Saturday Night Live aired its second season during the 1976–1977 television season on NBC. The second season started on September 18, 1976, and ended on May 21, 1977.
This season saw the first of many SNL cast changes. Chevy Chase, who was pursuing a movie career in California, left the show after the October 30th episode hosted by Buck Henry with musical guest, The Band. Jane Curtin became the first female cast member to become a Weekend Update anchor following Chase's departure. On the January 15, 1977 episode, Bill Murray joined the cast to fill the void left by Chase's departure.
This season also saw another change in the show: its name. Following the cancellation of ABC's Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell, NBC changed the name of the show from NBC's Saturday Night to its current title, Saturday Night Live in the episode hosted by Jack Burns in 1977.
It was the last time that the Muppet sketches would appear on the show. In a 1977 interview with Playboy, O'Donoghue who was head writer/performer, referred to the Muppets as "those fucking Muppets, those little hairy facecloths" and were "made from the refuse after they cleaned up after Woodstock". He also refused to write for them, saying "I don’t write for felt". O'Donoghue also had a lynched Big Bird hanging in the writer's office.
Eric Idle hosts with Musical Guest Joe Cocker who John Belushi joins on stage to sing “Feelin’ Alright” and a bonus Musical performance by Stuff (“Foots”).
Karen Black hosts with Musical Guest John Prine ("Hello in There" and "The Bottomless Lake").
Steve Martin is joined by musical guest Kinky Freidman (”Dear Abbie”).
Buck Henry hosts SNL for the third time is accidentally cut on the forehead by John Belushi during the Samurai Stockbroker sketch. The Band performs three songs: “Life is Carnival”, “The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down”, and “Stage Fright”.
Dick Cavett hosts with Musical Guest Ry Cooder (“Tattler” and “He’ll Have to Go”).
Paul Simon hosts the Thanksgiving episode that includes the infamous Turkey Suit Monologue and performed “Here Comes The Sun”, and “Homeward Bound” with George Harrison.
Jodie Foster hosts as the youngest host so far. She is joined by Musical Guest Brian Wilson (“Back Home”, “Love is a Woman”, and “Good Vibrations”).
Candice Bergen hosts. During a sketch called “Extremely Stupid” Candice flubs her lines and cracks up live to Gilda Radner’s improv. Musical Guest is Frank Zappa (“I’m the Slime, “Lagoon”, and “Peaches & Regalia”).
Bill Murray’s first show. First Coneheads sketch to air. Hosted by Ralph Nader with Musical Guest George Benson (“Masquerade”, “Gonna Love You More”).
Ruth Gordon is joined by musical guest Chuck Berry ("Johnny B. Goode,” Marie,” “Carol”).
Fran Tarkenton hosts with musical guest Leo Sayer ("When I Need You" and "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing") and Donny Harper and the Voices of Tomorrow (“Sing a Song”).
Iconic episode that won an Emmy for “Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series”. Hosted by Sissy Spacek with Musical Guest Richard Baskin (“One I Love You” and “City of One Night Stands”).
Live From New York, It's...Laraine Newman, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, & Linda Ronstadt
Sketches include-- "Goodbye Saccharine", Samurai Hit-Man, "Mel's Hide Heaven", Bill Murray--The New Guy, Lucy Ricardo's Nuke Job, "Highway Patrol", "Baba Wawa At Large", Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover.
Special Guest Linda Rostandt appears as one of the Rondette’s in the Cold Open. Host Broderick Crawford is joined by musical guest Levon Helm ("Sing Sing Sing", “Aint that a lot of Love”) and The Meters (“I Got to Get my Name Up in Lights”).
Julian Bond hosts with musical guests Tom Waits ("Eggs & Sausages”, “Dazz”).
Live From New York, It's...John Belushi!
Sketches include-- Brezhnev Wants to Appear on Carson, The Castration Walk, Nick The Lounge Singer, You've Come a Long Way, Buddy, United Face Bank, Jason and Sunshine, Pilson Feedbag Dinners.
Elliott Gould is joined by special musical guests Rosalyn Kind (“I’m Not Anyone”) and The McGarrigle Sisters ("Kiss and Say Goodbye" and "Heart Like a Wheel').
Shelley Duvall host with musical guest Joan Armatrading.
Buck Henry returns to host with musical guests Jennifer Warnes ("Right Time of the Night") and Kenny Vance (“The Performer”).
Live From New York, It's...Gilda Radner
Sketches include-- Carter's Energy Saving Message, Buck Performs A Live Sex Act, Samurai B.M.O.C, The Shower Mike, The Coneheads Return to Remulak, Rhonda Weiss's Bridal Shower, Charles Lindbergh Meets the Land Shark.