Jack Burns Hosts Saturday Night Live!



March 26, 1977


The following are screen shots and summaries from Jack Burns's sketches when he hosted Saturday Night Live on March 26, 1977. Incidentally, this was the first episode that actually carried the title "Saturday Night Live." The previous 40 episodes were titled simply "Saturday Night" so as not to conflict with the ABC series Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell. After Cosell's show was canceled, the rights to add on the "Live" tag were secured just in time for the long-running series's best ever episode (how awesome was that?!). Jack was the coolest of all SNL guest hosts, huh? yeah. Huh? Yeah. HUH?! YEAH!! I'm glad you agree.



Jack Burns's Monologue

Jack Burns starts his monologue by saying, "I am a little nervous because it's been about three years since I've been in front of a television camera. I've been in a home for retired comedy teams" [if you don't get this joke, please refer to the Jack Burns Biography link below].

Jack, in fact, has always been nervous Saturday nights. Referring to his childhood, Saturdays were the nights for going to Confession. He stopped going when a reactionary, "sexually misinformed" priest joined the parish. In a thick Irish accent, Jack impersonates the priest: "You what?! You touched yourself?! You wanna go crazy...Besides, it puts hair on the palm of your hand." This revelation gave Jack a dread fear of going to the barbershop and having to request a trim for his palm
(Floyd the Barber charged $1.00 for that service...just kidding).

He was warned by other authority figures in his youth against the practice. In a thick Boston accent, he demonstrates how a football coach admonished his team about "genitalia fatigue." His superiors in the Marines also hassled him and his fellow recruits about such matters.

Jack Burns decides to conquer his childhood fear by touching himself on live television [well, probably pre-recorded] right there on the SNL stage. He apologizes to his mother and then...He does it! He touches himself!!! God, how shocking it is to see over and over again!!! To rewind and replay it and rewind and replay it! It's almost too much to take! Mmmmm, even more shocking in slow motion.

He asks the audience to refrain from touching themselves or they might go blind and miss the show.


Sharing his most
intimate childhood fear.
Hmmmm, perhaps it's time
to conquer this fear...
Oh yes, Yes,
Oh, Yes! Yes!
Strangely, Jack did not light up
a cigarette after this arousing display.



Marine Wedding

Jack Burns...Chaplain
Dan Aykroyd...Bridegroom
Jane Curtin...Bride

Jack Burns gets to relive his days in the United States Marine Corps in this sketch. As chaplain, Burns admits to the bridegroom that he has never met a female Marine before much less conducted a wedding of two Marines. He doesn't expect it to be an easy wedding, but the lady leatherneck reassures him that they are "prepared to die if necessary."

Chaplain Burns begins the ceremony by reminding the guests, "Let us be mindful; however, in one sense that these two people are already united under the holiest of matrimonies: a commitment to the United States Marines..."
Chaplain Burns addresses the bridegroom: Am I right, Sergeant Boyd?
Bridegroom: Yes sir.
Burns: I can't hear you.
Bridegroom: Yes sir!
Burns: I still can't hear you.
Bridegroom: Yes Sir!!
Burns: I Can't Hear You!
Bridegroom: YES SIR!!

Chaplain Burns continues: "Living within the sacred, sacred bonds of wedlock requires love, patience, and consideration on the part of both. The rewards, of course, are the warmth and glowing beauty which grows from a life-long companionship..."
Burns addresses the bride: Right maggot?
Bride: Yes sir.
Burns: Right Maggot?!!
Bride: Yes sir!
Burns: SLIME!
Bride: Yes Sir!!
Burns: WHAT ARE YOU?!!
Bride: We are slime, sir!
Burns: LOUDER!!
Bride: We Are Slime, Sir!!
[and just when you think Jack can't shout any louder...]
Burns: LOUDER!!!!!!!!
[nice audience reaction]

The vows are continued in the same way. Chaplain Burns asks the bride, "And do you take this MAGGOT, Sgt. Luis Boyd, you take him to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, to hold in hand-to-hand assault position as in combat drill #A1750?"

The couple demonstrate the move and the bride throws down her bridegroom. Burns asks her, "Do you?" The bride replies, "I do." Burns says gently, "All right."

Chaplain Burns concludes the ceremony and the newlyweds and wedding guests file single two on Burns's command, "Move! Move! Move it!...Move you people! MOVE, YOU SLIME! I HATE YOUR GUTS!!!" Then he quietly salutes the man upstairs.


Marine Wedding
"Am I right, Sergeant?"
I can't hear you
"I can't hear you."
Salutes the Big Guy.



The Story of the Squatters

Jack Burns...Col. George Hall
Everybody else on the SNL team...The Squatters

This is the story of the rugged pioneers who opened up the West in the early 1800s and "crossed the unchartered frontier to settle on land they did not own." We then see the Squatters planning their trek. Once they start on their grueling journey, it becomes clear why they were really called squatters. Uh, they squat.

The only character to stand upright is Col. George Hall of the United States Cavalry. He squats down with the Squatters and informs them, in a Southern accent, that they are being ordered to leave railroad property. When a Squatter protests that they should be paid for their land, Col. Hall replies, "You ain't gonna get diddly squat!" [There's more to this sketch, but Jack Burns isn't in it, so who cares, huh?]


"You ain't gonna get diddly squat."



Executive Suicide

Jack Burns...Mr. Ross
Laraine Newman...The secretary
Gilda Radner...The mistress
John Belushi...The appointment
Bill Murray...The policeman
Dan Aykroyd...The reporter

Mr. Ross calls in his airhead secretary and asks her to take a letter:

"To Whom It May Concern:
My business has gone bankrupt, Fran has left me, I have nothing to live for, so goodbye forever."

Mr. Ross is about to jump out the window when his secretary asks if he'd like her to read the letter back to him. Her boss agrees and, after listening to it, decides to make a slight adjustment ("Make that 'goodbye, forever, goodbye'"). His secretary thinks he needs a cup of fresh coffee. When he replies, "No dear, I'm going to kill myself," she asks, "Oh, well, can I get one?" Mr. Ross agrees and she leaves.

Alone in his office, Mr. Ross tries to drown himself in the fish tank only to be interrupted, with his head dripping wet, by his secretary who wants to know if she can have the rest of the day off. She then goes on about her jealous boyfriend until her boss announces that he can't take it anymore and leaps from the window, "AAAAAaaaaaaa..."

Jack lands on the floor on the other side of the window and seems puzzled. Out-of-character, Laraine Newman says, in an exasperated tone, "Great leap, Jack." Burns, also out-of-character, asks, "Uh, wh-wha-what happened?" Newman berates him for not ducking. Jack explains that ducking was not in the script [actually, he'd have to land flat on the floor to not be seen above that small ledge]. One-by-one, the characters enter the office: his appointment (John Belushi), policemen (Bill Murray), reporters (Dan Aykroyd), Ross' mistress (Gilda Radner) who comes in screaming that she saw her lover's body, etc. All of them immediately leave their characters to criticize poor Jack. John Belushi is particularly harsh, "Mr. Improv over here didn't know how to duck, is that right?!"

The actors file out leaving a humbled Burns standing outside the window fiddling with the curtain chord. He addresses the television camera: "I feel kind of humiliated, you know, fouling the sketch up like this. I did try, I mean, I-I've been trying all week; uh, I was trying to get in shape for the show mentally [cough] as well as physically, and, uh, I really worked out. In fact, I was sorta inspired by the, uh, movie Rocky, uh, as this week's film by Gary Weis will show you. You wanna roll that film, Dave? Maybe it will save my ass."


"Goodbye, forever, goodbye."
"Uh, wh-wha-what happened?"
"Great leap, Jack."
Can Jack's ass be saved?



Rocky Burns!

The film shows what was no doubt a typical Jack Burns workout. As you may have read in the Jack Burns Biography [see the link at the bottom of the page] or elsewhere, Burns had a workout regimen for keeping in top-notch condition. He starts out by gulping down a raw egg [yummy]. Then he goes out on his run, practicing some boxing moves in the process. At this point he can't quite make it to the top of the stairs of, uh, wherever he was. Jack coughs and holds his sides in pain and exhaustion.

Rocky Burns, of course, does not give up. In the next string of days, he swallows more raw eggs, performs sit-ups [ouch!], jogs along busy streets, hurdles over obstacles along the way, boxes a sausage, and sprints so fast that all I get is a blur when I pause my cherished bootleg DVD. He finally makes it to the top!


Rocky Burns
The breakfast of champions.
Rocky Burns
[insert Rocky theme song here]
Rocky Burns
Never give up.
Rocky Burns
Old-fashion sit-ups, ouch!
Rocky Burns
Burns could chew & spit
out this sparring partner.
Rocky Burns
Rocky Burns!
Rocky Burns!



Egg Yolk...Yummy!

After the highly impressive Rocky Burns film is shown, Burns demonstrates to the audience that there were no special effects used in the film by swallowing a raw egg live on stage. I was more impressed that he was able to crack and open the egg with one hand. Just another of Jack Burns's myriad of talents.


Cracks open an egg w/ one hand.
Mmmm...tastes great & less filling.
Hmmm, vintage 21 days ago, laid
by a slightly overweight hen with
two broken tail feathers in northern



Home Movie Introduction

Here, Jack Burns just introduces the week's home movie, but he looks really good doing it!





Drunk Comedy Writer

Jack Burns...Gags Beasley
Jane Curtin...herself
Gilda Radner...herself

Curtin and Radner are sitting at a restaurant table when a drunken man stumbles in and recognizes them as being in Laugh-In (a nice Burns generation reference). He sits down with them and they explain that they are on Saturday Night Live. The drunk then tells Radner that he loves it when she knocks over that guy with the purse (i.e. Ruth Buzzi).

The drunk introduces himself as Gags Beasley, comedy writer for Eddie Cantor, Fred Allen, and who "would be writing for Bob Hope today is he were alive" (that would be considered a joke in 1977). According to http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Gags_Beasley, Gags Beasley was the name of Fozzie Bear's comedy writer who wrote the "Banana Sketch," with which everyone in Muppet Land, save for Kermit the Frog, was familiar. Anyway, Gags assures the ladies that he has been off the booze for twenty years and that his current condition is "just a residual effect." He then asks, "Am I going to the bathroom?" and examines his lap [earns some applause].

Gags gives the ladies advice ("There's a thin line between comedy and humor") and reminisces about the jokes he wrote such as the banana gag for Eddie Cantor. Cantor was sure it wouldn't work but Gags convinced him to try it. Gags got 3,000 bananas and hung them all over the studio. "It would've worked, too, but it was radio," Gags explains [he gets a nice audience reaction to this joke]. Gags was always ahead of his time.

The ladies want to excuse themselves from the table but Gags inquires about writing jobs and insists on reading a monologue he wrote with Jack Benny in mind (not mindful that Benny was already dead). He thinks the monologue could be used by their guest host. It is full of references from the 1950s, '40s, and even '30s: zoot suits, the "new singer" Sinatra, and the New Deal. Before the ladies leave, he gives them his card (well, it's the 8 of Clubs, but it has his number on it, a pay phone number, anyway). Left alone at the table, Gags quietly laments, "I'm still a good comedy writer. Comedy's all I know."


I love you kids in Laugh-In.

Gags has still got it.
Just excuse his "residual effect."

Comedy's all I know
"Comedy's all I know."




Smiling with flowers, someone prompts Jack to "say goodnight to everybody." Jack tells the crowd, "Goodnight everybody, thank you for watching!" The SNL ladies, of course, are all over him.


I was guest host of SNL...
...and all I got were these lousy flowers.


Click Jack Burns to start
reading a two-part biography



Other pages connected to this site you may find of interest:

Burns and Schreiber in Our Place

Burns and Schreiber on vinyl

Burns and Schreiber on The Flip Wilson Show

Burns & Schreiber on The Hollywood Palace


Back to the Courthouse

Free Counter
Free Counter