Saturday Night Live Transcripts


  Season 1: Episode 11








75k: Peter Cook & Dudley Moore / Neil Sedaka

Lifer Follies

Warden.....George Coe
Director.....Peter Cook
Assistant.....Gilda Radner
First Prisoner.....Dan Aykroyd
Second Prisoner.....Chevy Chase
Third Prisoner.....Garrett Morris
Fourth Prisoner.....John Belushi

[ open on interior, Warden's Office ]

Warden: Well, I am aware of the success of this program in English prisons, and I'm certain we can make it work here. I must say I am impressed with your credentials. It's not often that a maximum security institution in the middle of Utah gets a full-fledged director from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts to direct the annual prison show.

Director: Thank you, Warden. To my way of thinking, there is no better therapy for the man on death row than to work with his fellow lifer in harmony, for the enjoyment of all his neighbors. It seems to make life in these dismal places more tolerable for all. This is my assistant, Miss Thompson, who will take notes during the auditions. [ points to his Assistant ]

Warden: How do you do, Miss Thompson?

Assistant: Hello.

Warden: [ to the Director ]

Director: What play are you planning to have the men put on?

Director: "Gigi".

Warden: I beg your pardon?

Director: "Gigi".

Warden: I see. Well, there are seventy-three lifers here, each waiting to show you his particular talent. I don't suppose I have to remind you that these are desperate men, Mr. Marley. most of them would kill to get into this production.

Director: [ chuckling ] And many of them have.. ha, ha ha..

Warden: Miss Thompson, at the risk of being rude, I would suggest you button the top button of your blouse. Some of these men have not seen a woman in fifteen years.

Director: We're ready. Could we see the first prisoner?

Warden: [ nods, opens door to let in first prisoner ] Name?

First Prisoner: I'm Boyd Norman, 11764. I'm a structural steel engineer from Whitburn, Arizona, I'm glad to be here, and I'm serving twenty-five consecutive sentences of fifty years each.

Director: Ah, yes, Boyd, it says here that you stepped into a fmaily reunion with a flamethrower.

First Prisoner: Yes, I torched the whole place. Aunts, uncles, kids, cousins, sisters-in-law, nephew, nieces, wife, twenty-seven of them.

Director: I don't imagine you get much mail.

First Prisoner: Now, I'll tell you quite honestly, I know what I did. I participated actively in my own trial, acting as a witness for the defense and the prosecution. I set several legal precedents when I conducted a battery of simple psychological word cue tests on myself in court. I have a good grasp of current trends in psychiatry and psychopathology, and I'm going to be quite frank with you here, I'm glad I'm locked up. I'm glad you're here, too, it's about time we got a dose of culture around here for a change.

Director: And what will your audition piece be?

First Prisoner: Well, I dance with insects. I've studied zoology while I've been here, and I have some common household roaches here - Cuca blatteria, as they are called - and I'm just gonna lay them out here and sing a number from the show "The Night They Invented Champagne". And And I've trained them.. [ takes bugs out of jar and puts them on the floor, then starts to sing and dance and kill the bugs by jumping on them ] Igot plenty more! [ puts another bug on the floor, still singing and dancing and killing the bug deliberately ] You know, what's great is when you crush their prothorax. [ puts another bug on the floor and tries to crush it ] You ain't even gonna get an inch.. you ain't even gonna get an inch! [ two guards start to drag him out ] I swallow chihuahuas whole!!

Director: Very good physical presence. I think we might use him in the chorus.

Warden: Next! [ Second Prisoner enters ] Name?

Second Prisoner: Clyde, Sankyou.

Director: Sankyou. It says here you are serving a life sentence for kidnapping a family of four, child molestation, impersonating an officer of the Coast Guard, and setting fire to the only exisitng answer print of "To Sir With Love".

Second Prisoner: Yes, sir.

Director: What are you going to di for us, Mr. Sankyou?

Second Prisoner: I'd like to tell a joke, and then I thought I might play "Moon River" on the harmonica.

Director: Well, that would be nice.

Second Prisoner: Yes, well, sir, the joke requires a bit of audience participation. So, if you wouldn't mind, would you repeat my name again for me?

Director: Alright.. Clyde Sankyou.

Second Prisoner: You're welcome. Ha, ha!

[ Assistant laughs uncontrollably. Second Prisoner plays "Moon River" on harmonica, then suddenly stops playing and lunges for the Assistant. Everyone screams and pulls him off. ]

Director: I suppose that was part of the audience participation?

Second Prisoner: Sir, if I may redeem myself, I understand the play you're doing is "Gigi". I thought I might sing one of the songs from the original show.

Director: Go ahead, Mr. Sankyou.

Second Prisoner: You're welcome. [ sings ]

"Thank heaven for little girls,
For little girls wear tiny underpants,
And sometimes they pull their dresses over their heads,
And they go walking in a deserted lot without anyone else around.."


[ Second Prisoner lunges for Assistant again, as the guards drag him out of the office ]

Director: We'll be in touch, Mr. Sankyou.

Warden: Terribly sorry.

Director: Quite alright. May we see the next man, please?

[ Third Prisoner enters ]

Assistant: Name?

Third Prisoner: Garrett Johnson.

Director: It says here, Mr. Johnson, that you are serving a life sentence for first degree murder and insulting an officer of the law.

Third Prisoner: That's right.

Director: What are you going to do for us today?

Third Prisoner: I've been in dolitary for years now, and I've studied and developed my talent for writing music, and I've written lots of songs. Here's a song I'm gonna sing which is the sum of my philosophy. [ sings ]

"I'm gonna get me a shotgun and kill all the whities I see,
I'm gonna get me a shotgun and kill all the whities I see.
When I kill all the whities I see, then whitey he won't bother me,
I'm gonna get me a shotgun and kill all the whities I see.
Then I'll get a white woman who's wearing a navy blue sweater.."


[ Guards pull him away ]

I belong to AFTRA!

Director: Wonderful sense of rhythm.

Warden: Next, please!

[ Fourth Prisoner enters with pianist ]

Warden: This is Mike "The Chef" Pontrello, alias Phil Harmonica, alias Johnny Bananas, alias Wesley Cunningham Aylsworth III.

Assistant: Name?

Fourth Prisoner: Steve Beshakas.

Warden: He is serving a life sentence for killing forty-three people at point blank range.

Fourth Prisoner: I was cleaning mygun. It was an accident. But the past is the past, and I believe I should be in this year's show because..well, I think this song says it all, and I'd like to dedicate it to all the wonderful people on the parole board. I'm not just saying that 'cause the warden's here. I mean it. By the way, I think the warden is doing one heck of a job. He's a great guy - let's hear it for the warden. [ everyone claps, as he begins to sing ]

"That's life - that's what all the people say
You're ridin' high in April, shot down in May
But I know I'm gonna change that tune
When I'm back on top, back on top in June
That's life, I can't deny it,
I thought of quittin' out, but my heart just won't buy it
If I didn't think it was worth a try,
I'd roll myself up in a big ball and die.."


[ Fourth Prisoner suddenly rolls onto the floor, then jumps up and lunges for the Director, trying to kiss him. The guards pull him off and drag him away ]

Fourth Prisoner: I'm gonna kill you! I love you!

Director: [ to Warden ] I think we've found our Gigi.

[ fade ]


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