Saturday Night Live entered its 23rd season with hardly any changes. Mark McKinney was gone, but featured performer Colin Quinn was promoted to full cast member (though hardly noticed the first half of the season). Rob Smigel's "TV Funhouse" was overshadowed throughout the year by a naughty puppet sketch called "The Go-Lords", and Jack Handey returned his humor to the show with "The Lost Deep Thoughts", a restructured version of his "Deep Thoughts" which dominated SNL in the early 90's.
Halfway through the season, NBC West Coast President Don Ohlmeyer fired Norm MacDonald from his duties as Weekend Update Anchor, placing Colin Quinn behind the desk for the January 11th, 1998 show. Ohlmeyer insisted MacDonald was not funny on Update, but did find him funny in sketches, which MacDonald felt were not his strong points. By the March 7th, 1998 broadcast, Norm MacDonald parted ways with SNL to seek fame and fortune through other venues.
At the center of this unbalanced season can be found a guest appearance by Jack Nicholson, offering his opinion of castmembers' impressions of him ("You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!"), and walking in on a therapy session for the Roxbury Guys.