Dana Carvey debuted his Dennis Miller impression on “Weekend Update” on December 19, 1987. He would go on to do the impression six more times (two of these were after Dennis Miller left “Saturday Night Live” in 1991), but the four he did with Dennis Miller were memorable. Their top moment together will be profiled in part 3.
Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon debuted their sketch “Pumping Up With Hanz and Franz” during the season premiere on October 17, 1987. It was the infamous”12:50 a.m. sketch,” often where sketches “go to die.” Ironically, it was the first (and not the last) popular sketch to debut during the infamous final ten minutes. According to an interview with Kevin Nealon for a 2002 episode of “Revealed with Jules Asner,” which was profiling Dana Carvey, Nealon credits his inspiration for the sketch (it was Nealon’s idea) to an Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary that aired on Showtime during the summer of 1987. Nealon, along with Dana Carvey and Dennis Miller, were on a comedy tour during the summer of 1987. Nealon was watching the documentary in a hotel room and called Dana Carvey, and told him to watch it too.
It Happened in 1987-1988:
Newsworthy “Weekend Update” Moments
“On Wall Street yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial plummeted more than 100 points, prompting New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to fire manager Lou Pinella.”
“Jerry Falwell stepped down last week as the Chairman of the PTL, possibly paving the way for the return of Jim Bakker. You know, I don't trust any of these preachers. I see through these guys like used Neutrogena. They say they don't favor any particular denomination, but I think we've all seen their eyes light up at tens and twenties.”
“People Magazine's cover story was Pat Anthony, the surrogate mother who gave birth to her own grandchildren. Her daughter Karen plans to legally adopt the triplets, which means the kids' biological mother is now their stepmother, her husband is no longer their grandfather, and they won't have to call each other "Uncle". They also announced plans to move to Aurora, Alabama, where this sort of relationship doesn't seem to be a problem.”
“You know, it was fifteen years ago today that Elvis…uh…well, I'm sure he did something. He was the King; it was the weekend.”
“You know, the Soviet Union has just introduced two new breakfast cereals honoring its leader and first lady. They're called “Raisa Bran” and “Gorba Chex,” and they will be on the U. S. market late summer.”
“Well, tomorrow is Super Bowl XXII, and if you're asking me for a prediction, I believe that Webster and Gary Coleman will marry the Landers sisters, and tour the country as a bizarre trapeze act.”
“Sarah Ferguson is pregnant and will give birth this August. London bookies say that the best bet is that the child will be named either George or Elizabeth, and give 3 to 1 odds on those two names. The long shots are Schlomo or Yetta.”
“Republicans George Bush and Jack Kemp were the only two candidates in last night's Dallas, Texas debate. The other two remaining presidential contenders, Pat Robertson and Bob Dole, decided to just slug it out in the ring, saying the public was tired of hearing words, and craved a little action. The winner was expected to fight Dan Rather at Caeser's Palace in November.”
“You know, Chevy Chase is hosting this year's Academy Awards show. And they told me this was a dead-end job.”The Best of the Season
Breakout Star: Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks
Best Impressionist (Male): Dana Carvey/(Female): Jan Hooks
Best “What the hell?” Moment:
-Victoria Jackson performs her poem “The Life of a Table,” while doing a backbend. (January 30, 1988)
-Buster Poindexter sings “Hot Hot Hot” (great song, but he still scares me)
-Jon Lovitz playing Nick Moore in a parody of “Family Ties” parody (honestly, if they needed someone with a mullet, Dennis Miller was more of a shoo-in!). But, kudos to Jon Lovitz – his efforts are always excellent, if not slightly over-the-top.
“Eh, Mr. Keaton! You’re fo-getting, I’m an ahtist!”
“No, the problem is we remember you’re an artist!”
Best Couple: Dana Carvey and Jan Hooks/Jan Hooks and Kevin Nealon (as Elyse and Steven Keaton in a parody of “Family Ties”)
Best Host (Based on Author’s Opinion): Robin Williams, Paul Simon, Danny DeVito, Steve Martin, and Tom Hanks
Worst Host (Based on Author’s Opinion): none - there really wasn’t any one host that was really bad
Best Musical Guest: James Taylor (see the “Lonesome Road” performance and you’ll understand why) and Randy Newman
Worst Musical Guest: Buster Poindexter (he still friggin scares me!)
Funniest Holiday-related sketch: “Jesus’ Surprise Birthday Party” (December 19, 1987)
Funniest Commercial Parody:
-Handi-Off – this one is a little gross, but it always cracks me up to see those fingers falling off. Kudos to Victoria Jackson for playing Sheila, whose fingers fall off during the handi-off process.
“Hey Sheila! Pick you up a six?”
“Let’s make it five!”
Unfortunately, I’ll never get the image of Dennis Miller saying “Hey Sheila! Pick you up at six?” out of my head. I guess Dana Carvey wasn't available for this one. But, kudos to Dennis Miller - some of the best acting he has EVER done!
-Pitman and Bullock – “Let the Power of the Pit Bull Work for You.”
-Gary Hart Political Ad – “You Can’t Get Him Out of Your Mind.”
-“Casey Kasem Sings the Beatles” – I still like to sing “Helter Skelter ba-na-na-na-na…Helter Skelter ba-na-na-na…Helter Skelter ba-na-na-na…BOING!”
-Wilson Trap Doors (I think this would be a funny idea at my job, whenever anyone gets on my nerves, push a button and the source of aggravation is gone!)
Dumbest Commercial Parody: none – this was a great season for commercial parodies
Best On-Screen Duo: Dana Carvey and Robin Williams (“Robin Williams and Son” – 1/23/1988) and Jan Hooks and Nora Dunn (“Sweeney Sisters Ski Lodge” – 12/19/1987)
Best Effort: Dennis Miller – it is obvious he tries so hard to do a great impression, and he may not be the best actor, but his effort shows this season:
-Steve in “The Stand-Ups”
-Office Worker in “Handi-Off”
-Tony Stepanich in “Wall Street Week”
-Director in “When Great Minds Meet”The Season Finale
Judge Reinhold hosted the episode that capped off this abbreviated season on February 27, 1988. A writer’s strike put an end to a season that was as solid as the previous, though much shorter (it was seven episodes shorter than the 1986-1987 season). I’m assuming Reinhold was hosting because “Vice Versa” was to be released on March 11, 1988 (though he never actually plugged the movie – I did a little detective work to see what movie was released around this time. Ok, fine, I just went on Internet Movie Database).
I also saw this disclaimer when I taped it off of NBC recently:
Don Pardo’s voice over says, “Due to the continuing writer’s strike, the following episode of ‘Saturday Night Live’ is a previously recorded episode.”Images of the SeasonCast PhotoAuthor’s Essential
“Saturday Night Live: The Best of 1987”
Approximately 60 minutes
Distributor: Starmaker Entertainment
As part 2 comes to a close, it is hard to believe that we are now halfway though the four years that saved “Saturday Night Live.” In case you’re wondering, the strike was resolved during the summer, and the next season would begin in October. But, that will have to wait until part 3.
So, until then, I’m Allison Venezio, your “Saturday Night Live” guru, reminding you to stay tuned for part 3 of my riveting 4-part series of articles about the comeback kids and revitalization of “Saturday Night Live.” Next up, 1988-1989!
That’s the news, and I am outta here!
This article has been bought to you by:
"Nah, forget it."~Allison Venezio, aka “Allison_SNLKid,” your “Saturday Night Live Guru (and her new reading glasses)