In the mid-1970’s, Steve Martin made frequent appearances as a stand-up comedian on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson…..on The Gong Show Starring Chuck Barris….on HBO’s On Location…. on The Muppet Show….and on NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL)…..as SNL‘s audience jumped by a million viewers when he made guest appearances….and he was one of the show’s most successful hosts. Martin appeared on 27 Saturday Night Live shows….where he guest-hosted 15 times….to which he has been bested only in number of presentations by host Alec Baldwin. On SNL, Martin popularized the air quotes gesture which uses four fingers to make double quote marks in the air. While on the show Martin became close with several of the cast members….including Gilda Radner who died of ovarian cancer on May 20, 1989…..leading to him being visibly shaken when he hosted SNL that night…..while featuring footage of himself and Radner together in a 1978 sketch.
In the 1970’s, his TV appearances led to the release of comedy albums that went platinum….as the track “Excuse Me” on his first album, Let’s Get Small in 1977….helped establish a national catch phrase. His next album, A Wild and Crazy Guy in 1978….was an even bigger success….after reaching the # 2 spot on the U.S. sales chart….while selling over a million copies….as “Just a wild and crazy guy” became another of Martin’s known catch phrases….when the album featured a character based on a series of Saturday Night Live sketches where Martin and Dan Aykroyd played Yortuk and Georgi (respectively) were bumbling Czechoslovak would-be playboys. The album ends with the song “King Tut”….which was sung and written by Martin and backed by the “Toot Uncommon”….who were members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. It was later released as a single….while reaching # 17 on the U.S. charts in 1978…..and also selling over a million copies. The song came out during the King Tut craze that accompanied the popular traveling exhibit of the Egyptian king’s tomb artifacts. Both albums won Grammys for Best Comedy Recording in 1977 and 1978, respectively. Martin performed “King Tut” on the edition of April 22, 1978, of SNL….which we have in our music section here at ImaSportsphile.