75l: Dick Cavett / Jimmy Cliff
Dick Cavett's Monologue
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
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
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.
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
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...
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
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.]