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The seventh season of Saturday Night Live, an American sketch comedy series, originally aired in the United States on NBC between October 3, 1981, and May 22, 1982.

Saturday Night Live (season 7)
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes20
Original networkNBC
Original releaseOctober 3, 1981 (1981-10-03) –
May 22, 1982 (1982-05-22)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 6
Next →
Season 8
List of Saturday Night Live episodes


Following the dismissal of producer Jean Doumanian during the show's sixth season, Dick Ebersol, the program's developer, was hired as Doumanian's replacement. In March 1981 Ebersol dismissed several of her cast members (repertory players Gilbert Gottfried, Ann Risley, and Charles Rocket and featured players Yvonne Hudson, Patrick Weathers, and Matthew Laurance). After one episode on April 11, 1981, the show was shut down for the rest of the season because of the 1981 Writers Guild of America strike. In the summer break, Ebersol would also dismiss Denny Dillon and Gail Matthius, and featured players Laurie Metcalf and Emily Prager were not asked back as cast members.

The new cast of Saturday Night Live for Season 7 included most of the repertory players from the final Ebersol-produced episode of season 6: Robin Duke, Tim Kazurinsky and Tony Rosato along with the sole surviving cast members from Doumanian's era, Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo. Two new cast members, Mary Gross and Christine Ebersole, replaced Dillon and Matthius. Brian Doyle-Murray, who had been a writer for Doumanian's shows, joined Ebersol's new cast as a featured player.

Michael O'Donoghue, who Ebersol brought back to the show in March, remained as head writer for the first half of Season 7. Some sketches, as well as the appearances of artists like Fear and William S. Burroughs, reflected the increasingly bizarre ideas O'Donoghue had for the show. However, after developing a tense relationship with Ebersol and berating the cast in a meeting following the December 12 episode, O'Donoghue was fired, with Bob Tischler taking the role of head writer.[1]

A new logo was introduced for this season, and was used until season 10: It consisted of the words SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE in the form of a square, with each word after it increasing in size; a modernized version of this logo was used from 2006-14.

Format changesEdit

Wanting to distance the show from its first five seasons, Ebersol cut the popular opening line Live from New York, It's Saturday Night! from the cold openings. In fact, sometimes cold openings were not even shown and the monologues were skipped over almost entirely. These changes were not permanent, as Ebersol decided to reverse them for the eighth season. Each episode began with the announcement "And now from New York, the most dangerous city in America, it's Saturday Night Live!" After the opening credits, the cast would enter together and pose with the show's host before running to their places for the first sketch.

Ebersol also revamped Weekend Update. The segment went through its first name change (aside from the temporary change to "Saturday Night Newsline" in the final Doumanian episode from March 1981) and became "SNL Newsbreak". At the newsdesk was feature player Brian Doyle-Murray with Mary Gross and Christine Ebersole alternating as co-anchor. Doyle-Murray also became the first Weekend Update anchor to be a featured player while serving as anchor. The only other anchors to do this were Tina Fey, Colin Jost and Michael Che.

Additionally, this was the first season without Don Pardo (season 40 would become the next due to Don Pardo's death in 2014) as the show announcer. Instead the voice-overs were done by Mel Brandt, except for two episodes that aired in December 1981 when veteran NBC News announcer Bill Hanrahan handled such duties.


During the season, original cast member John Belushi died from an overdose of cocaine and heroin. The original airing of the episode hosted by Robert Urich had a tribute to Belushi.

Cast rosterEdit

bold denotes Weekend Update anchor


This season's writers were Barry W. Blaustein, Joe Bodolai, Brian Doyle-Murray, Nate Herman, Tim Kazurinsky, Nelson Lyon, Maryilyn Suzanne Miller, Pamela Norris, Mark O'Donnell, Michael O'Donoghue, Margaret Olberman, Tony Rosato, David Sheffield, Rosie Shuster, Andrew Smith, Terry Southern, Bob Tischler and Eliot Wald. The head writers were Michael O'Donoghue (episodes 1-8) and Bob Tischler (episodes 9-20).


No. in
Host(s)Musical guest(s)Original air date
1201(none)Rod StewartOctober 3, 1981 (1981-10-03)

1212Susan Saint JamesThe KinksOctober 10, 1981 (1981-10-10)

1223George KennedyMiles DavisOctober 17, 1981 (1981-10-17)

1234Donald PleasenceFearOctober 31, 1981 (1981-10-31)

  • In the cold opening, Eddie Murphy suggests to Donald Pleasence to vomit for luck. As Eddie leaves the bathroom, John Belushi appeared from the other stall, stares into the camera, and says nothing.
  • Fear performed "I Don’t Care About You", "Beef Bologna", "New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones", and "Let's Have a War".[2] Shortly after beginning "Let's Have a War," the group was cut off by a repeat of the filmed piece "Prose and Cons" previously shown on October 3.
  • Guest appearance by juggler Michael Davis.
  • Neil Levy plays the corpse in the "I'm So Miserable" sketch.
1245Lauren HuttonRick JamesNovember 7, 1981 (1981-11-07)

1256Bernadette PetersThe Go-Go's
Billy Joel
November 14, 1981 (1981-11-14)

1267Tim CurryMeat LoafDecember 5, 1981 (1981-12-05)

1278Bill MurrayThe Spinners
The Whiffenpoofs
December 12, 1981 (1981-12-12)

1289Robert ConradThe Allman Brothers BandJanuary 23, 1982 (1982-01-23)

12910John MaddenJennifer HollidayJanuary 30, 1982 (1982-01-30)

13011James CoburnLindsey BuckinghamFebruary 6, 1982 (1982-02-06)

13112Bruce DernLuther VandrossFebruary 20, 1982 (1982-02-20)

13213Elizabeth AshleyHall & OatesFebruary 27, 1982 (1982-02-27)

13314Robert UrichMink DeVilleMarch 20, 1982 (1982-03-20)

13415Blythe DannerRickie Lee JonesMarch 27, 1982 (1982-03-27)

  • Rickie Lee Jones performed "Pirates (So Long Lonely Avenue)", "Lush Life", and "Woody and Dutch On the Slow Train to Peking".[2]
  • First appearance of Eddie Murphy as Gumby.[5]
  • Guest appearance by juggler Michael Davis.
13516Daniel J. TravantiJohn Cougar MellencampApril 10, 1982 (1982-04-10)

13617Johnny CashElton JohnApril 17, 1982 (1982-04-17)

13718Robert CulpThe Charlie Daniels BandApril 24, 1982 (1982-04-24)

13819Danny DeVitoSparksMay 15, 1982 (1982-05-15)

  • During his monologue, DeVito brings his castmates from Taxi for a farewell bow after ABC canceled the show (NBC later picked up the sitcom)
  • DeVito appeared in a film where he blew up the ABC corporate headquarters
  • Andy Kaufman appeared to apologize for wrestling women
  • Sparks performed "I Predict" and "Mickey Mouse,"[2] the latter with an introductory monologue by Ron Mael, from its album Angst in My Pants
13920Olivia Newton-JohnOlivia Newton-JohnMay 22, 1982 (1982-05-22)


  1. ^ Hill and Weingrad, p. 453-7.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 124–127. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  3. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 138–140. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  4. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 141–143. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  5. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 144–146. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  6. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. p. 147. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.
  7. ^ Saturday Night Live: The First Twenty Years. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 1994. pp. 148–149. ISBN 0-395-70895-8.