Saturday Night Live Transcripts
Season 31: Episode 13
TV Funhouse: Belated Black History Moment
[open on title screen: “Belated Black History Moment”]
[dissolve to Dennis Haysbert walking forward on a sparse set with still images from cartoons featuring token black characters]
Dennis Haysbert: I’m Dennis Haysbert. For years, African Americans were reduced to minor roles in children’s cartoons. [dissolve to still from “Josie and the Pussycats,” including Valerie, who is black] Token characters, as they were called, [dissolve to still from “G.I. Joe” with four soldiers, including one who is black] were merely symbols meant to indicate diversity, and entirely inconsequential. [dissolve to studio] That all changed in 1992, when the American Broadcasting Company aired “Token Power,” [he approaches an easel with a still from “Token Power”] the first cartoon with an all token black cast. Finally, the token black was front and center.
[dissolve to title sequence]
Singers: [Franklin, Valerie, and Winston ride in the Token Cruiser] Token power! Token blacks! [the three characters are shown in a split screen with the logo “TP” in the middle] Celebrate the token blacks! [Franklin appears on a colored background] Well Franklin is the darkest friend of Charlie Brown [Franklin swings on a rope and knocks out a one-eyed robot that has grabbed Valerie], and [Valerie appears on a colored background] Valerie’s the Pussycat who never lets you down [Valerie trips a ghoulish creature that is chasing her, Franklin, and Winston], and [Winston appears on a colored background] Winston the Ghostbuster only has a line or two [Winston uses his proton pack to stop a giant green creature from menacing Franklin and Valerie], but when he gets to speak it’s really quite a Negro coup. Token power! [a mad scientists lowers the Tokens into a shark tank, but Valerie throws her tambourine at one of the sharks] Token blacks! Segregation tokens! [the Tokens rush onto a golf course and hold a “TP” flag in one of the holes] Utopia of token blacks! [the Tokens appear in front of their logo]
Dennis Haysbert: [voice over] In each episode, the Token Blacks would attempt to correct racial injustices.
[Valerie plays her tambourines while Winston rests on the couch]
Franklin: [arriving with newspaper] Hey, Tokens, did you hear? The mayor wants to stop the Million Man March because he thinks there’ll be a riot. Good grief!
Valerie: Wow, sounds like the soul brothers need our help.
Winston: [standing] But Tokens, we’re only supposed to be around white people. And off to the left.
Franklin: We’ve taken enough from Whitey. Let’s hit the Token Cruiser. [“TP” logo flashes, and cut to the Tokens in the Token Cruiser and landing near the Capitol in Washington, DC] Good grief, the National Guard!
Valerie: And one of them’s a soul brother.
[Lieutenant Jack Flap from “Beetle Bailey” approaches the Token Cruiser]
Lt. Flap: Hey, Pussycat, you’re sweet like bear meat. When am I gonna get all up in there?
Valerie: I love your natural. [points to his hair]
Lt. Flap: Hey, baby girl. Drop it like it’s hot. Pick it up when it’s cold.
[Franklin takes the microphone from a podium where Louis Farrakhan is speaking, surrounded by Fruit of Islam bodyguards]
Franklin: Everyone, let’s show the honky men why we’re angry!
Winston: I think Elvis put it best. [singing] On a cold and grey Chicago morning…
Tokens: [singing] A poor little baby child is born in the ghetto. [the crowd is stunned] And his momma cried.
[the Tokens begin to choke and the remaining lyrics are unintelligible]
Winston: Must…be…off…to the left.
[the crowd throws trash at the Tokens, who all collapse]
Dennis Haysbert: [voice over] The tokens could always be saved by Bryant Gumbel…
[The CBS eye flies to the Capitol and Bryant Gumbel appears within it]
Bryant Gumbel: Quick, get in the eye!
Dennis Haysbert: [voice over] …who would carry them away in the CBS eye [all four fly away in the eye] and off to the Palm steakhouse.
[Bryant and the Tokens are at a restaurant, surrounded by white people]
Bryant Gumbel: Promise me: no more uptown stuff. Okay, Tokens?
Valerie: We learned our lesson, Bryant. Harlem’s neat, but it sure feels good to be the only black people again.
Bryant Gumbel: Hello? I’m here, too!
Winston: Huh? Oh, yeah!
[they all laugh]
[dissolve to studio]
Dennis Haysbert: Sadly, “Token Power” was ahead of its time, and a huge piece of crap. It was quickly cancelled. But its impact was felt when, in 1993, CBS brought the fully dimensional African American character to children’s television with their cartoon adaptation of “Driving Miss Daisy.”
[dissolve to title sequence]
Singers: [Daisy buckles her seatbelt and Hoke drives the car up into the air, and a blue cat is seen in the car as well] Driving Miss Daisy [the car flies through the air around the Eiffel Tower] all over the world. [a general directs gunmen after Hoke, Daisy, and the cat as they run into a stone structure in a desert] Taking down bad guys [a samurai swings a sword] that’ll make your hair curl. [a mummy comes to life, and Hoke jumps into Daisy’s arms] Driving Miss Daisy [Hoke plays a keyboard; Daisy, tambourines; the cat, drums], who knows where they’ll go? [Daisy and the cat hold onto Hoke as he swings on a vine] ‘Cause anything can happen [an Egyptian pharoh uses a rod shaped like a snake to command cobras while Hoke, Daisy, and the cat slide down the side of a pyramid to flee the mummy before they take off in the car again] on the Hoke & Daisy show! [Hoke and Daisy on title screen: “Hoke & Daisy Show,” and the cat appears and laughs]
[dissolve to studio, with Dennis Haysbert now standing near a still from “The Hoke & Daisy Show” on an easel]
Dennis Haysbert: Regrettably, “The Hoke & Daisy Show” was ahead of its time, and a humongous, steaming bowl of elephant piss. It lasted but one episode, but it paved the way for another brave step when, in 1994, the Warner Brothers’ “Kids WB” introduced the first cartoon highlighting not African Americans, but an all African ensemble, in “Ladysmith Black Mambazo In Outer Space.” [he steps over to a still from that program]
[dissolve to title sequence with African chanting]
Singers: [A rocket takes off with the Ladysmith Black Mambazo on board. A tiny green alien pulls up on the controls. A giant orange alien laughs. The Ladysmith Black Mambazo runs from laser fire across an alien landscape. A green alien with a pink collar on his unifor skulks away with a gold record. The rocket ship is held in palce by a blue field generated by a green ship. A green alien launches the Ladysmith Black Mambazo out into space after trapping them in a transparent tube. An ice-blue alien in a red and royal blue uniform presses a button on a control panel and shoots more laser fire at the Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who run back across the alien landscape in the opposite direction. The members of the Ladysmith Black Mambazo are shown with their names: Misizi, Mthembu, Mazibuko, Jabulani, Thulani, Thamsanqa, Sibongiseni, Abednego, Shabablala. A green singularity appears in front of the rocket ship. The tiny green alien pulls up on the controls and the rocket ship returns to space. The Ladysmith Black Mambazo performs on a stage. The Ladysmith Black Mambazo runs from laser fire across an alien landscape in the same direction as before. An alien with a head that looks like a cucumber attempts to converse with the Ladysmith Black Mambazo, consulting an English to African dictionary. The Ladysmith Black Mambazo runs from a giant yellow alien, fleeing into a cave opening that is smaller than the alien]
[African chanting, with title screen] Ladysmith Black Mambazo in outer space.
Dennis Haysbert: Lamentably, “Ladysmith Black Mambazo In Outer Space” sucked it hard. For “Belated Black History Moments,” I’m Dennis Haysbert.
[fade to black]
Submitted by: DavidK93