watch classic ’80s Eddie Van Halen appearances on ‘SNL’ and ‘Letterman’
Not only was Eddie Van Halen -- who died yesterday -- a virtuoso musician, but he was also a very charismatic, funny guy. Here are a few television appearances from the mid-'80s featuring him being both.
In between Van Halen's 5150 and OU812 albums/tours, Eddie sat in with the Saturday Night Live band for the February 14, 1987 episode that was hosted by his then wife, Valerie Bertinelli. The highlight of the episode is a sketch titled "Dinner with the Van Halen's" where Eddie and Valerie host a dinner party where a bunch of stereotypical roadies help keep things running smoothly. Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller and Kevin Nealon play the roadies, while the late great Phil Hartman and Victoria Jackson play the dinner guests. It's pretty great. Later, Eddie and SNL bandleader G.E. Smith trade licks on song called "Stompin' 8H." You can watch the "Dinner with the Van Halen's" sketch below and "Stompin' 8H" here.
Eddie also appeared on David Letterman's NBC and CBS talk shows a few times over the years. Don Giller, a YouTuber who is basically the unofficial Letterman video archivist (his YT account is a non-stop treasure trove for Late Night fans), uploaded a compilation of Letterman clips where Eddie sat in with Paul Schaffer and the band.
The first is from May 16, 1985 -- just a few weeks after David Lee Roth officially parted ways with Van Halen but before Sammy Hagar was announced -- when Dave was doing a week of Late Night shows in Los Angeles. Dave at one point asks Eddie, "Does David get on your nerves?" to which Eddie covers his face with his iconic red, white and black Frankenstrat guitar. With the band, Eddie plays "Jump," the Van Halen arrangement of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me," and more.
The next clip is from June 27, 1985 when Eddie sits in with the band while Bertinelli is a guest on the show promoting a TV movie Silent Witness. "Everybody tries to sound like this guy on guitar and nobody even comes close," said Paul Shaffer, introducing him. Later in the show, Eddie and the band played Van Halen's "Panama." Meanwhile, Dave asks Bertinelli about domestic life with a rock star and other awkward subjects that probably would not be broached today.
The last clip is from 1995 where Van Halen were the musical guests and perform "Not Enough" from their album Ballance. Paul and the CBS Orchestra play "Jump" at one point during the commercial break and Eddie joins in. Watch that compilation below.
We miss ya, Eddie.