Saturday Night Live Transcripts
Season 33: Episode 4
Brian Williams’ Monologue
Written by: Seth Meyers, Colin Jost
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen — Brian Williams!
Brian Williams: Thank you! Thank you, thank you very much. Thank you, it is such a thrill to be here hosting “Saturday Night Live.” I would like to point out that, at this very moment, we all — all of us — have something in common: each one of us is thinking, myself included, “Now, is this really a good idea?” Should I be hosting this show? And I’d like to take a moment, right now, to address that.
You know, when I agreed to host “SNL”, I believed I was following in this long tradition of newsmen who have appeared on this show. Icons, heroes of mine. Like Walter Cronkite.. Ted Koppel.. Peter Jennings. It wasn’t until rehearsal this morning that I was told that those were not the actual newsmen, but cast members doing impressions of them. The newscasters never risked their own careers or reputations by coming — I was nervous upon hearing the news. Dare, I say, panicky. So I called my good friend and mentor, Tom Brokaw, to see what I should do. In a couple of weeks from now, when he returns the message, and we go through that awkward dance of me explaining to him just who I am, and I — I expect he’ll say, if it’s not too late, “Get out of there, quickly.”
So why am I still here? Well, maybe I’ve — I’ve earned the right to have some fun. I’ve — I’ve been shot at while covering our troops in Iraq.. I’ve moderated the Democratic debate just this past Tuesday night.. when there’s a fire or a flood, I am there. And, yet, I know my own negatives. I’ve seen the internal NBC research, I’ve read the viewer mail, I know I’m often seen.. as a stiff. A guy who is always in anchorman-mode. But.. tonight..[ he lowers his head, then raises it on a close-up with a news insert that reads: “That All Changes” ]
Tonight, that all changes. You’re going to see a whole new Brian Williams. Because, here tonight, I’m going to: [ the words appear on the insert ] relax.. have fun.. be spontaneous.. and, most important, stay loose. [ he lowers his head, and the insert disappears ] I’m sorry about that. It’s gonna happen from time to time. I don’t know when it’s coming on — it’s an anchorman thing. The point is, we’re going to have some fun, and I promise to read my jokes in the.. very same fashion I’ve been reading the news for these past few years.
We have a great show. And, when we come back: Are the pharmaceutical companies telling the truth about teenage drug abuse? Feist is here, ladies and gentlemen! Stick around, we’ll be right back!