78k: Cicely Tyson / Talking Heads
Cicely Tyson’s Monologue
Don Pardo: Ladies and gentlemen, Cicely Tyson!!
[FADE to the stage door as it opens to reveal Garrett Morris wearing an all-white dress with a sequinned shawl over his head and a brown purse slung over his left shoulder. He almost trips on his high heels while dismounting the steps, but manages a careful walk to home base as the audience cheers in approval and the band plays behind him. He grins broadly as the theme dies away.]
Garrett as Cicely: [mimicking a woman’s voice] Thank you! [laughter and applause] Now... thank you! Thank you! You know, as an award-winning black actress, I get to hear a lot of hilarious anecdotes, you know. So when the “Saturday Night Live,” uh, staff called me to do the show, naturally, I said to myself, I said, “Cicely...” [laughter] I said... I said, “What a...”
[Crowd roars with approval as Cicely Tyson walks up from the front row to join Garrett onstage. They stand side by side as the audience cheers for a long moment.]
Cicely: EXCUSE me, Garrett, but would you MIND telling me WHAT you are doing?
Garrett: Hey, I, I don’t believe it. Uhhh... you’re really here.
Cicely: Of COURSE I’m here! I’ve been in my dressing room... I mean, waiting for somebody to come and get me... what’re you DOING here? I mean, WHAT are you DOING here?!
Garrett: Well, you know, when I heard about--
Cicely: I mean, this is my spot!!
Garrett: When I heard them talk about, you know, Cicely TYSON, you know, on the show, I didn’t think they’d actually GET you! [laughter] I just assumed it was a part for ME, you know. [laughter] I do, I do a good Cicely Tyson, honey.
Cicely: Garrett, would you tell me WHY you have my clothes on? What’re you doing with my clothes on?!
Garrett: Look, look, let me explain something, now. I was hired by this show, Cicely, under the terms of the Token Minority Window-Dressing Act of 1978! [laughter] NOW: my contract--dig this contract, will you... [takes a folded sheaf of paper from his purse] ...CLEARLY states, my contract clearly-- [rummages through papers] --wait a minute, oh, right here--CLEARLY states that, “in addition to services described above”--see right there?--“Performer agrees that he will play all parts darker than Tony Orlando.” [laughter and applause] Now, the way I read it, that mean ALL parts!
Cicely: Ah, so you are playing a lot of women roles, is that it?
Garrett: Yeah, I’ve done Tina Turner, I’ve done Leon Spinks’ mother, I’ve done a lot of maids, honey, and oh! Do you remember the Coretta King MUD wrestling, uh, piece?
Cicely: No, no, no, I do not.
Garrett: No, no, that was ME! That was me, sister!
Cicely: Garrett, what is happening to you?
Cicely: I mean, look at what you’re doing! When we worked together at the Black Resentment Drama Workshop in the 1960’s, I expected something really very big from you! I mean, the RANGE you showed, your talent, your voice... Remember when Lee Strasberg stopped by to watch us do the improvs? I mean, you were the ONLY one that he remembered! God knows, I hope he’s not watching the show tonight! I mean, w-where’s your integrity? What HAPPENED to it?!
Garrett: [barely audibble] Well, uh...
Cicely: I mean, you have TALENT, and you are just throwing it away! Don’t you know you have a responsibility as a black actor to perfect your craft? And you are here on this stage, in front of all these people on television, acting like a clown. What’re you DOING it for?! [pauses] Money?!
Garrett: Well, it doesn’t look bad on my rèsumè, y’know. [laughter] AND I get to keep the dresses! [cackles]
Cicely: [pats his shoulder] Listen, listen dear, we’re gonna talk about this later. [to camera] We’ll be right back!
[Crowd roars and applauds as Cicely turns on a brilliant smile and hooks her arms around Garrett’s waist. FADE to black.]
Submitted by: Sean