Teenage Wildlife

Saturday Night Live

December 15, 1979

On December 15, 1979, Bowie was the featured musical performed on NBC's Saturday Night Live show in the USA.

If viewers were expecting a typical Saturday Night Live performance of Bowie and a band playing as if at a concert, they were in for a rude shock. Instead, Bowie gave an extremely unusual performance, accompanied by two "drag" performers, Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias.

Three songs were performed, The Man Who Sold The World, with Bowie carried to the front of the stage by Nomi and Arias, while wearing a man's evening dress and a large bow tie (emulating the poet Tristan Tzara).

Next was Boys Keep Swinging. For this Bowie emulated a puppet trick (with the help of television) he had seen in German fairs. A small puppet's trunk and limbs were situated just beneath Bowie's head, giving the appearance of a marionette with a huge human head. In a trick he sneaked past the censors, the puppet took a look down Bowie's trousers right at the end of the song.

Finally, for TVC15, Bowie wore a uniform that gave the impression of a Chinese airline stewardesses outfit. In addition, stage designer Mark Ravitz created a pink poodle with a small tv monitor in its mouth, broadcasting the song as it was performed.

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This document last updated Sunday, 15-Aug-1999 13:31:33 EDT
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