SNL Transcripts: Buck Henry: 05/22/76: Crowd Audition


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 1: Episode 21

75u: Buck Henry / Gordon Lightfoot

Crowd Audition

Woman…..Jane Curtin
Director…..Buck Henry
Casting Agent…..Chevy Chase
Members of the Crowd…..John Belushi, Laraine Newman, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris, Mivhael O’Donaghue, Al FRanken, Tom Schiller, Alan Zweibel, etc.

[ open on Woman auditioning on stage ]

Woman: “Shoot, if you must, this old grey head, But spare her country’s flag,” she said.”

Director: That’s terrific, sweetheart. Thank you very much, you’ll hear from us.

Woman: Thank you, thank you!

[ she exits ]

Casting Agent: Just like you, Fred! What other director would in Hollywood would cast EVERY single part, right down to the smallest character?

Director: Well, listen, I’ve spent two years putting this thing together, I’m not gonna let some two-bit extras screw things up. I’ve got a hot script, I’ve got the best cast every assembled: Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda, Shelley Winters —

Casting Agent: Tatum O’Neal — you’ve got ’em all.

Director: I swear, George — “Too Young to Live” is destined to go right up there with the classics.

Casting Agent: Listen, before lunch, we still have some people out there.

Director: Yeah, but all that’s left to cast is the crowd scene.

Casting Agent: Well, uh — there’s a crowd waiting out in the hall. They have a two o’clock appointment.

Director: Terrific! Send them in!

Casting Agent: Okay. [ he calls out ] Uh — NEXT, please!

[ a huge crowd of actors flood the stage from all directions ]

Director: Hi!

Crowd: HI!!!

Director: I’m sorry, uh, to have kept you waiting. I guess you’re a little bit nervous. [ the crowd waves it off ] Yeah, well, just try and relax, this should be VERY easy for you. I’m gonna just ask a few preliminary questions first. Uh — your name?

[ everyone in the crowd blurts out their name at once ]

Director: Did you get that?

Casting Agent: Yeah, I got it.

Director: Okay. [ to the crowd ] Uhhhh — what was your last picture?

[ the crowd rocks back and forth across the stage, screaming, “Whoa-oa-oa!!! Whoa-oa-oa!!!” ]

Director: “Earthquake”.

Casting Agent: “Earthquake”.

Director: Yeah. [ to the crowd ] Of course! That’s where I recognized you from! You were very, very good in that.

[ the crowd nods humbly ]

Casting Agent: You know, you look a LOT thinner in person!

[ they all laugh ]

Director: Okay! Let’s start. Uh — now, you’re in the desert, and you’ve just sighted a UFO — let’s see how you respond! ACTION!!

[ one woman in the crowd points to the sky ]

Woman of Group: Up there! Look!

[ the crowd follows her gaze, then they all point their arms in the air in awe and follow the motion of the UFO as it passes ]

Director: CUT!! Good, good! I believed you! That was very nice. Why don’t we run through a couple of the basics now? I’d like you to go from a restless multitude to an unruly, threatening mob. Okay? Start restless, build up to unruly and threatening… and ACTION!!!

[ the crowd starts off restless, individual members nonchalantly smacking their hands together while talking to another member, then it escalates as they begin grabbing one another and waving signs that read “GET OUT!” and “POWER TO THE PEOPLE!” ] [ Casting Director whistles for the crowd to back up ]

Director: Alright, CUT, CUT, CUT!! Very nice, thank you! Excuse us for a second. [ to ?? ] What do you think?

Casting Agent: I’m getting too much, too long. We want MORE, not long.

Director: [ to the crowd ] Alright! We’re gonna try something else, Crowd. It’s 1927, uh, Lindbergh has just landed in Paris; you are excited and thrilled. ACTION!!

[ the crowd displays excitement — confetti is thrown, a sign that reads “VIVE LINDY!” is waved, etc. ]

Director: OKAY!! CUT!! CUT!! That’s beautiful! Very, very pretty. Now, I’d like to see you, uh — I’d like to see you work with a little PANIC! Why don’t we try this: You are Japan! Godzilla is ravishing Tokyo! ACTION!!

[ the crowd points and panics and pushes each other towards the back of the stage ]

Director: CUT!! Very, very nice! Uh — hang on a second. [ to the casting agent ] Who taught this crowd how to act?

Casting Agent: I don’t know, don’t ask me…

Director: I want to try something. I want to see how flexible they are. [ to the crowd ] Uh, listen, Crowd — Dorothy and Toto have just arrived in Munchkinland. I want you to make them feel warm and welcome, okay? ACTION!

[ the crowd falls to their knees, hod their arms out and chatter in high-pitched voices ]

Director: CUT!! Very nice! Very nice. I think I have a good, uh, sense of your range. If you could just, uh, leave a picture? [ a group crowd portrait is shuttled forward ]

Casting Agent: How about phone numbers?

Director: Phone numbers? [ a telephone book is shuttled forward ] Thank you. Thank you very much! That’s very nice, uh — oh! I forgot to ask you one thing: Do you lynch?

[ desperate for the job, the crowd breaks into mass hysteria, as one member climbs upon the shoulders of others and tosses a hangman’s noose over a beam, and others lift a Black member of the group up and shove his panicked head through the noose ]


[ the crowd congratulates themselves, as the Black man is set free and the scene fades ]

SNL Transcripts

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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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