Copyright National Lampoon
National Lampoon Radio Hour cast member John Belushi.
The Best of the National Lampoon Radio Hour
Before there was Saturday Night Live, young comedians including John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Gilda Radner dished up irreverent humor on The National Lampoon Radio Hour. NPR's Bob Edwards and cast member Richard Belzer discuss the influential show on the 30th anniversary of its debut.
"We were smart-asses, but we didn't realize that we were going to... affect the culture the way we did," says Belzer, a comedian and actor who also wrote for the radio show.
The National Lampoon Radio Hour was an outgrowth of National Lampoon magazine. The weekly show aired for only 13 months, between November 1973 and December 1974, and was followed by a series of albums. Many of the performers and writers, including creator Michael O'Donoghue, went on to work on Saturday Night Live or Second City Television. (The radio show began as an hour-long program but later was cut to a half-hour. As a gag, the performers pretended that stations had cut them off in mid-show.)
A new National Lampoon radio show is launching, and the original can still be heard on satellite radio services XM and Sirius.