On the other hand, the Louise Lasser show toward the end of the first season is probably the worst show of those first four magical years. Lasser was famous as a nutcase, and for a while, the showed played off that smartly, having her lose her place in the monologue and eventually break down, leave the stage and hide out in her dressing room, until Chevy Chase came and talked her out again. But it was real: She supposedly insisted that she'd appear with no other cast member aside from Chevy (which meant she did one scene talking to a dog), and she filmed a baffling yet boring scene in a diner, about a couple breaking up and occasionally asking the waitstaff for their next line, acting alongside Alan Zweibel (!), that she demanded be put on the air.
It was structured much like the later Milton Berle show, opening with a long monologue (Lasser's was much better than Berle's) and closing with a maudlin, mawkish, self-pitying monologue complete with poorly sung song. (Both shows were never rerun, so I hadn't seen either one until the DVDs came out.) Lasser's was about the trials of getting "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" on the air.
The question is, who let them do this? Lorne must have been very excited about having Lasser host - Elliott Gould announced it onstage at the end of the prior show, which I had never seen before or since - and was afraid to lose her if he put too many constraints on her. But really, the show would have been better off if she had walked.
There's a weird context to all this: The Louise Lasser show aired on July 24, 1976, nearly two months after the previous show on May 29. They did one more show the following week, with Kris Kristofferson hosting, then that was the end of the first season. The second season started September 18, so that little island of shows was actually closer to the second season than the first. They threw together two shows in the middle of the summer, with long breaks on either side. (The Kristofferson show wasn't all that good either.) The bottom line is: No one wanted to be there.
The summer-show experiment wasn't tried again.