Although he was never a cast member on SNL, Steve Martin currently holds the record for number of times hosting the show. From his early days as a stand-up to becoming a household name, Steve Martin has played many memorab... more »le and hilarious characters such as "wild and crazy guy", Jorge Festrunk, Theodoric Of York, Tightwad 007, and paid homage to King Tut through song. He also played himself in sketches. Whether peddling a special kind of beauty cream, attempting to renegotiate his contract in the middle of a live show, or doing his infamous banjo-playing monologue with an arrow through his head, Steve Martin is undoubtedly one of the most successful hosts in SNL history.« less
"He juggles, he plays the banjo, he writes his own material, and just by using the right combination of body language and facial expressions he can merely walk onto a stage and the audience will explode into gales of laughter. His name is Steve Martin, and the way he blends his unique observations of the human condition with physical comedy, he just may be the funniest man on the planet. Unfortunately, since his segue into a successful acting career in motion pictures, he doesn't do stand-up anymore, so thanks be to the comedy gods who provided us with this compilation, "The Best of Saturday Night Live, Hosted by Steve Martin," which features the best of the best and the funniest of the funniest moments that ever visited your living room via the magic portal of the television set.For those who were around when these shows were first broadcast, this will be a trip down memory lane that you'll want to take again and again, because this is the kind of stuff you can watch over and over and it somehow just keeps getting funnier. For the younger crowd who only know the current incarnation of Saturday Night Live, this will be a real eye-opener, because the "comedy" we're subjected to today simply doesn't hold a candle to that proffered by the Not Quite Ready For Prime Time Players of the early, "golden" years of SNL, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman, Bill Murray, Garret Morris and Gilda Radner. And when Martin joined this bunch as host, well...it just didn't get any better than that.Does this mean that everything the current crop of comics foists upon an unsuspecting audience is without merit and that everything the SNL gang did in `78 and `79 was a masterpiece of comedy to be enshrined in stone? Of course not; the nature of comedy being what it is, and given the fact that the early SNL players were on the cutting edge of things that had never been done on TV before, it follows that some of the bits were not only going to fail, but go down in flames. There were even entire shows back then that weren't funny at all. But stacked against most of what comes down the pike today, there just isn't any comparison. Times change, attitudes change, people change; and with that, comedy must necessarily change. But that doesn't mean necessarily for the better.Consider some of the bits from this collection, crafted and delivered by Martin (with a little help from his friends): You get a sampling of Steve's opening monologues, which don't even have to be ABOUT anything to be funny (a precursor to "Seinfeld," perhaps?); then there's the hilarious Festrunk Brothers (Martin and Aykroyd), those "wild and crazy guys!" who get laughs just by walking from one side of the room to the other; "Theodoric of York/Medieval Barber" has an underlying intelligence that today's players wouldn't even attempt, and wisely so, as this kind of humor would be beyond the capacity of, and lost on most of today's audience; "Dancing In the Dark" is a hysterically funny interlude featuring Martin and Radner simply dancing (ah, shades of Fred and Ginger); but the highlight of the show has to be Steve doing his now famous "King Tut" bit, which illustrates the ingenuity with which Martin was able to satirically tap into current events and contemporary sensibilities to capture forevermore a reflection of our society as it was at the moment.This collection also features some of the best moments of SNL in which Martin did not participate: The weekend update (when it was still fresh and original) with Curtin and Aykroyd, and another segment featuring Curtin, Murray and Father Guido Sarducci; a "commercial" with the inimitable Gilda Radner; and another highlight, that historical night that Jake and Elwood, "The Blues Brothers," were introduced to the world. How fitting that it came on a night that Martin was hosting the show.Without question, comedy is subjective, and the basic impetus shifts from generation to generation; but whether the contemporary audience adapts to the material, or the material adapts to the audience, is open for debate. Still, the "classic" bits that were funny twenty, thirty or fifty years ago remain funny today because they were created in a way and captured an "essence" rooted in human nature that transcends time. And so it is with this collection of singularly entertaining moments offered up for perusal in "The Best of Saturday Night Live, Hosted by Steve Martin," which says more than a little bit about who we were at a particular point in time, as well as something about who and where we are today. And it makes me want to find Steve Martin, just so I can walk up and say to him, "Steve, how did you ever get to be SO funny?""
A Bit of a Misfire
C. Manson | Destin, FL United States | 05/01/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While Steve Martin is certainly one of the best hosts of the "classic" years of SNL, the decision to not include the "Dancing in the Dark" sketch with Gilda Radner is an unforgiveable oversight. They could have easily dropped one of the newer, less funny bits (although they're not as bad as I'd feared) in favor of this gem. And why is it that of all the Festrunk Brothers sketches, the same one appears on every anthology I've seen? Still, lots of laughs here, but the DVD notes that there are "special appearances by Father Guido Sarducci, Mr. Bill and the Blues Brothers" which in fact are not on the DVD. At least the two bonus sketches are from the "classic" period (1975-1979). One disturbing aspect about the DVD continues to bug me--the lack of cast and writer credits, a real insult to the talents who created these (mostly) funny television moments. Trimark/SNL Studios: Release the 1975 episode hosted by Richard Pryor and all will be forgiven."
donmusic | Tennessee | 11/04/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"That's it? Way to really take advantage of new technology. Seventy-six measley minutes. Granted, it's 76 of the finest minues of television comedy from one of the true geniuses of the field in the perfect setting to explore his abilities. However, there is so much more to be had that this release can only be seen as shameful. Those of us who love Saturday Night Live are tired of being served these pathetic piecemeals. This is DVD, folks. You can fit more than 76 minutes on a videocassette. And when dealing with matter as rich as Steve Martin's work on Saturday Night Live, 76 minutes is a drop in the bucket.
One reviewer suggested that whoever is responsible for this DVD had access to limited resources. If that is true, then I suppose we should be happy with whatever we can get, and should be grateful that someone managed to put a DVD together at all. But the fact that we are in such a "beggars can't be choosers" situation is pathetic in itself.
Nevertheless, what the DVD does contain is gold, and the price does reflect the brevity. Steve Martin's comedy is worth every penny."
Steve-o's finer moments
Michael A. Bird | Tallassee, AL USA | 02/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So many people are putting Steve Martin down for his recent turns in "The Pink Panther," "Bringing Down The House," "Novocaine," "Shopgirl," "Cheaper By The Dozen," and other recent movies.
But this DVD is where it all began.
In 1976-77, Steve Martin was an unusual entertainer. Part folk singer, part banjo player, part wild and crazy guy, and well...you know the rest. SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE paved the way to acceptance and superstardom for this humorist, who made such a mark in such a short time.
How many times have you heard someone say, "well, excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me!" or, "we're wild and crazy guys!"? It's all here. The medieval skits are there, the fake commercials, guest shots in more recent years, everything. Some stand-up and improv stuff is there. But the greatest attraction for me was the full version of "King Tut" available on this DVD. It's even more hilarious now that King Tuthakamun's exhibit is in the United States for the first time since that novelty song was popular.
I highly recommend THE BEST OF STEVE MARTIN -- a time capsule of another time in pop culture and a golden moment in the history of television, the first five years of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE."
"I'd Like To Talk Seriously For Just A Moment..."
Anthony Nasti | Staten Island, New York United States | 05/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before I start my review, I would like to say this is a near perfect compilation of this man's work as emcee of "Saturday Night Live". In its 30 year history, "SNL" has never come across a host more funnier, more entertaining or more talented host than Steve Martin. Is it any wonder that he hosted 13 times between 1976 and 1994?
With all that out of the way, this dvd is a treasure trove of great sketches, much of which hasn't been seen in a long time. If you're an interested in seeing the vintage 1975-80 sketches, then this is great for you. Seven of the seventeen sketches on this dvd are from those years. It's a treat for many old fans to see the Festrunks and Theodoric Of York again after years of being tucked away in the NBC vault. "Rise" is a great add spoof, and "Jeopardy 1999" is an interesting look at our future in 1976. Martin also demonstrates his talents as a straight man, playing a hapless IRS agent to faux France natives The Coneheads. And what can I say about the King Tut Song? It's one of the all time greatest sketches the show ever did. The only serious omission from this era (or at least my copy of the dvd, since other reviewers say it's on here) is the "Dancing In The Dark" sketch with Gilda Radner. But I won't fault its absent.
This is not to say that the later sketches (1987 to 1994) are bad. In fact, they're just as funny. "Common Knowledge" is one of the show's all time greatest game show spoofs. Martin plays a smarmy game show host. I also think that the underrated Victoria Jackson is excellent in this sketch, using her dumb blonde persona she often used on the show to perfection. "To My Love" is a Valentine's day poem that starts off sweet but gets very funny. The cheapskate James Bond was at first boring but I've grown to really like it. Sting was especially funny on here. "The Tonight Song" cold opening was extremely funny, probably my favorite sketch. And though it came from the dismal season 20, the "Penis Beauty Cream" ad had me in stitches.
The rest of the dvd is also extremely funny. I also forgotten that his monologues are really a gem. Hopefully, Martin will host again soon. We need him back."