The line-up is by now legendary: John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, et al. The punch lines have been oft-repeated: "I'm Chevy Chase and you're not." Saturday Night Live's debut episodes are often remembered with a patina of it-was-better-in-the-good-old-days nostalgia. The reality is that the program, much like today's SNL, was an amalgam of the hilarious and the tedious. But what sets the first season apart is the raw energy of watching a simple TV variety show develop into a lasting television institution. More than 30 years on, the skits on everything from politics to killer bees remain a compelling comedic mirror of American culture.