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The Life and Times (and Deaths) of Mr. Bill (1976-1982??)

Once upon a time, long, long ago, when Saturday Night Live was actually funny (there really was such a time, honest), one of its recurring sketches involved a clay character known as Mr. Bill. From Wikipedia:

Mr. Bill is a clay figurine star of a parody of children's claymation shows. Mr. Bill got its start on Saturday Night Live (SNL) as a series Super 8 films sent in response to the show's request for home movies during the first season. Mr. Bill's first appearance occurred on the February 28, 1976, episode. Each Mr. Bill episode would start innocently enough but would quickly turn dangerous for Mr. Bill. Along with his dog, Spot (which died in most episodes), he would suffer various indignities inflicted by "Mr. Hands", a man seen only as a pair of hands. Sometimes the abuse would also come from Sluggo, another clay character. The violence would inevitably escalate, generally ending with Mr. Bill being crushed or dismembered while squealing in a high-pitched voice, "Ohhhh noooooooooooooo...".

While it lasted, Mr. Bill was incredibly popular and quickly entered pop culture of the time, this being the late 1970's. The last original Mr. Bill sketch on SNL aired early in the 1981–1982 season, after which the public's attention moved on to the next shiny object. After SNL, Mr. Bill appeared on numerous other television programs and advertisements, including regular new sketches on the USA Network series Night Flight in the 1980s.

Yet, Mr. Bill lives on 30+ years later. He has his own website and there are sketch videos a-plenty on YouTube, some of which are embedded below. So have a look at some of what SNL used to run when it was worth watching.


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