Check this out. Ron Howard, two years removed from Happy Days, hosted Saturday Night Live nearly 40 years ago. He did it with a resplendent red mustache and a full head of hair. His wholesome geekiness was part of the comedy.
The Twitter account “SNL Hosts Introducing the Musical Guests” posted a five-second clip of Howard announcing The Clash earlier this month. And all anyone saw was socially awkward Richie Cunningham introducing a vintage British punk band.
Fans of SNL or Happy Days or of pop culture in general loved the clip.
“I’ve never had a stache that good,” wrote Dan Moren. Meanwhile, the Reluctant Librarian replied “Ron Howard introducing the Clash. The entire reason for this Twitter feed.”
Mike Thompson said: “I unironically love the enthusiasm here. He just seems so excited to be able to both introduce and watch the band. It’s great.”
Howard Brought His Happy Days Geeky Enthusiasm to SNL
Yep, in a word, enthusiastic is how anyone might describe Richie Cunningham. Richie was the perfect complementary Happy Days character to Henry Winkler’s Fonzie. Same for Richie’s best buds Ralph (Don Most) and Potsie (Anson Williams).
Howard hosted Saturday Night Live on Oct. 9, 1982. He’d left Happy Days in 1980. By 1982, he had another career to hype, that of movie director. So why not appear on SNL a few weeks after your first movie, Night Shift, hit the big screen.
Howard basically played Richie in his short, SNL monologue. He wore a letter jacket. And he read words written on slips of paper that he’d stuff back in his pockets. The words were naughty ones Richie couldn’t say on Happy Days. As he remarked that it was “past my bedtime” Howard read one of the words:
“Doo-doo … are we still on the air,” Howard asked.
And there were more Richie potty mouth words — “intercourse,” “premarital sex,” “jock itch.” Oh, my. Someone call Howard or Marion. Richie is bad tonight.
Then, Howard finished his monologue in a flourish. He popped open a can of Budweiser.
“I drank beer on Happy Days,” Howard proclaimed. “It was primetime beer, it was fake beer … Let me tell you something, this is the real stuff.”
Later in the episode, Howard did a skit satirizing The Andy Griffith Show. It was called Opie’s Back.
Howard, as a very grown-up Opie, returns to Mayberry. He’s a gritty policeman trying to protect his hometown from all these criminals, including some of the show’s classic characters. Andy Griffith even returns as Sheriff Andy Taylor to give Opie some advice.
The SNL cast included Mary Gross, Brad Hall, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Harry Shearer, Eddie Murphy, Tony Rosato, Joe Piscopo, Gary Kroeger, Tim Kazurinsky and Robin Duke.
And Howard got to introduce The Clash, twice. They performed “Straight To Hell” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go.”
Check out this now classic monologue from the Happy Days icon.