For 45 seasons and over 850 episodes, NBC’s Saturday Night Live has 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 its past success in recent years, the show still draws notice for its perfectly timed skits, character impersonations, musical guest performances and top-tier guest 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-night’s most memorable moments, and it’s signature catch phrase, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”
The cast members of that first show were 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 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 America’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 the MLB season is as drawn-out as ever, there’s no better time to revisit the stand-up comedian’s hilarious take on the differences between the games.
George Carlin SNL Monologue
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.
This article was originally published October 11, 2018.