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.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Father Gui­do Sar­duc­ci Pitch­es “The Five Minute Uni­ver­si­ty”

William S. Bur­roughs on Sat­ur­day Night Live, 1981

The Stunt That Got Elvis Costel­lo Banned From Sat­ur­day Night Live

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Comments (5)
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  • Kathy says:

    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.

  • Joe says:

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

  • Anita White says:

    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!

  • J.B says:

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

  • spanky says:

    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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