John Belushi’s Improvised Screen Test for Saturday Night Live (1975)

In this rare footage from 1975, a 26-year-old John Belushi warms up with some eyebrow calisthenics before doing his signature Marlon Brando impression in a screen test for a new late-night television program called Saturday Night Live. He got the part, of course, and his star rose rapidly along with the show’s. By 1978 Belushi could boast of having the number one late-night television show (SNL), the number one movie (Animal House) and the number one musical album (The Blues Brothers’ Briefcase Full of Blues). But sadly it all came crashing down 30 years ago this month–on March 5 1982–when he died of a drug overdose. In this clip we remember the young Belushi: cocky, talented, with a brilliant future ahead of him.

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  1. Kathy says . . . | March 13, 2012 / 3:44 pm

    I went to high school (Wheaton IL) with John & Jim. They stood out even then. John’s passing was a great loss of a comic genius.

  2. Joe says . . . | March 13, 2012 / 8:10 pm

    You can see here he is on drugs (sniffing every 5 seconds). What a waste of talent.

  3. Anita White says . . . | March 15, 2012 / 2:21 am

    Johns humor was an integral part if my life. Comedians like him hold us in the palm of their hands. Now I can only hold him in my heart! At least I can visit him doing what he loved!

  4. J.B says . . . | March 15, 2012 / 7:56 pm

    Coke. I think that’s fair to say. Just the way it was in 75.

  5. spanky says . . . | June 21, 2013 / 12:02 pm

    I don’t think most people realize that if John Belushi wasn’t on drugs he wouldn’t have been the brilliant comic he is remembered as. I’m not endorsing drugs, but unfortunately drugs often, not always, play a huge part in the creativity that leads to a performer’s mainstream success.

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