SNL ‘Exorcist’ Parody With Richard Pryor

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Pryor with Laraine Newman on SNL, Dec. 13, 1975. “The bed is on my foot!”

The 1973 film The Exorcist scared the devil out of its audiences. Or perhaps more precisely, actress Linda Blair, who had the devil exorcised from her character, Regan, scared the bejesus out of us. The movie was based on the 1971 best-selling novel by author William Peter Blatty, who also wrote the film’s screenplay, earning him an Academy Award.

Blatty died on January 12, 2017, at 89 of multiple myeloma.

The movie, directed by William Friedkin, was a rousing success with $66 million upon its initial December 26, 1973, release. It earned a whopping 10 Academy Award nominations, winning two (including one for Blatty for Adapted Screenplay.) The Exorcist was 1974’s #2 film at the box-office (behind The Sting) and subsequent theatrical showings ultimately led to $232 million in receipts. It’s estimated that it is the #9 biggest grossing film of all-time, when adjusted for inflation. Blatty’s book has sold a reported 13 million copies.

There were solid names but no stars in the cast, which included Blair as the 12-year-old possessed by you know who, Ellen Burstyn as her mother, and Max von Sydow and playwright Jason Miller as the two priests.

Watch the film’s original trailer

The Exorcist film is also closely associated with the opening piano portion of the song “Tubular Bells” from the composer Mike Oldfield. The English musician recorded the song at age 19; the album was released on May 25, 1973, when he was only 20. Oldfield was born on May 15, 1953.

Richard Pryor hosted Saturday Night Live in the seventh episode of its first season on December 13, 1975. The new sketch comedy show included a memorable parody of the popular horror film, which they unwittingly called “The Exorcist 2,” not knowing that an actual sequel to the film would be released two years later.

Laraine Newman, then just 23, played Blair’s character. (Pryor had just turned 35.) The great sketch shows off Pryor’s tremendous comedic talent – (“the bed is on my foot!”) – and is also memorable for the writers’ clever adjustments to the movie’s R-rated dialog, such as “Your mother sews socks that smell.”

Pryor died on December 10, 2005 at age 65. Newman turned 70 on March 2, 2022. Friedkin, who also directed The French Connection, died August 7, 2023, at age 87.

Related: When SNL‘s Coneheads played the Family Feud

The film’s latest sequel, The Exorcist: Believer, billed as a direct sequel to the original, was released on Oct. 13, 2023.

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  1. Jas
    #1 Jas 15 December, 2022, 01:44

    Omg I haven’t seen that exorcist sketch in decades. It’s still hilarious!

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