For 44 seasons and 852 episodes, NBC’s Saturday Night Live has groomed and produced some of entertainment’s biggest names in comedy from Chevy Chase to Eddie Murphy to Chris Farley. Since 1975, the show has developed a cult following, and despite not living up to some of its past success in recent years, the show still draws notice for its perfectly timed skits, character impersonations, musical performances and top-tier weekly hosts.
The show’s first episode aired on October 11, 1975 and quickly rose to popularity behind the creative mind of producer Lorne Michaels. Skits like “Supreme Court Spot Check” and the “Weekend Update” gave rise to some of late-nights most memorable moments, and it’s signature catch phrase, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”
The cast members of that first show was billed as “The Not Ready For Prime-Time Players” including Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris, and Chevy Chase. Kicking off that first show, as has been a tradition ever since, was a monologue from stand-up comedian George Carlin.
Carlin, famous for hilarious comedic sets including the “7 Words You Can’t Say on T.V.,” started that first episode by comparing two of the country’s most popular sports: football and baseball.
To this day, Carlin’s comparison rings true, and at a time when the NFL season is in full swing and baseball’s League Championship Series are preparing to get underway, there’s no better time to revisit Carlin’s hilarious take on the differences between the games.
So, what was going on in those sports when Carlin gave this downright hysterical comparison between the two?
In the 1975 NFL season, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton was named league MVP, Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson led the league with 1,817 rushing yards, and the Pittsburgh Steelers won their second-straight Super Bowl.
During that same year, Frank Robinson became Major League Baseball’s first black manager when he was hired to lead the Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies slugger Mike Schmidt led all of baseball with 38 home runs, and Pete Rose‘s Cincinnati Reds defeated American League MVP Fred Lynn and Boston Red Sox in seven games to win the World Series.
The games are vastly different than they were 43 years ago, but we can all appreciate Carlin’s genius comparison between two of professional sports’ greatest games.