Good God…I made it to the end!
Of Season 1…
Why do we have this completist urge?
I could proffer myself as a communications historian.
The anthropology of television.
But really the truth is that I needed something to watch…to take my mind off things.
And so it’s been a good ride. Season 1 in the bag.
And it ends on a high note.
I had seen him in a dismal picture called Chelsea Walls.
Good God…Ethan Hawke really bungled that offering.
And so for the longest time I thought Kristofferson was merely a hack “character actor”.
I knew his history.
Brownsville boy…Rhodes Scholar.
I’d even heard some of his music.
Always struck me as third-rate outlaw country.
But this episode of Saturday Night Lives changes my opinion of him forever.
The show starts with a song/skit.
Kristofferson sings “Help Me Make It Through the Night”.
As Chevy Chase fumbles with the ribbon in the hair of his lover, Kris just keeps on singing right through.
I’ve rarely heard a more soulful rendition of a song.
Later, Kristofferson sings “I’ve Got a Life of My Own”.
It is a revelation!
Looking for a way to lose these lonesome blues now that Neil Young quit Spotify?
Well, look no further than ol’ Kris.
The band…(not The Band, but close)… Kris’ band here. So good!!!
“I’ve Got a Life of My Own” is a glory cry. I may not have a great life, but I have a life.
I have a beard and long hair. Or I have a mustache and a buzz cut.
Life ain’t glamorous down on the Rio Grande border. Nor in San Antonio.
Doug Sahm is dead.
But Kris lives on.
What a great injection of American music here. You think you don’t like country music?
Give this chap a try. And when I say he was a Rhodes Scholar, I am dead serious.
This, of course, gives him an intellect to pair with his easiness at being on stage (from his performing career).
What I mean to say is that Kris Kristofferson is a better host than just about anybody on the first season of Saturday Night Live.
You need him to be a gynecologist opposite Jane Curtin? No problem.
Need him to be John Belushi’s foil in “Samurai General Practitioner”? Done!
[That skit, by the way, is the comedic highlight of the show. Belushi was beginning to approach godlike stature with his samurai character.]
Rita Coolidge is generally stiff on her one solo number (“Hula Hoop”), but having Kristofferson’s band makes the song persuasive. And the closing surprise is indescribably cute (thanks to Gilda Radner and Laraine Newman).
Chevy Chase is great as always as Gerald Ford.
And Dan Aykroyd was starting to come along by this point as Jimmy Carter.
Though Garrett Morris only gets a few spots, he’s awesome as Jesse Owens and Andrew Young.
Don Pardo (the announcer of the show) gets a more “visible” role in this episode by way of the Samuel Beckett spoof “Waiting for Pardo”. It is a masterpiece! [And it makes me wonder whether Kristofferson was allowed to do some writing…perhaps this skit?]
Immanuel Kant, watchmaker. Spinoza luggage. All of the Price Is Right interjections by Pardo are for products ostensibly produced by famous philosophers. Pretty witty stuff!
So there you have it…
I highly recommend this episode!