseanne Rosannadanna.

Played by Gilda Radner, this character appeared on Weekend Update as a consumer affairs reporter.

She always started talking about a common problem but quickly went off on wild tangents.

Roseanne was known for her wild black hair and quirky outfits.

Her rants often ended with, “It’s always something!” Her over-the-top monologues made audiences laugh every time.

In one famous skit, she talked about smoking, but soon drifted into stories about personal hygiene and trivial annoyances.

The humor came from her going completely off-topic and being hilariously candid.

Gilda Radner debuted Roseanne Rosannadanna in 1977.

The character was first seen in a skit called “Hire The Incompetent.” Over time, Roseanne became a beloved part of SNL.

SNL skits featuring Roseanne Rosannadanna captured the spirit and humor of the late 1970s.

Even decades later, her skits remain memorable and iconic.

3) Samurai Futaba

Samurai Futaba is one of the most memorable skits from Saturday Night Live’s early years.

John Belushi played the character, a samurai with a strong sense of honor who only spoke mock Japanese.

He carried a katana and always wore traditional samurai attire.

In the sketches, Samurai Futaba took on unexpected jobs like a bellhop, baker, or optometrist.

Despite the oddity of a samurai in these roles, he always performed his tasks with great skill.

The humor came from the contrast between his serious demeanor and the everyday jobs he was doing.

Buck Henry often played Mr. Dantley, a client not scared by the samurai’s intensity.

Their interactions added to the comedic effect and made the sketches even more entertaining.

Belushi’s performance made Samurai Futaba an iconic character in SNL history.

4) The Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers are one of the most memorable acts from “Saturday Night Live” in the 1970s.

Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi invented the characters of “Joliet” Jake and Elwood Blues.

They first appeared on SNL on April 22, 1978.

Their unique mix of comedy and music made them instant hits.

They performed energetic blues and soul songs while dressed in black suits, hats, and sunglasses.

The characters were so popular that they even got their own movie in 1980.

The Blues Brothers movie followed up on their SNL fame and became a classic itself.

This film allowed the characters to reach an even wider audience than the TV show.

They also inspired a second movie, “Blues Brothers 2000,” released years later.

You might recognize their performances of songs like “Soul Man” and “Gimme Some Lovin.” These sketches were not just funny but showcased great musical talent.

Their on-stage chemistry and witty banter were unforgettable.

Watching The Blues Brothers on SNL feels like experiencing a live concert mixed with comedy.

It’s easy to see why their skits remain iconic in the history of the show.

5) King Tut

“King Tut” is one of Steve Martin’s most memorable performances on SNL.

It aired on April 22, 1978, and quickly became a hit.

The skit features Martin dressed in Egyptian attire, humorously singing and dancing about the famous pharaoh, Tutankhamun.

The song pokes fun at the commercialization of the King Tut exhibit touring the U.S. during that time.

Martin’s parody highlights how the ancient Egyptian culture was turned into pop culture.

His quirky performance, combined with catchy tunes and funny lyrics, made “King Tut” an instant classic.

It was not only a hit on TV but also in music, reaching number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

If you watch the video, you’ll probably be singing along to the catchy chorus.

It’s a perfect mix of comedy and music that only someone like Steve Martin could pull off.

6) Weekend Update with Chevy Chase

Chevy Chase made history with his role on “Weekend Update.” This segment first aired in 1975 during “Saturday Night Live’s” inaugural season.

Chevy Chase delivered news parodies that made viewers laugh every Saturday night.

Chase’s deadpan delivery and satirical takes on real news set the tone for future “Weekend Update” anchors.

He coined catchphrases like “I’m Chevy Chase, and you’re not,” which became iconic.

“Weekend Update” was a standout not just for its humor but for how it introduced a new format.

This sketch influenced how comedic news shows are done today, paving the way for others like Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart.

Chevy’s run as the anchor was brief, as he left SNL in 1976.

Despite the short tenure, his impact was lasting.

His unique style and clever quips remain memorable, making “Weekend Update” a crucial part of SNL’s legacy.

The Cultural Impact of 1970s SNL

“Saturday Night Live” (SNL) created waves in the comedy world and influenced future generations of comedians.

Many of SNL’s original skits and characters remain iconic today.

Changing the Comedy Landscape

SNL broke new ground in the 1970s with its edgy and irreverent humor.

Before SNL, comedy on television often followed a tame, predictable format.

Shows like The Carol Burnett Show offered light-hearted, goofy humor.

Then came SNL, pushing boundaries with political satire and mature themes.

The show introduced memorable characters like the Coneheads and the Blues Brothers.

Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s Blues Brothers became so popular that they launched a film and musical act.

SNL also embraced improvisation and live performances.

Unlike pre-recorded shows, SNL thrived on the energy and spontaneity of live TV.

This approach gave it a distinct flavor that set it apart from other programs of the era.

Influence on Future Generations

SNL’s innovative style set a benchmark for future comedy shows.

It redefined how sketch comedy could be performed on live TV.

Comedians and writers from the show, such as Bill Murray, have since impacted movies and TV greatly.

You see the effects of SNL in countless shows that followed.

For example, MADtv and In Living Color both took cues from SNL’s format and style.

Additionally, many SNL alumni continued to influence the entertainment world.

They starred in blockbuster films, created successful TV series, and became household names.

SNL proved that sketch comedy could tackle serious issues and still be funny.

It inspired new generations of comedians to experiment and push the envelope, shaping the comedy landscape for decades to come.

Behind the Scenes: Creating 1970s SNL Skits

In the 1970s, the process of creating SNL skits involved creative writing techniques and a cast that became legends.

Innovative Writing Techniques

Writers relied on brainstorming sessions to generate new ideas.

They worked in teams to refine sketches, often pulling inspiration from current events and popular culture.

Scripts were usually completed on a tight schedule, with last-minute changes being common.

This fast-paced environment kept the content fresh and timely.

The show often used improvisation to enhance skits.

Writers and actors would experiment with different lines and actions during rehearsals, leading to some of the most memorable moments on live TV.

Using real-life experiences as a basis for humor was another technique.

For example, the Greek diner sketch was inspired by a real Chicago restaurant.

Legendary Cast Members

The original cast, known as the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players,” included famous names like John Belushi, Chevy Chase, and Gilda Radner.

These comedians were known for their unique styles.

Belushi, for example, was famous for his physical comedy and wild characters like the Samurai.

Chevy Chase brought a dry, sarcastic humor, becoming the first anchor of “Weekend Update.” His catchphrases and pratfalls became iconic.

Gilda Radner’s characters, like Roseanne Roseannadanna, showcased her talent for character work and impressions.

Together, this cast pushed boundaries and set a high standard for future SNL performers.

Their chemistry and individual talents contributed significantly to the show’s success in the 1970s.

Legacy of 1970s SNL Skits Today

The 1970s skits of Saturday Night Live are still celebrated for their humor and creativity.

These iconic sketches continue to influence comedy and pop culture.

Enduring Popularity

Many of the classic skits from the original cast, such as John Belushi’s Samurai series, remain popular today.

These skits are often seen on streaming services and in clip compilations.

You can find fans discussing them on social media and forums, sharing their favorite moments and lines.

Shows like Saturday Night Live frequently air “Best Of” episodes featuring memorable 1970s sketches, keeping these timeless moments in the public eye.

Modern References and Homages

Modern TV shows and movies often reference or pay homage to original SNL sketches.

For example, you might notice nods to Chevy Chase’s Weekend Update or Gilda Radner’s unforgettable characters.

These references and homages help introduce new generations to the roots of contemporary comedy.

Some current SNL cast members also recreate or reference classic sketches, showing their respect and admiration for the early days of the show.

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