SNL Transcripts: Saturday Night Live in the ’80s: Lost and Found: 11/13/05


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Special: Saturday Night Live in the ’80s: Lost and Found

Saturday Night Live in the ’80s: Lost and Found

…..Bernie Brillstein
…..Lorne Michaels
…..Jon Lovitz
…..Kevin Nealon
…..A. Whitney Brown
…..Dana Carvey
…..Nora Dunn
…..Victoria Jackson
…..Conan O’Brien
…..Rob Smigel
…..Don Novello
…..Andy Breckman
…..Margaret Oberman

[ cut to Elvis Costello’s performance of “Let Him Dangle”, 03/25/89 ]

Elvis Costello: [ singing ]“Outside Wandsworth prison there was horror and hate
As the hangman shook Bentley’s hand to calculate his weight
Let him dangle, let him dangle.”

[ cut to Bernie Brillstein ]

Bernie Brillstein: I called Brandon back.

[ cut to Lorne Michaels ]

Lorne Michaels: Bernie said, “What do you mean? You wait now to cancel it? You had five years to cancel it, and now you’re, you know –“

[ cut to Bernie Brillstein ]

Bernie Brillstein: You can’t cancel it. You’ve got to give Lorne another year. He said, “All right.”

[ cut to Lorne Michaels ]

Lorne Michaels: I think there’d been a codification of a right way and a wrong way to do “Saturday Night Live,” and I think it had to be blown up.

[ cut to Madonna addressing the audience in Madonna: “It Was All a Dream”, 10/11/86 ]

Madonna: As you may recall, one year ago tonight, I hosted the premiere episode of “Saturday Night Live.” Therefore, NBC has asked me to read the following statement concerning last year’s entire season. [ takes out a piece of paper ] Ready? [ reading ] “It was all a dream. A horrible, horrible dream.” [ audience applauds wildly ] [ cut to Lorne Michaels ]

Lorne Michaels: I started to go back to, “Well, I might as well do a show that I’d like to see.”

[ cut to Jon Lovitz ]

Jon Lovitz: They said, “We’re gonna bring on new people and we want to bring people that you work well with.”

[ cut to Kevin Nealon ]

Kevin Nealon: That was the magic of the original cast. Laraine and Belushi and Aykroyd. A lot of them knew each other and they just kind of knew how to mesh and there was that synergy that you need on a show like that.

[ cut to A. Whitney Brown ]

A. Whitney Brown: Jon brought Phil.

[ cut to Jon Lovitz ]

Jon Lovitz: I knew Phil. I had met Jan before, and I knew Nora and I knew Dennis.

[ cut to Dana Carvey ]

Dana Carvey: I knew A. Whitney Brown. I knew Nora Dunn. I’d known Dennis Miller from the clubs. Still never called me “Dana” in 25 years. [ dons his Dennis Miller voice ] “Carvey.” One of those guys.

[ cut to Dennis Miller and Dennia Miller (Dana Carvey) on “Weekend Update with Dennis Miller”, 12/19/87 ]

Dennis Miller 2: [ mimicking Dennis Miller ] Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Dennis Miller: [ to the audience ] I’m just narcissistic enough to love that.

[ cut to Dana Carvey ]

Dana Carvey: But I didn’t know Jon and Phil. And when they were around each other, they would just do that 40s gangster stuff. [ dons a gangster voice ] “How you doing, fellas. Come here, Hey, what’s the name of the broad?” I thought they were a little, you know.

[ cut to Nora Dunn ]

Nora Dunn: “They hate ya. They don’t like ya.” That character. “They don’t wanna see ya anymore.” And then, Phil would go, “What’s the word on the street?” “They don’t want ya anymore. You’re washed up, you’re through.”

[ cut to Harry the director arguing with washed-up 40s war actor Johnny O’Connor in Johnny O’Connor, 10/18/86 ]

Johnny O’Connor: You mean..?

Harry: Yes. Your contract isn’t being renewed.

Johnny O’Connor: But, Harry, I —

Harry: You’re finished, Johnny!

Johnny O’Connor: Don’t mince words!

Harry: I think you stink!

Johnny O’Connor: Listen, Harry, if you’re unhappy with my work, tell me now!

Harry: You’re through, do you hear me, through! You’ll never work in this town again!

Johnny O’Connor: Don’t leave me hanging by a thread! Let me know how I stand!

Harry: I think you’re the worst actor I’ve ever seen, and I get five hundred letters a day telling me the same!

Johnny O’Connor: What’s the word on the street?

[ Harry appears flabbergasted ]

A. Whitney Brown V/O: And then, Dana recommended Kevin.

[ cut to Dana Carvey ]

Dana Carvey: Lorne wanted one more guy. And I don’t know if it was true or it was my imagination, but.. “Maybe somebody tall?”

[ cut to Kevin Nealon ]

Kevin Nealon: A couple days later, Lorne Michaels offered me the job. I said, “Well, let me think about it over the weekend.” And he goes, “Well, okay, you go ahead and think about it and we’ll see you in New York on Monday.”

[ cut to correspondent Kevin Nealon delivering a report from ten feet away from the news desk on “Weekend Update with Dennis Miller”, ]

Dennis Miller: Kevin, what’s going on? [ Laughter ]

Kevin Nealon: Dennis, I’m standing here, ten feet away from you in the there are a lot of lights and television equipment here, as if a show is being performed. There seems to be a crowd gathered, as if they’ve come to watch something.

Dennis Miller: And what’s the mood over there, Kev?

Kevin Nealon: Well, there seems to be a mood of anticipation, Dennis. The people here seem as if they’re ready to respond to something. Almost like they’re ready to laugh. And yet, there is no laughter.

Kevin Nealon V/O: At the time, I was dating Jan Hooks.

[ cut to Lorne Michaels ]

Lorne Michaels: There are people you just know — Dana was one, and I think Jan was another, you just knew right away that it was gonna work.

[ cut to Victoria Jackson ]

Victoria Jackson: I had never met any of the other cast members before. But I had worked with Jan Hooks and I thought she was brilliant.

[ cut to two women (Jan Hooks, Victoria Jackson) having lunch at a celebrity cafe in “Celebrity Cafe”, 01/28/89 ]

Woman #1: Don’t turn around —

Woman #2: Who is it?

Woman #1: — but at the back table —

Woman #2: Yeah.

Woman #1: — in the booth in the back —

Woman #2: Yeah.

Woman #1: — it’s Jesus Christ.

Woman #2: No way!

Woman #1: Yes, yes. Go ahead, turn around.

Woman #2: Od.D.

[ cut to reveal Jesus (Phil Hartman) sitting with a group of his prophets ] [ cut to Dana Carvey ]

Dana Carvey: I remember meeting Don Pardo, the announcer, in the elevator and Jon Lovitz was there and goes, “Do Dana.” And Don Pardo goes, [ in deep Don Pardo voice ] “Da-na Car-vey.” And I just, literally, was nauseous. I wasn’t sure If we were gonna work ’cause we didn’t seem cool, you know.

[ cut to Conan O’Brien ]

Conan O’Brien: For a while at “Saturday Night Live,” you don’t know if you’ve made it. I made it. I remember a few times, Lorne has a joke, every now and then, I’d pass him the hallway and Lorne would say, “Still with the show?”

[ cut to Kevin Nealon ]

Kevin Nealon: I don’t think any of us unpacked our suitcases. And we all had rental places, you know, month by month. It was never, like, a secure job, where you felt like, “Ah, I’m here for as long as I want to be.”

[ cut to pathological liar Tommy Flanagan addressing SNL’s audience in “A Message From Tommy Flanagan“, 03/15/86 ]

Tommy Flanagan: We were a little worried at first because we had a new cast. [laughter] But everyone loves it! Why, just last–eh, eh… yesterday… we got nominated… for an Aca–an O–a… YEAH. [laughter] And then there’s the reviews! Why, they’ve all been… ehh… and we have a new CAST!

[ cut to Jon Lovitz ]

Jon Lovitz: After I did the Liar the first time, Lorne said, “why don’t you and A. Whitney Brown write it together?” And I remember during the show, he kept saying, “Do you wanna see my stand-up?” And I go, “I’ll see it later.” I didn’t know who he was, you know. I just think he’s some guy. And I finally said, “All right, let me watch it.” So I watched it and I went, “Oh, well, you’re a genius. Why didn’t you say so?”

[ cut to A. Whitney Brown ]

A. Whitney Brown: Never made my living as a writer before. I’d been a stand-up comic basically. Before that, I was a juggler on the street. Before that, I had a trained dog act in a traveling circus. I’m one of the only writers there who hadn’t been to Harvard.

Jon Lovitz V/O: These Harvard writers, Lorne liked them a lot, that’s who was on the show. A ton of them.

[ cut to Francis Ford Coppola and Terry Sweeney interrupting Danitra Vance in the middle of That Black Girl”, 03/22/86 ]

Terry Sweeney: Writers, get in here!!

[ a trio of white, preppy, pipe-smoking writers enter ]

Francis Ford Coppola: Why aren’t there any black women writers on this show? I mean, do any of you really know the subject of this scene, you know, what it is to be black? To feel black?

[ cut to Dana Carvey ]

Dana Carvey: When I would mispronounce a word in read-through, there’d be a lot of giggles from the Harvard guys. “He doesn’t even know how to pronounce that.”

[ cut to “Don’t Mock Me!“, 01/21/89 ]

Lord Edmund: [ yelling out the door ] And I will NOT be mocked!! [ pauses in anger ] The insolence and bold effrontary! [ walks forward, never suspecting that his Servants are imitating his walk in a fit of mockery behind his back ] She was mocking me, was she not?

Servant #1: Oh, yes, your Lordship. [ Servant #2 mocks Lord Edmund behind his back as Servant #1 speaks ] I was crimson with rage and egregious in pertinence of her bald impudence! [ to Servant #2 ] Weren’t you, Thomas?

Servant #2: Oh, yes, yes.. [ Servant #1 mocks Lord Edmund behind his back as Servant #2 speaks ] ..the brazen audacity of her tongue was surpassed only by her derisive hauteur!

Lord Edmund: I thought so.

[ cut to Conan O’Brien ]

Conan O’Brien: Robert Smigel, myself, Greg and Bob Odenkirk, we were, I think, sometimes referred to, with great affection, as “The Nerds.”

[ cut to Rob Smigel ]

Rob Smigel: When I met Conan, I was, like, “Wow, Preppy Preppington,” you know? But he turned out to be a complete freak and a goofball and we really connected that way.

[ cut to Girl Watchers (Tom Hanks, Jon Lovitz striking out on the street in “Girl Watchers A Go Go, 02/20/88 ]

Girl Watcher #1: Good evening. [ the woman walks past without even blinking ] And good night.

Girl Watcher #2: Yow! Not even eye contact.

Girl Watcher #1: The ladies just don’t like me.

Girl Watcher #2: To say the least.

Girl Watcher #1: My face is just too wide.

Girl Watcher #2: Yeah, and my hairline can’t be helping, either.

[ cut to Conan O’Brien ]

Conan O’Brien: I learned everything at “Saturday Night Live.” I I learned how to pace it, how to talk to a director, maybe, to a performer, but also get out of their face when they just have to do their thing.

[ cut to Master Thespian (Jon Lovitz) conferring with his mentor Baudelaire (John Lithgow) in “Master Thespian”, 04/11/87 ]

Master Thespian: Oh, Baudelaire, I’ve been asked to replace Olivier as Hamlet. Any schoolboy knows it is my destiny to play the part as it has never been played before. But how? [ overdramatic ] Ho-o-o-o-owww??

Baudelaire: Rest your mind, protege. You shall play it with the heart of a lion.. the strength of an elephant.. and the soul of a newborn babe. In a word, your Hamlet must be played as — as — [ leaves it hanging ]

Master Thespian: Yes?

Baudelaire: [ throws his arm up ] Baudelaire!

Master Thespian: Genius!

Baudelaire: Thank you! [ swings his arm, knocking Master Thespian back ]

Master Thespian: Ow!

Baudelaire: [ with grave concern ] Have I hurt you?

Master Thespian: Don’t be silly. [ throws his arm up with a flourish ] Acting!

Baudelaire: Brilliant!

[ cut to Don Novello ]

Don Novello: “Saturday Night Live.” The great thing was that you wrote something, and on the Wednesday read-through, it would be there. No one would see it first. And between dress and air, if something’s running long, Lorne would say, “Take out two minutes.” He wouldn’t say, “Take out this, take out that.”

[ cut to A. Whitney Brown ]

A. Whitney Brown: Because the writers were also producing their pieces, for the first time, it was my voice. I had a shot getting something that was uniquely mine on the air.

[ cut to Victoria Jackson ]

Victoria Jackson: I could never get anyone to write for me. I went to Lorne’s office one day and I was like, “Lorne, I can’t get on the show. There was five shows where I had no lines. And I feel really stupid in the Goodnights, bowing when I haven’t done anything.” And he said, [ in a Lorne voice ] “You’re a lot more visible than you think you are.”

[ cut to Victoria Jackson entering restaurant with Harry Hamlin (unknown) to be greeted by Buddy Precisely (Dana Carvey) in “Wait At The Bar”, 12/03/88 ]

Buddy Precisely: Harry Hamlin and Victoria Jackson. Oh, Harry, I love you on “L.A. Law.” You’re a big, sexy star and I love you for it. And pretty, pretty Victoria. Now, where might I’ve seen you lately.

Victoria Jackson: “Saturday Night Live.”

Buddy Precisely: Uh huh. New cast or original cast?

Victoria Jackson: New cast.

Buddy Precisely: Harry, your table is waiting. Victoria, take it outside. Take it outside, take it outside, take it outside!

[ cut to Victoria Jackson ]

Victoria Jackson: Five times in a row. And I’m getting paid lots of money, but I want to earn it, you know. And he said, “Well, did you bring the writers any food?”

[ cut to Margaret Oberman ]

Margaret Oberman: They’d try to take you out to dinner, be nice to you. It would be really goofy, you parent…. And so, it was just silly.

[ cut to Conan O’Brien ]

Conan O’Brien: You know, some people were a… Lovitz would sort of come around sometimes. “Why don’t you write something for me? Come on, write me a sketch.”

[ cut to Dennis Miller being interrupted by Annoying Man (Jon Lovitz) on “Weekend Update with Dennis Miller”, ??/??/?? ]

Dennis Miller: In the Middle East, Lebanon — oh, God. It’s Annoying Man! [ cheers and applause from the audience, as Annoying Man licks Miller’s face ] Get out of here, get out of here. You licked me, you freak! Get out of here!

Annoying Man: [ suddenly dramatic ] You don’t have to scream. [ exits desk area ]

Jon Lovitz V/O: I think the main difference was everybody was their late 20s or early 30s.

[ cut to Nora Dunn ]

Nora Dunn: Those were all people that came out of improvisational comedy. Everybody had their characters that they did so — they brought a lot to it.

[ cut to Kevin Nealon ]

Kevin Nealon: The fact that the show didn’t gel the year before we came on, I think, helped a lot. It took a lot of pressure off of us. There weren’t a lot of people watching the first year I was on. It freed us up a lot, I think.

[ cut to Mephistopheles (Jon Lovitz) interrupting Doug Llewellen (Kevin Nealon) as he wraps things up on “The People’s Court, 11/08/86 ]

Mephistopheles: [ stares hypnotically at the camera ] You, watching this at home, worship me! I command you! Become my willing thralls and live eternally!

Doug Llewellen: That’s all for this edition of “The People’s Court”.

Mephistopheles: Know the sweet, sublime feeling of complete obediance to your Evil Master! Come serve me, the Prince of Darkness, I command it! Hear me!

Bailiff: Come on, let’s go! Come on!

Mephistopheles: Wait, wait just a second.. Obey me! Obey me! [ laughs evilly ] [ cut to Conan O’Brien ]

Conan O’Brien: You had this feeling that things were starting to happen. You know, the popcorn is starting to pop in the microwave.

[ cut to Lorne Michaels ]

Lorne Michaels: You could tell that I was feeling good about things ’cause I decided that I would do a show with Dennis Hopper and Roy Orbison, which was — it was the last show of the season, I thought, “Well, these are people I wanted to do a show with.”

[ cut to Roy Orbison’s performance of “Crying” on 05/23/87 ]

Roy Orbison: [ singing ]“I’ll be crying, crying, crying
Crying, crying, crying over you-ou-ou-ou-ou-ou!”

[ the audience cheers and applauds ]

[ commercial break ]

Back | Next: Hans and Franz and the Sweeney Sisters

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Author: Don Roy King

Don Roy King has directed fourteen seasons of Saturday Night Live. That work has earned him ten Emmys and fourteen nominations. Additionally, he has been nominated for fifteen DGA Awards and won in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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