I shake hands with John Belushi and Get Snubbed by Eric Idle All in One Night

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
I recount how I attended the taping of "Saturday Night Live" for free, go to the cast party, and have eye-opening encounters with both John Belushi and Eric Idle there.

Submitted: July 22, 2014

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Submitted: July 22, 2014

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I meet John Belushi and Get Snubbed by Eric Idle at the Saturday Night Live Cast Party

 

It's mid-April, 1977.

I’m sitting in Carla N’s apartment literally like 20 minutes after arriving in New York on the train from LA, sitting in her little walk-up in Greenwich Village, and the phone rings...

It’s an animated conversation. She turns to me and says “Do you want to go see ‘Saturday Night Live’ tonight? We can go for free; my friend is doing an internship with the show and can get us in.”

“Are you kidding? Of course I want to go!”

A few hours later we got off the subway and walked to the NBC studios in Rockefeller Plaza. We had tickets waiting for us I guess... Or we’d met her friend out on the street...

And of course we sat through the show. The taping... We were there in the theater, the one I’d seen on TV quite a few times. I wondered if my face would show up on one of those random shots of the audience where they put crazy captions under people's faces,  like "Worried about his pet hamster's sexuality". (I have since seen the tape of the show, and I didn't get selected for that honor).

Don Pardo was the MC. He warmed up the crowd. Elliot Gould was the guest host. All the usual pranksters, Akroyd, Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, were in bits in that show.

But here’s the good part. After the show was over this friend of my friend knew where the cast party was, where the bar was that they all went to, and took us there.

So we’re sitting at this table in a bar somewhere in Manhattan, drinking Heinekens and we’re surrounded by the Saturday Night Live stars, who are carousing and drinking.

And then over comes John Belushi. My friend’s friend says, “John, I’d like you to meet a couple of my friends. This is Carla (he shakes her hand), and this is Bob, from California.” At that point Mr. John Belushi himself reaches his hand out to mine and I take it. And then he points off to a corner of the bar as if there was something there to see.

Of course there wasn’t. Unless he was high and he was hallucinating. I figure it was the usual make-somebody-look-at-something-that-isn’t-there trick.

There’s one more part to this story. That was the night I learned that celebrities aren’t always as eager as their fans to engage in the fans’s fantasies.

Because Eric Idle was leaning against the bar. You know, Eric Idle, from Monty Python. I had a brilliant idea. I remembered the bit in “And Now for Something Completely Different” when Eric Idle played a moronic, sexually inexperienced guy who works up to asking Terry Jones what sleeping with a woman is like in an asinine conversation he starts with the line, “Do you like photography?”

So I walked up to Eric Idle and said, “Do you like photography?”

Can you guess what his answer was?

It was (coldly), just: “No.”

 

Oh well, I got tricked by John Belushi and snubbed by Eric Idle. I have contacted the famous and I have seen myself in their eyes as just an insignificant member of the public. But I get to tell all of you about it, so it was worth it, after all.

 


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