Saturday Night Live Transcripts
Season 1: Episode 21
Michael O’Donoghue’s Tony Orlando Impression
Written by: Michael O’Donoghue
Buck Henry: [stands before a red curtain] A couple ofmonths ago when I was on the show, it was my pleasureto introduce to America one of the most remarkablytalented performers it’s been my pleasure to see insome time. I discovered him in a little club downtownin New York and, you know, impressionists come and go.We – we all know who they are, and we know thecharacters that they portray and – and – But – butthis guy, this fella does impressions that are unlikeany other. They’re imaginative, they’re original, uh,and I think you are going to enjoy, as much as I’vealways enjoyed, the immense, fascinating talents ofMr. Michael O’Donoghue![Applause. Music. Buck Henry applauds and exits to theleft as Michael O’Donoghue, perhaps better known as”Mr. Mike,” enters from the right in a garish paisleytuxedo with a large bow-tie. He is a thin,bespectacled, bearded gentleman in his mid-thirtiesaccompanied by two attractive young African-Americanwomen.]
Michael O’Donoghue: Thank you, thank you. And thankyou, Buck. I’m gonna just name a few groups or teamsof people: Burns and Allen, Ginger Rogers and FredAstaire, the Andrews Sisters, the Marx Brothers,Ferrante and Teicher, Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne.Now, what do all these people have in common? I mean,of course, they’re all exciting entertainers, I know,but – but something deeper than that. Each of them hasa special magic power, a power to reach out and touchnot just the minds of the people for whom they’reperforming … but their hearts as well. Today, in1976, nobody fits that description better than Mr.Tony Orlando and Dawn. [Applause.] Yeah! Yeah! Yeah![O’Donoghue applauds. Applause ends.] I happen tocatch their show last week and a funny thoughtoccurred to me. I thought, what if someone took steelneedles, say, um, fifteen, eighteen inches long –with real sharp points — and plunged them into TonyOrlando — and Dawn’s — eyes. What would theirreaction be? I think it might go something like this …[O’Donoghue and the two women turn their backs tothe camera and, after a pause, they clutch their eyes,screaming, shrieking at the top of their lungs,staggering, collapsing to the floor, writhing aroundon the stage in front of the red curtain, kicking,trying to get up and then falling, dropping to theirknees in agony, etc.] [Applause. Fade to black. The band plays some relatively sedate music over a photo of Jane Curtin and Buck Henry reviewing a script. After holding on this for a while, we dissolve back toO’Donoghue and friends writhing around on the stage athome base, hollering, hands clutched to their eyes.The red curtain is gone. Buck Henry jumps over one ofthe prostrate women and approaches the camera:]
Buck Henry: Thank you all very much. Remember, nextweek, Elliott Gould — watch him breeze right throughthe security guard. Thank you, Gordon Lightfoot. He’dplay another song but he only owns one guitar. Thankall of you for coming. And we’ll see you sometime whenthis mess gets cleared up. [gestures to the threepeople on the floor behind him; the band plays theclosing theme as members of the cast join Henry onstage; the credits roll; Gilda Radner hugs and kissesHenry; Chevy Chase and Garrett Morris rush to help theimpressionists to their feet; Henry kisses Jane Curtinand gets a pat on the back from John Belushi; the castlifts Henry up onto Belushi’s shoulders; cast andaudience wave good night as Don Pardo earns hispaycheck:]
Don Pardo: Our host next Saturday night will beElliott Gould. This is the voice of Don Pardo comingfrom the mouth of Don Pardo, triggered by the brain ofDon Pardo, adapted from a short story by Don Pardo,and stolen from an idea by Johnny Olsen. Stay tuned asPaul Anka plays host to “Superstars” premieringtonight. Good night!