Jane Curtin Talks Saturday Night Live Partying And Why She Had Problems With John Belushi
Jane Curtin delivering the news on Weekend Update.



(Image credit: NBC)

Almost fifty years later, the early days of Saturday Night Live are often looked at like a hard-partying, highly creative frat house where some of the nation’s most talented comedians did drugs, slept together and produced cutting edge sketch comedy. Based on all the interviews I’ve ever read, that’s not wrong, but it’s also an oversimplification of the truth. A lot of that did happen, but there were also a lot of people who worked on the show that were at a different point in their lives and weren’t there to get high. Take Jane Curtin. She was in her late 20s when the show started, and now, in her mid-70s, she reflected on that partying atmosphere and her problems with John Belushi.

As part of the press for her new movie Jules, which she stars in alongside Ben Kingsley, Curtin sat down with People prior to the SAG strike and reflected on what will always be her most culturally relevant role: SNL cast member. She said she had a life outside the show which she really cared about, including a husband (who she’s still married to) and a dog, and she was more focused on that than the other trappings of fame. Here’s a portion of her quote…

I got along with everyone, but I did have problems with John. But that was because John wasn’t John. He was an addict… I had a life — a dog, a husband, an apartment with a little garden. It was a life I really enjoyed. John, obviously, he could party with the best of them, but the next day these guys were just so miserable. Plus, the 90 minutes on the show were so exciting and adrenaline-pumping, I felt all the other stuff was self-indulgent and seemed hard.

Curtin was a mainstay on SNL during the original cast’s five season run. She served as anchor or co-anchor of Weekend Update following Chevy Chase’s departure, and also appeared in a ton of beloved sketches, most famously The Coneheads. Following her work on Saturday Night Live, she starred in a string of successful TV shows including Kate And Allie and 3rd Rock From The Sun. She never achieved the same level of fame as some of her more prominent SNL co-stars, most notably Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, or the aforementioned Chase or Belushi, but she did put together a fantastic career of steady work and good reviews in prominent, widely seen projects. 

John Belushi in National Lampoon's Animal House

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Unfortunately, the future wasn’t as kind to Belushi. He passed away of an overdose in 1982, leaving behind a string of beloved comedies including Animal House and The Blues Brothers, along with plenty of stories of uncontrolled partying, some that ended well and some that did not. In many interviews, his fellow cast members and close associates tend to speak about John with both incredible admiration and frustration.

You can check out Jules in theaters right now. It’s a science fiction movie about an alien that crash lands into a senior citizen’s yard. It’s getting fantastic reviews, which should come as no surprise since it stars Jane Curtin.

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Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, a great wrestling promo and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.

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