O.J. Simpson Hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’ 35 Years Ago Tonight
When O.J. teamed up with Belushi, Ackroyd and Radner
O.J. Simpson became the second athlete to host Saturday Night Live on Feb. 25, 1978 during the third season of NBC’s burgeoning hit, with musical guest Ashford & Simpson. (Fran Tarkenton had hosted 13 months prior.)
The 30-year-old was near the end of his playing career when he featured — his 1977 season had been cut short by injury and he’d begin ’78 with the 49ers after being traded — but he’d already appeared in several motion pictures (including The Klansman, The Towering Inferno and The Cassandra Crossing) and used the opportunity to fine-tune the comic chops that went on to yield dividends in the Naked Gun series.
Watch the entire episode here or scroll down for screencaps of the memorable moments.
Simpson, in full conehead, delivers a monologue about what he did to achieve his life goals, including the opportunity to host SNL.
In “Samurai Night Fever,” Futuba (played by John Belushi) hits the dance floor and introduces disco to his brother (played by Simpson).
Simpson played the narrator for a “Great Moments In Sports” sketch involving Babe Ruth (Belushi) hitting a home run for a sick boy (played by Garrett Morris).
During “Weekend Update,” Simpson is cornered during a locker-room interview with randy Laraine Newman.
While watching Walter Payton attempt to break his single-season rushing record — a challenge that had really happened two months earlier — Simpson tried to prevent it from happening with a little voodoo.
Simpson competes alongside Leon Spinks (Morris again) in “Celebrity Battle of the Sexes & Races, taking on a team of White Women: Sandy Duncan (Newman) and Marie Osmond (Gilda Radner).
All in all, a decent effort — and harbinger of things to come. Well, not all things to come.