John Belushi would have been 66 years old today, and to celebrate, let’s looking back at some of the best moments from one of the original Not Ready For Prime Time Players. In his five seasons on Saturday Night Live, Belushi gave us countless brilliant moments, which is why even though he died at the tragic age of 33, he still left an immense legacy.
Little Chocolate Donuts
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A spot-on parody of Wheaties-type commercials where an athlete explains how one given food product gave them all they needed to achieve athletic glory. A gloriously chubby Belushi explains that Little Chocolate Donuts were what led to him becoming the world’s fastest man. Hey, is it any less plausible than any other athlete endorsement?
His Weekend Update Commentary On March
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THERE ARE NINE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES WHERE MARCH COMES IN LIKE A FROG AND GOES OUT LIKE A GOLDEN RETRIEVER! BUT THAT’S NOT THE WEIRD PART! Pretty much all of Belushi’s Update commentaries (which inevitably ended with him falling out of his chair) were hilarious, but this one is the best, if only for all the different ways March can go in and out. It was clear the writers had a great time coming up with those.
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Honestly, all of the Samurai sketches are great. If you’re prefer Samurai Optometrist, more power to you. This one cracks me up the most, however. Partly because of Buck Henry awkwardly trying to make small talk about the Super Bowl, but also because of Belushi’s surprisingly strong samurai skills. Did you see him slice that tomato in half?
Dueling Joe Cockers
Belushi’s Joe Cocker impression was a mainstay of the early episodes of SNL, but it was never more memorable than when he did it with the genuine article right next to him. Cocker’s recent death makes this one a little bittersweet, but it’s still one of the best moments in SNL history.
The Killer Bees
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As with the Samurai sketches, you could take your pick of any of the fantastic Bees sketches. I went with this one because at 9-minutes long, it was a surprisingly ambitious sketch. But hey, all of the Bees adventures were fantastic.
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OK, it’s not like a whole lot really needs to be said about sketch, seeing as it’s been quoted dozens of times. One underrated line: “He’s my third cousin, I treat him like a fourth cousin. Because he’s loud. He’s stupid.”
Don’t Look Back In Anger
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Finally, we end on a rather eerie note. This short film, directed by Tom Schiller, featurs an elderly John Belushi visiting the graves of his former SNL cast members, dubbing it “The Not Ready For Prime Time Cemetery.” In a dreadfully ironic line, he notes “they all thought I’d be the first one to go. One of those live fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse type of guys.” He would, in fact, be the first SNL cast member to pass away, after overdosing on a speedball (a mixture heroin and cocaine) just four years after this film was made.