Today would have been John Belushi‘s 64th birthday. The comedian, who was part of the original era of the “Not Ready For Prime Time Players” on Saturday Night Live from 1975 – 1979 and represented one of the last of the renegade, reckless, revolutionary comedians that was a by-product of the radicalism of the late 1960s which saw comedy conventions being splintered by way of troupes and publications like The Firesign Theater, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and National Lampoon Magazine, died from an injection of heroin and cocaine on March 5th 1982 at the age of 33.
Belushi brought to SNL and to the comedy world in general a kind of madness not often seen on television, and not seen since his passing. Although he grew up as a child in the 1950s and early 1960s of a generation weaned on television that was safe and predictable, Belushi’s style became anything but. He manifested his comedic talents the way he lived, the lines between Belushi the public figure and Belushi the real man were blurred for the most part.