Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 1: Episode 12

75l: Dick Cavett / Jimmy Cliff

Dick Cavett's Monologue

...Dick Cavett

Dick Cavett: Thank you very much. Thank you. That's very kind. Thank you. Welcome to Saturday Night. My name is Candice Bergen ... and I think either they've cut my hair off in my sleep or you have the wrong cue card up there. That's it. My name is Dick Cavett. There you are. I tried memorizing that all day and I [snaps his fingers] just couldn't get it. The rest of the show is off the top of our heads. As you know, this is a live show and that's very exciting, uh, you know, there really aren't any shows that are "live live" any more like this on television. If the cameras go out, they go out. That's it. It becomes a live radio show. And if the cameras AND the mikes go out, we go door-to-door and do the show for you.

I love being in this building at NBC. I had one of the worst frustrations of my life in this building. Fresh from college, I came here to 30 Rock, went and applied to be a page at NBC. That was my great ambition. I was-- College, Nebraska, right to New York. Filled out the long form and they rejected me. Uh, I really blew it. At the end of the form, where it said, "Do you advocate the overthrow of the United States government by force or violence?" -- I chose violence. [delayed applause] That was it.

I didn't feel so bad because my dumb cousin Norman was rejected, too. Uh, he - he's very dumb. He lost another job recently. He was director of the St. Louis Zoo. And he took down all the cages and tried to run it on the honor system. Hard to believe but there you are.

Uh, if I could be serious for a moment, I had a very, I guess, great honor today. I received a letter inviting me to run for the Democratic presidential nomination and, uh ... [applause] Thank you. Thank you. Unfortunately, it was a chain letter. ... They're gonna have to have a separate convention hall for the candidates there. It's absurd.

I, uh, I'm a little disillusioned with politics. I'm that generation. I - I heard my parents say as a kid always, "In times of crisis, history will throw up a great man." And ... in recent years, history's had a tendency to throw up, as you've noticed, and leave it at that.

Say, we're a little annoyed tonight. The cast, if they seem a little down, it's the censor. Um, the NBC censor's been very liberal but he knocked out our sketch in which two robbers try to hold up a sperm bank. Now, I figure, we're all mature. We know there are such things as sperm banks, right? Um, there's one in New York, in fact. They're very much like a real bank. The only difference is that with a sperm bank, after you make a deposit, you lose interest. [applause] But--

Say, Jimmy Cliff is here. [applause] I'm sorry, in case you're in for a diappointment, I should say, we think he will be here. Um, as you know, he makes his home in Jamaica and, um, there has been a flood in the Jamaica-Queens subway tunnel. But-- No, he's here. I'm kidding. Would I say that to you? He's a-- As you know, he's one of the world's great reggae singers. Reggae is a Latin American word meaning "rich." [nobody laughs, Cavett starts ad-libbing] Um, he's made an awful lot of money and, uh-- I don't really-- Does anyone have any idea what "reggae" means? Hands? Anyone know? Anything at all? Does anyone have a question?

Anyway, Jimmy is here and there's a surprise for me later. I know a little about it. They don't want me to know too much about it. And I would like to say one word-- why I wanted to do this show. Often, on television, I've been accused of doing things that are ... above the intelligence level of the mass audience. And I don't really buy that. Uh, I kind o' resent that. Just because I went to college, you know, they say you're an intellectual. As you know, going to college doesn't make you an intellectual. Um... [applause]

I feel that, uh... I feel that humor, like the universe, is conditioned by a - a kind of -- Well, it's a byproduct of your own Weltanschauung, I feel, and what it is, really, is a, I think, a randomly sequentialized system of only partially overlapping synergistics and energy events that are, really, irreducibly unanalyzable. And an example, to me, of over-intellectualized humor would be, for example, Laroche Foucault's famous remark with which he broke up the French Academy when he said, uh, when he said: [Cavett rattles off something in French] Now, to me, that's a bomb! See, you didn't laugh. I don't think it's funny. And I'm gonna confess to you that my real sense of humor is a little lower-brow than that. What I think is funny-- I loved it when, well, like Spike Jones or somebody when they'd shoot a gun off and a dead duck would come down or something like that. [pulls a pistol from his belt] This is my idea of what's really funny. Watch this.

[Cavett unconvincingly fires the pistol into the air and a life-sized, stuffed canvas cow crashes down from the rafters onto the stage behind him. Laughter and applause.]

It's the old cow-dropping bit. It just kills me. We'll be right back after this message. Stay with us.

[Cavett basks in the applause as a superimposed text reads: COMING UP NEXT... TOP MAFIA LEADERS REVEAL THE DO'S AND DON'TS OF LARGE LUNCHEONS.]

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