We’ve been enjoying Saturday Night Live’s 40th season celebrations so far. And today marks another important moment in the show’s long-running history: the series anniversary has arrived. NBC aired SNL’s very first episode on October 11, 1975. The late, great George Carlin was the host, with musical guests Billy Preston and Janis Ian. Chevy Chase was the first person to announce, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” Network execs only intended to air six episodes, but SNL’s provocative humor, pop culture prowess, and rotating players had audiences hooked. Through the best and worst of times, SNL was there with a snappy, smart-ass one-liner to see us through. Here are ten of the most memorable. Keep the list going, below.
Spoofing VH1’s Behind the Music, Christopher Walken played fictional record producer Bruce Dickinson (nope, not the guy from Iron Maiden) who was obsessed with the cowbell in Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper.” His passionate pleas for intense percussion, (“I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!”) escalate to an uproarious crescendo.