75q: Ron Nessen / Patti Smith
President Gerald Ford.....Chevy Chase
[ open on interior, Oval Office ]
President Gerald Ford: [ calling out ] Ron?
Ron Nessen: [ looks confused for a moment ] Right here, sir.
President Gerald Ford: [ sits behind desk ] Ahh.. what can I do for you, Ron?
Ron Nessen: Sir, I've been asked to host "Saturday Night".
President Gerald Ford: Host of what, Ron?
Ron Nessen: NBC's "Saturday Night". It's a new television show.
President Gerald Ford: Did you sign a contract, Ron? If you signed a contract, they have to pay you.
Ron Nessen: Mr. President, before I sign a contract, I need your approval. You see, sometimes they poke a little fun at you on the show, it's all in good fun. I think it would be a good idea to show that you can take a joke.
President Gerald Ford: Ha, ha! That's very funny, Ron!
Ron Nessen: [ confused, pause ] And that's why I want to host this show.. to demonstrate that this administration has a sense of humor. You may remember in 1968, Nixon said, "Sock it to me" on "Laugh-In", and it may have made the difference in the election.
President Gerald Ford: He won, didn't he, Ron?
Ron Nessen: Yes, he did, sir.
President Gerald Ford: [ chuckles to himself ] By golly, he was funny then, and he's funny now. He's a funny man, Ron.
Ron Nessen: Yes, sir.
President Gerald Ford: That's why I gave him a break, Ron. [ to stuffed dog on floor ] Stop that infernal noise, Liberty! [ to Ron ] Well, by all means do the show.
Ron Nessen: Thank you, sir. Now, the producer suggested you might like to do something on the show yourself.
President Gerald Ford: Well, I can take a joke just so far.. [ stands up and walks behind desk ] ..but I won't have this high office ridiculed. I won't have me stumbling around.. [ walks into window ] ..making a fool of myself.. [ walks into flag and fumbles with it, trying to keep it from falling ] ..for some late night comedy show. [ picks up football helmet and puts it on ] I don't need to prove that I can fall down like Chevy Chase or be an athlete. Everyone knows I'm an athlete. [ accidentally kicks wastepaper basket and chases it, soon giving up and returning to his desk ] I'll never forget those wonderful days.. [ picks up tennis racket, throwd it in the air to try and catch it, but misses. Walks over to "Liberty", cups his hand near the dog's tail ] Gimme the ball, Liberty! [ takes off helmet, tries to drop-kick it but misses. Returns to desk and sits down ] Why don't you brief me on my schedule tomorrow, Ron?
Ron Nessen: Alright, sir. [ looks at schedule ] You'll be awakened at 5:30 AM in the usual manner.
President Gerald Ford: Ron, I'm getting pretty tired of the twenty-one gun salute which Dick Nixon instituted. Couldn't someone just speak in my ear or set the alarm clock?
Ron Nessen: We tried the alarm clock at the beginning, if you remember, sir. When it went off, you answered the telephone and broke your ankle. I guess we should have briefed you on that. You see, sir, the telephone is the one that has the series of short staccato rings, and the alarm clock is the long continuous ring.
President Gerald Ford: Well, never mind that now, go on.
Ron Nessen: [ reading list, as Ford checks his own ] 6:17, shave and brush your teeth. 6:28, yawn and stretch. 6:30, get out of bed. 7:05, break the water glass by the sink and Mrs. Ford's shampoo bottle by mistake. 7:12, tumble down the stairs. 9:00 - well, do you remember the cow in Wisconsin, Mr. President?
President Gerald Ford: The one that made the doody on my suit, Ron? Yes.
Ron Nessen: Yes, well, at 9:00 you're going to give a medal to the secret service man who wrestled the cow to the ground.
President Gerald Ford: Let's get to the point here. When is the Easter Egg Hunt?
Ron Nessen: That's at 9:30, sir.
President Gerald Ford: Well, I better hang the kids' stockings and get ready..
Ron Nessen: I'm sorry, Mr. President, but that's the wrong holiday. I think we probably should have briefed you on this before.
President Gerald Ford: Oh, that's alright, Ron, you're pardoned. Ha, ha! Oh, one other thing. As you know, Liberty is expecting puppies. now, I've launched a full-scale investigation into this thing. You have nothing to do with it, do you, Ron?
Ron Nessen: No, sir.
President Gerald Ford: That's good. I know it's lonely at the top, but we can't have this type of shenanigans going on here. Maybe I should call Daniel Schorr to see what he knows. [ picks up stapler instead of phone and staples his ear. Ron takes stapler away from him ] Thank you, Ron. Now, what can we tell the press about this mess Liberty has gotten us into?
Ron Nessen: Sir, we could call the puppies our "Ethnic Treasures".
President Gerald Ford: A very good idea, Ron. I think I'll write that down. [ starts writing on the back of his hand ]
Ron Nessen: Mr. President, you're signing your hand again, sir.
President Gerald Ford: Well, I can always veto that later. So will you take care of those things for me, Ron?
Ron Nessen: [ gets up to exit ] Right away, Mr. President. And we did as you asked and hid John Connally's Easter Egg under Rocky's chair in the Executive Office Building. [ exits Oval Office ]
President Gerald Ford: [ looking around ] Ron? [ looks at stuffed dog ] Roll over, Liberty! [ dog falls over ]
[ pan out over audience, with SUPER: "Coming Up Next... Nude Easter Egg Roll" ]
[ fade ]