Episode 1.20 – 5/15/76: Dyan Cannon
Episode Number: 1.20
Original Air Date: May 15th, 1976
Host(s): Dyan Cannon
Musical Guest(s): Leon and Mary Russell
Okay. I admit I totally don’t know who Dyan (pronounced like “Diane”) Cannon is. After some research, I learned that apparently she was a medium-sized honking deal in the 1970s. She was nominated twice for an Academy Award (for Heaven Can Wait with Warren Beatty and for Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, in which she played … Alice.) Oh yeah. Before accumulating these screen accolades, she was a television star famous for being married to Cary Grant for all of three years.
However, like most celebrities who peaked in the 1970s, when the decade turned, Cannon sort of disappeared from Hollywood. She eventually made her way back to television. The lesson here is, when Wikipedia includes your appearance on Saturday Night Live as part of your biography – as well as your appearance on the fourth season of The Muppet Show – you know you’re going to be stretching to fill up space on your resume.
Needless to say, I didn’t have high hopes for this episode. That’s good, because Cannon comes across here as a less-charismatic, chubbier version of Raquel Welch (who hosted two episodes ago). She isn’t particularly funny either. To be fair, neither are the sketches.
First of all, there’s way too much Chevy Chase for my liking. I love Chevy on Community (mostly because he’s playing himself.) I appreciate his film roles in the 1980s. But on SNL, Chevy is best consumed in moderation, like pistachios … or cocaine. But too many pistachios (or cocaine) and bad things happen to your digestive system. First, Chevy opens the show with an uninspired pratfall. Then he stars in a few sketches, all playing the standard Chevy Chase character – the bumbling, oblivious doofus – minor variations on his Gerald Ford “impression.” In one sketch, Chevy’s a handyman who gets caught boning another man’s wife. In another, he’s a man giving a eulogy at a funeral with … wait for the twist … HICCUPS. Of course, like always, you have Weekend Update. Finally, at the end of the episode, he rides on stage on a white horse and fulfills a dream that Cannon talks about in her open monologue about being swept off her feet by a man emerging from the ocean on a stallion. Cannon’s monologue is a running joke throughout the episode, with various cast members misunderstanding her wish (Dan Ackroyd tries to pick up Cannon with a “hoarse” voice, Garrett Morris shows up with two “whores” played by Laraine Newman and Gilda Radner, and John Belushi attempts to woo Cannon while riding on the back of his friend “Horace.”)
Speaking of Bleushi (or cocaine), Belushi dons his Joe Cocker outfit again in this episode to help Leon Russell sing “Daylight.” But by then, it’s too little too late for this forgettable little effort.
Next: 1.21 – 5/22/1976: Buck Henry