A handful of Saturday Evening Reside sketches have been appropriated by time and loss. The long-running sketch comedy present has seen an increasing number of casualties from the ranks of the tons of of forged and crew members who’ve walked the phases and hallways of Rockefeller Middle’s Studio 8H and has chosen to memorialize their deaths with consultant items from their time on the present, with unerring acumen.
Steve Martin responded to the demise from most cancers of unique Not Prepared for Prime Time Participant Gilda Radner throughout his 1987 monologue, the emotional comedian introducing a 1978 sketch the place he and Radner, as two strangers locking eyes throughout a singles’ bar, come collectively for a foolish and swooning romantic dance. The beautiful waltz that types 1987’s filmed quick “Love Is a Dream” noticed a number of duties over time, the sentimental story of two outdated lovers reuniting for a dream dance serving as a becoming memorial for each its stars, Phil Hartman in 1998 and Jan Hooks in 2014. And the late Chris Farley’s spirit has ceaselessly been tied to 1 particular “Chris Farley Present” sketch, the place the wide-eyed comedian wild man guilelessly asks visitor Paul McCartney if, because the Beatles sang, “The love you’re taking is the same as the love you make.”
However no SNL piece has come to encapsulate a late performer’s legacy so absolutely as Tom Schiller’s 1978 movie “Don’t Look Again in Anger.” That is sensible, as not solely is Schiller’s pretty black-and-white temper piece a suitably somber rumination on demise, but it surely’s additionally the primary such sketch to seek out its fame unexpectedly hijacked by the demise of a Saturday Evening Reside star.
John Belushi died of a drug overdose on March 5, 1982, virtually 4 years to the day after “Don’t Look Again in Anger” was first broadcast on the Artwork Garfunkel-hosted March 11, 1978, episode.
The movie begins on a practice, the place an aged Belushi rides to the lonely cemetery the place all his former SNL forged members are buried collectively. The 29-year-old Belushi performs his aged self completely straight, with some tremendous make-up and wardrobe coupling with Belushi’s weathered croak of a voice to convey Schiller’s premise with stark authenticity. Struggling from his seat with a grunt, the aged Belushi then trudges by means of the snow to a cluster of gravestones beneath a naked outdated tree, sadly noting to the digital camera, “All of them thought I’d be the primary one to go. I used to be a kind of ‘reside quick, die younger, go away a handsome corpse’ varieties, you recognize? However I assume they have been improper.”
For Schiller, the thought for the piece sprang from a expertise the longtime SNL filmmaker claimed to own, that he may see how somebody will look after they get outdated. “Don’t Look Again in Anger” reads utterly in another way after Belushi’s demise, since he was, certainly, the primary of the unique Not Prepared for Prime Time Gamers to go. However watching the sketch free of that foreknowledge is to see a playfully morbid mixture of score-settling, self-mythologizing and real affection from Belushi, whose tumultuous time on the present is the stuff of backstage legend.
Watch John Belushi Look Again in Anger on ‘SNL’
First stopping at Radner’s grave, the aged Belushi notes that Radner went on to turn out to be a giant TV star in her native Canada after SNL, the outdated man noting sadly that he can, a minimum of, at all times catch his “cute as a button” costar in reruns. Laraine Newman’s is subsequent, her unusual destiny wrapped up in a homicide scandal, a California pecan farm and Belushi’s assertion that she had apparently (holding his fingers about six inches aside) shrunk to inexplicable tininess when she died of unmentioned causes.
Jane Curtin’s eulogy takes a flip for the petty, as Belushi notes how Curtin had left showbiz to lift a household earlier than dying of issues from beauty surgical procedure. Curtin and Belushi’s relationship was at all times fraught, with the certainly fortunately married and steady Curtin absorbing fixed abuse from the infamously boorish (and often misogynistic) Belushi in her time on the present. Garret Morris’ supposed destiny is maybe much more troubling, as Belushi relates how Morris — a skilled actor earlier than SNL — returned to the “Black theater,” earlier than succumbing to an overdose of heroin. Each Morris’ marginalization of the all-white SNL and his burgeoning drug issues have been effectively established by 1978, with Schiller and Belushi’s account of Morris’ eventual destiny (and Belushi’s real-life destiny) hanging closely over the traces.
Not too long ago joined participant Invoice Murray charges solely a joke about his mustache, however Belushi’s revelation that Murray lived the longest of all his useless colleagues (he was 38) is a jolting twist. The departed (from the present, not from life) Chevy Chase’s controversial choice to go away after Saturday Evening Reside’s first season results in the sketch’s meanest gag, as Belushi notes in passing that Chase died “proper after his first film with Goldie Hawn.” Chase’s destiny is the one one to get massive laughs from the studio viewers.
Pausing to lastly lay his lone wreath on the grave of finest buddy Dan Aykroyd, the outdated man weaves a story of a 175 mph bike crash, Aykroyd’s real-life predilection for dangerous conduct lending the ghoulish eulogy a sure credence. Belushi notes that he was capable of determine his buddy’s physique due to his webbed toes, a situation Aykroyd proudly confirmed off within the following yr’s notorious Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video.
The punchline to the bit comes when Belushi, seemingly asking the heavens why he solely ought to have survived, raises a mischievous eye to Schiller’s digital camera to boast that his longevity comes from being “a dancer,” the aged Belushi ending the movie by doing a spirited dance to the outdated Yiddish folks track “Roumania, Roumania,” proper on prime of his departed castmates’ graves.
Taken by itself, “Don’t Look Again in Anger” is a much more defiant and cheeky proposition than it could turn out to be. Belushi was settling scores with some whereas paying tribute to others of his fellow performers, all whereas perpetuating his aura because the fun-loving comedian dynamo that was propelling him to superstardom. Famously, it finally fell to buddy Brian Doyle Murray to pay tribute to Belushi on the primary present after Belushi’s 1982 demise, the then forged member (and elder brother to Invoice) relating an anecdote of Belushi pushing Murray out of the way in which of a truck earlier than being dramatically struck by it himself. Murray, nonetheless shocked by Belushi’s demise, makes use of the phrase “indestructible” to sum up how he (and the emergency room medical doctors who discovered Belushi improbably unhurt) at all times considered his buddy, forming yet one more memorable Saturday Evening Reside milestone marking demise within the SNL household.