Saturday Night Live Transcripts
Season 1: Episode 12
Dick Cavett’s Monologue
Dick Cavett: Thank you very much. Thank you. That’svery kind. Thank you. Welcome to Saturday Night. Myname is Candice Bergen … and I think either they’vecut my hair off in my sleep or you have the wrong cuecard up there. That’s it. My name is Dick Cavett.There you are. I tried memorizing that all day and I[snaps his fingers] just couldn’t get it. The rest ofthe show is off the top of our heads. As you know,this is a live show and that’s very exciting, uh, youknow, there really aren’t any shows that are “livelive” any more like this on television. If the camerasgo out, they go out. That’s it. It becomes a liveradio show. And if the cameras AND the mikes go out,we go door-to-door and do the show for you.
I love being in this building at NBC. I had one of theworst frustrations of my life in this building. Freshfrom college, I came here to 30 Rock, went and appliedto be a page at NBC. That was my great ambition. Iwas– College, Nebraska, right to New York. Filled outthe long form and they rejected me. Uh, I really blewit. At the end of the form, where it said, “Do youadvocate the overthrow of the United States governmentby force or violence?” — I chose violence. [delayedapplause] That was it.
I didn’t feel so bad because my dumb cousin Norman wasrejected, too. Uh, he – he’s very dumb. He lostanother job recently. He was director of the St. LouisZoo. And he took down all the cages and tried to runit on the honor system. Hard to believe but there youare.
Uh, if I could be serious for a moment, I had a very,I guess, great honor today. I received a letterinviting me to run for the Democratic presidentialnomination and, uh … [applause] Thank you. Thankyou. Unfortunately, it was a chain letter. … They’regonna have to have a separate convention hall for thecandidates there. It’s absurd.
I, uh, I’m a little disillusioned with politics. I’mthat generation. I – I heard my parents say as a kidalways, “In times of crisis, history will throw up agreat man.” And … in recent years, history’s had atendency to throw up, as you’ve noticed, and leave itat that.
Say, we’re a little annoyed tonight. The cast, if theyseem a little down, it’s the censor. Um, the NBCcensor’s been very liberal but he knocked out oursketch in which two robbers try to hold up a spermbank. Now, I figure, we’re all mature. We know thereare such things as sperm banks, right? Um, there’s onein New York, in fact. They’re very much like a realbank. The only difference is that with a sperm bank,after you make a deposit, you lose interest.[applause] But–
Say, Jimmy Cliff is here. [applause] I’m sorry, incase you’re in for a diappointment, I should say, wethink he will be here. Um, as you know, he makes hishome in Jamaica and, um, there has been a flood in theJamaica-Queens subway tunnel. But– No, he’s here. I’mkidding. Would I say that to you? He’s a– As youknow, he’s one of the world’s great reggae singers.Reggae is a Latin American word meaning “rich.”[nobody laughs, Cavett starts ad-libbing] Um, he’smade an awful lot of money and, uh– I don’t really–Does anyone have any idea what “reggae” means? Hands?Anyone know? Anything at all? Does anyone have aquestion?
Anyway, Jimmy is here and there’s a surprise for melater. I know a little about it. They don’t want me toknow too much about it. And I would like to say oneword– why I wanted to do this show. Often, ontelevision, I’ve been accused of doing things that are… above the intelligence level of the mass audience.And I don’t really buy that. Uh, I kind o’ resentthat. Just because I went to college, you know, theysay you’re an intellectual. As you know, going tocollege doesn’t make you an intellectual. Um…[applause]
I feel that, uh… I feel that humor, like theuniverse, is conditioned by a – a kind of — Well,it’s a byproduct of your own Weltanschauung, I feel,and what it is, really, is a, I think, a randomlysequentialized system of only partially overlappingsynergistics and energy events that are, really,irreducibly unanalyzable. And an example, to me, ofover-intellectualized humor would be, for example,Laroche Foucault’s famous remark with which he brokeup the French Academy when he said, uh, when he said:[Cavett rattles off something in French] Now, to me,that’s a bomb! See, you didn’t laugh. I don’t thinkit’s funny. And I’m gonna confess to you that my realsense of humor is a little lower-brow than that. WhatI think is funny– I loved it when, well, like SpikeJones or somebody when they’d shoot a gun off and adead duck would come down or something like that.[pulls a pistol from his belt] This is my idea ofwhat’s really funny. Watch this.[Cavett unconvincingly fires the pistol into the airand a life-sized, stuffed canvas cow crashes down fromthe rafters onto the stage behind him. Laughter andapplause.]
It’s the old cow-dropping bit. It just kills me. We’llbe right back after this message. Stay with us.[Cavett basks in the applause as a superimposed textreads: COMING UP NEXT… TOP MAFIA LEADERS REVEAL THEDO’S AND DON’TS OF LARGE LUNCHEONS.]