I CAN’T STOP MY LEG!

On Saturday night, November 15, 1975, I was a senior at Choate School.  Some buddies and I had signed out that weekend to go to Boston, ostensibly to look at colleges.  Which we did of course the next day.  But mainly it was a weekend to blow off some steam.  One of my pals, John Helmick, kept an illegal car near campus and so off we went off that afternoon driving north on I-91, joined by Neal Collyer and Tom Trimble.  CB Radio was in vogue and John impressed us all with his ability to talk to the truckers.  “This here is Orange Crate,” he drawled in his Des Moines accent, “how it be looking over your shoulder?”  Trucker-speak for “any highway patrol passing out speeding tickets around here?”

After settling in at our Copley Plaza Hotel, grabbing some pizza, and a six pack of beer procured, someone had the foresight to turn on the boob tube late that night.  To our amazement, we tuned in right at the beginning of Robert Klein’s legendary “I Can’t Stop My Leg” skit.  It was one of the first episodes of Saturday Night Live.  Playing a ridiculously amped-up blues musician, Klein’s gag was to bounce his leg up and down in an exaggerated way while singing “I Can’t Stop My Leg” repeatedly.  Without warning, the leg does stop in the middle of the performance.  “It stopped!” he shouts in put-on shock.  Only to start up again.

Here’s the only version of the skit available on YouTube; it’s filmed right from the monitor with a low-grade phone, but you get the idea: