John Belushi Dances on His ‘SNL’ Castmates’ Graves


A handful of Saturday Night Live sketches have been appropriated by time and loss. The long-running sketch comedy present has seen increasingly more casualties from the ranks of the a whole lot of solid and crew members who’ve walked the phases and hallways of Rockefeller Middle’s Studio 8H and has chosen to memorialize their deaths with consultant items from their time on the present, with unerring acumen.

Steve Martin responded to the demise from most cancers of unique Not Prepared for Prime Time Participant Gilda Radner throughout his 1987 monologue, the emotional comedian introducing a 1978 sketch the place he and Radner, as two strangers locking eyes throughout a singles’ bar, come collectively for a foolish and swooning romantic dance. The stunning waltz that varieties 1987’s filmed quick “Love Is a Dream” noticed a number of duties through the years, the sentimental story of two previous lovers reuniting for a dream dance serving as a becoming memorial for each its stars, Phil Hartman in 1998 and Jan Hooks in 2014. And the late Chris Farley’s spirit has endlessly been tied to 1 particular “Chris Farley Show” sketch, the place the wide-eyed comedian wild man guilelessly asks visitor Paul McCartney if, because the Beatles sang, “The love you’re taking is the same as the love you make.”

However no SNL piece has come to encapsulate a late performer’s legacy so absolutely as Tom Schiller’s 1978 movie “Don’t Look Again in Anger.” That is sensible, as not solely is Schiller’s pretty black-and-white temper piece a suitably somber rumination on demise, but it surely’s additionally the primary such sketch to seek out its status unexpectedly hijacked by the demise of a Saturday Evening Dwell star.

John Belushi died of a drug overdose on March 5, 1982, nearly 4 years to the day after “Don’t Look Again in Anger” was first broadcast on the Art Garfunkel-hosted March 11, 1978, episode.

The movie begins on a prepare, the place an aged Belushi rides to the lonely cemetery the place all his former SNL solid members are buried collectively. The 29-year-old Belushi performs his aged self completely straight, with some high quality make-up and wardrobe coupling with Belushi’s weathered croak of a voice to convey Schiller’s premise with stark authenticity. Struggling from his seat with a grunt, the aged Belushi then trudges by way of the snow to a cluster of gravestones below a naked previous tree, sadly noting to the digicam, “All of them thought I’d be the primary one to go. I used to be a type of ‘dwell quick, die younger, go away a handsome corpse’ sorts, ? However I assume they have been flawed.”

For Schiller, the thought for the piece sprang from a expertise the longtime SNL filmmaker claimed to own, that he might see how somebody will look once they get previous. “Don’t Look Again in Anger” reads fully in another way after Belushi’s demise, since he was, certainly, the primary of the unique Not Prepared for Prime Time Gamers to go. However watching the sketch free of that foreknowledge is to see a playfully morbid mixture of score-settling, self-mythologizing and real affection from Belushi, whose tumultuous time on the present is the stuff of backstage legend.

Watch John Belushi Look Again in Anger on ‘SNL’

First stopping at Radner’s grave, the aged Belushi notes that Radner went on to change into an enormous TV star in her native Canada after SNL, the previous man noting sadly that he can, at the least, at all times catch his “cute as a button” costar in reruns. Laraine Newman’s is subsequent, her unusual destiny wrapped up in a homicide scandal, a California pecan farm and Belushi’s assertion that she had apparently (holding his fingers about six inches aside) shrunk to inexplicable tininess when she died of unmentioned causes.

Jane Curtin’s eulogy takes a flip for the petty, as Belushi notes how Curtin had left showbiz to boost a household earlier than dying of issues from beauty surgical procedure. Curtin and Belushi’s relationship was at all times fraught, with the certainly fortunately married and secure Curtin absorbing fixed abuse from the infamously boorish (and ceaselessly misogynistic) Belushi in her time on the present. Garret Morris’ supposed destiny is maybe much more troubling, as Belushi relates how Morris — a skilled actor earlier than SNL — returned to the “Black theater,” earlier than succumbing to an overdose of heroin. Each Morris’ marginalization of the all-white SNL and his burgeoning drug issues have been effectively established by 1978, with Schiller and Belushi’s account of Morris’ eventual destiny (and Belushi’s real-life destiny) hanging closely over the strains.

Just lately joined participant Bill Murray charges solely a joke about his mustache, however Belushi’s revelation that Murray lived the longest of all his useless colleagues (he was 38) is a jolting twist. The departed (from the present, not from life) Chevy Chase’s controversial determination to go away after Saturday Evening Dwell’s first season results in the sketch’s meanest gag, as Belushi notes in passing that Chase died “proper after his first film with Goldie Hawn.” Chase’s destiny is the one one to get huge laughs from the studio viewers.

Pausing to lastly lay his lone wreath on the grave of greatest buddy Dan Aykroyd, the previous man weaves a story of a 175 mph bike crash, Aykroyd’s real-life predilection for dangerous conduct lending the ghoulish eulogy a sure credence. Belushi notes that he was in a position to determine his buddy’s physique due to his webbed toes, a situation Aykroyd proudly confirmed off within the following yr’s notorious Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video.

The punchline to the bit comes when Belushi, seemingly asking the heavens why he solely ought to have survived, raises a mischievous eye to Schiller’s digicam to boast that his longevity comes from being “a dancer,” the aged Belushi ending the movie by doing a spirited dance to the previous Yiddish people track “Roumania, Roumania,” proper on high of his departed castmates’ graves.

Taken by itself, “Don’t Look Again in Anger” is a much more defiant and cheeky proposition than it might change into. Belushi was settling scores with some whereas paying tribute to others of his fellow performers, all whereas perpetuating his aura because the fun-loving comedian dynamo that was propelling him to superstardom. Famously, it in the end fell to buddy Brian Doyle Murray to pay tribute to Belushi on the primary present after Belushi’s 1982 demise, the then solid member (and elder brother to Invoice) relating an anecdote of Belushi pushing Murray out of the best way of a truck earlier than being dramatically struck by it himself. Murray, nonetheless shocked by Belushi’s demise, makes use of the phrase “indestructible” to sum up how he (and the emergency room docs who discovered Belushi improbably unhurt) at all times considered his buddy, forming one more memorable Saturday Evening Dwell milestone marking demise within the SNL household.

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