Saturday Night Live Transcripts
Season 1: Episode 9
Albert Brooks Film
… Albert Brooks
Paul Rennert … James L. Brooks
Albert Brooks: Hello, I’m at the National AudienceResearch Institute, a few miles outside of Phoenix,Arizona. This is my last film in this series for theSaturday Night show. I might be back but that’s notimportant right now. What is important is you. Comeinside with me. I’ll show you what I mean.[Brooks heads into the building. Dissolve to Brooksinside the building as he walks past a row of large,noisy computers and addresses the camera.]
Albert Brooks: In this building, hundreds of dedicatedmen and women work in order to find out what you, theaudience, like and why you like it. You know, someperformers say, “I don’t care about the audience. Ifthey don’t like it, fine. I got my own style, my ownbag. I’ll wait for other audiences.” [Brooks stops. Wecut to a close-up.] Not me. I’m not that stupid.That’s why I’m willing and able to change in anydirection you choose. [Cut wide again.] All I have toknow is why you don’t like it and what it is I can doabout it. And that’s what brought me here.[Cut to Brooks in a denim outfit, walking through anInstitute hallway.]
Albert Brooks V/O: I first came to the ResearchInstitute one year ago today. With my own money and atwenty-five thousand dollar grant, I intended tolaunch the most comprehensive research program everattempted for one individual.
Albert Brooks V/O: The Institute assigned three menand one woman to my project. As soon as I met them, Iknew I was in good hands.[Cut to interview footage of Paul Rennert, one of theresearchers, in his office.]
Albert Brooks V/O: There was Paul Rennert, a pioneerin the field of audience research.
Paul Rennert: Yeah, I went to the University ofColorado and I knew exactly what I wanted to do withmy life. I got into research.
Albert Brooks: [off screen] Is it an absolute science,research?
Paul Rennert: An absolute? No, no. It’s not anabsolute. The wonderful thing about it, and whatexcites the people who are in it, is that you can goahead and dig and compile, dig and compile, and you’renot heading towards any final answer.[Cut to interview footage with another researcher,Brian Elsner, who wears a white lab coat in a computerlab.]
Brian Elsner: Look…
Albert Brooks V/O: Brian Elsner…
Brian Elsner: … I’m not even gonna deal with thisproblem.
Albert Brooks V/O: … one of the first men tointroduce computers into the field of audienceanalyzation.
Brian Elsner: We have tons and tons of computer data.By the time we compile it and read it out, it’sout-of-date.[Cut to interview footage with the only femaleresearcher, Sandy Laughton.]
Sandy Laughton: Whether you’re walking on the moon orchoosing The Tonight Show…
Albert Brooks V/O: Sandy Laughton, responsible forchoosing just what material of mine would be used fortesting purposes.
Sandy Laughton: The material seldom makes me laugh.
Albert Brooks: [off screen] That’s not ’cause it’s notfunny.
Sandy Laughton: Not necessarily. I – I laugh when Ithink I’ve done a good job.
Mark Fielding: The participants in these tests …
Albert Brooks V/O: Doctor Mark Fielding, head of theresearch team.
Mark Fielding: … are chosen by tests so complicatedthat, actually, it deserves studying.
Albert Brooks: [off screen] What was the age range ofthe participants?
Mark Fielding: A four year old boy in Des Moines, Iowato a seventy-five year old woman in San Diego,California. And every possible combination in-between.[Cut to Brooks, walking down a flight of stairsoutside the institute, addressing the camera.]
Albert Brooks: Obviously, a research institute thathas spent millions of dollars on a testing programcan’t divulge its secrets on national television.However, since I was paying for this, they did allowme to film small portions of just a few of the overone hundred and six tests given.[Cut to a projection room where four test subjects sitin recliners wearing headphones. Sandy Laughton,wearing a white lab coat, paces behind them, holding aclipboard, making notes.]
Female Subject: No!
Male Subject: [soberly] I’m laughing very hard.
Female Subject: No!
Little Girl: I don’t like it!
Female Subject: Yes.
Albert Brooks V/O: Test Eleven.
Male Subject: [soberly] I’m not laughing.
Female Subject: Yes. Yes. No.
Albert Brooks V/O: Wearing special headphones, groupsof four people, chosen for specific reasons, wereasked to listen to a comedy recording of mine andverbalize all thoughts and feelings.
Male Subject: [soberly] I’m laughing hard.
Little Girl: I like it!
Albert Brooks V/O: On the surface, this test appearsto tell nothing. However, once the information was fedinto a computer, the results were astounding.[Cut to a man and a woman sitting on a sofa. They wearname tags.]
Man: I don’t understand the whole thing. This is theTonight Show. We’ve been watching the Tonight Show fortwenty years….
Albert Brooks V/O: Test Twenty-eight. In their ownhome, this couple has just watched me perform on alate night talk show. The Institute felt it would makefor an unusually honest critique if, after theprogram, they could remain in their home and speak tome directly through their television. [Cut wide toreveal researcher Paul Rennert sitting in a nearbychair in the couple’s living room, arguing with them.Brooks is visible on the TV.] At a staggering cost perminute, special lines were set up between theInstitute and this house two thousand miles away.Regrettably, these people were not briefed properlyand their confusion was costing me a fortune.
Albert Brooks: [on the TV screen, interrupting theargument] Hold it! Wait a minute! I’ll explain onemore time. Okay?
Man: Please.[Cut to Brooks in a TV studio.]
Albert Brooks: I’m not in Burbank.
Albert Brooks: I’m nowhere near the Tonight Show.
Albert Brooks: I did that earlier this evening.
Man: I see.[Cut to the living room with Brooks on the TV.]
Albert Brooks: [on TV] I left. I got on a plane. I’mnow near Phoenix, Arizona.
Woman: So you left The Tonight Show?
Albert Brooks: [on TV] Yeah.
Woman: Uh huh. And now you’re in Arizona?
Albert Brooks: [on TV] Right! I’m at the Institute.
Woman: I see. I see. I see.
Albert Brooks: [on TV] Now, what did you think of theshow?
Man: How close are you to Phoenix?
Albert Brooks: [on TV, completely loses it] Whatdifference does it make HOW CLOSE I AM TOPHOENIX???!!!![Cut to Brooks in the TV studio.]
Albert Brooks: [goes ballistic] What the hell is goingon?! What did you think of the show?![Cut to an Institute control room where a videotape ofBrooks’ previous film for Saturday Night plays on apair of TV screens. Brian Elsner, the computerspecialist, is visible in the background.]
Albert Brooks: [on TV screen] Before I go, I’d like tosay one thing. You know, making film is a cooperativeeffort …
Albert Brooks V/O: Test Sixty-five. One of a series oftests utilizing the Institute’s very newest computer.[Cut to a hairy-chested, bearded man with sensorsstuck to various parts of his body and head.] Thisman, while viewing me on television, was sending overtwo million impulses into this — what the Institutecalls the XR-8000. [We cut back and forth betweencomputer and sensor-rigged man] This computer canactually translate these impulses into a critique thatcan be read and discarded, much the same as a typicalnewspaper review.[A teletype prints out the critique. It reads: “Atthis point, however, Brooks simply becomes a babblingBrooks. The sharpness of his wit is dulled by the factthat he can’t seem to hold an audience once it isthere. Some comedians have that gift, Brooks does not.He assumes that an audience, once in a setting, isgood for at least an hour. Streisand, yes. AlbertBrooks, no. Another annoying things seems to beBrooks’ attitude toward people that don’t like hisact. He wastes no time before he insults them …” Cutto a small room. Brooks talks with a male testsubject. Through a glass window, we see researchersElsner and Laughton watching and taking notes.]
Albert Brooks: [to the male subject] Just– You see,you’ve taken it the wrong way.
Albert Brooks V/O: Test Seventy. I was placed in asmall room with a subject who, in an earlierinterview, expressed an intense dislike for my work.
Male Subject: [hostile] It’s tasteless.
Albert Brooks V/O: I was instructed to see if I couldbring him around to my way of thinking. This test wasdesigned to show just how deep audience feelings ran.
Male Subject: [angry, yelling] I don’t care! You’re -not – funny!
Albert Brooks: But I AM funny!
Male Subject: [grabs Brooks by the arms] Youunderstand that? I HATE YOU! You’re not funny!
Albert Brooks: But don’t you – don’t you understand–?
Male Subject: [shakes Brooks violently] Look! You’renot funny! I hate you!
Albert Brooks: I don’t think you understand–
Male Subject: No, YOU don’t understand!
Albert Brooks: Okay.
Male Subject: [increasingly violent] I hate it! I hateyou! I hate everything about it! You’re not funny!You’re not funny and I hate your guts!
Albert Brooks: Okay. [taps on window, yells toresearchers, who do nothing] Let me out – let me outof here!
Male Subject: I hate you.
Albert Brooks: Okay. Let me out.
Male Subject: You are not funny!
Albert Brooks: Oh, okay.
Male Subject: You are not funny …
Albert Brooks: Let me out of here!
Male Subject: … at all![Cut to Brooks, walking briskly away from theInstitute, wearing his brown outfit again. He carriesa massive book and addresses the camera.]
Albert Brooks: The National Audience ResearchInstitute has just turned over to me its findings inthis eight hundred and twenty-two page report. I’mgonna go on a vacation now and have somebody I trustput this into a synopsis I’ll read. [pauses at the topof a flight of steps running down to the street] Thenext time I see you, I hope and pray to be more ofwhat YOU want. [Brooks starts walking down the steps.]Thank you! And if you’re going on vacation, please,have a nice one, too![Fade out.]