SNL Transcripts: Norman Lear: 09/25/76: The Snakehandling O’Sheas


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 2: Episode 2

76b: Norman Lear / Boz Scaggs

The Snakehandling O’Sheas

…..Norman Lear
Writer…..Tom Schiller
Sister Mary Catherine…..Laraine Newman
Clovis O’Shea…..John Belushi
Barney…..Dan Aykroyd
Jane O’Shea…..Jane Curtin

[ open on interior, Norman Lear’s office ]

Norman Lear: As a producer of televison shows, I, and my fellow producers, are constantly testing and experimentng with new concepts. A lot of people accuse us of running factories. Factories, indeed. In my own case, I like to think that I have a very personal relationship with each and every one of the writers I work with. [ buzzes intercom ] Miss Shabbit, send in Writer #456.

Writer: [ enters ] Hello, Norman!

Norman Lear: Ah, Wyzkof. Tell me, sir, what is new with the new series?

Writer: Well, we studied the closest ratings and audience percentiles for Pittsburgh, and the hidden census is to set this new series there.

Norman Lear: Good, good.

Writer: Now, it’s got all the characters you ordered. The father is a union organizer; the mother is his boss, the president of a large steel company – but the father is proud and they live on his money. Now, the daughter is a nun, and their son is a gay state trooper.

Norman Lear: Tell me – does it have a twist?

Writer: A twist? Sure. They’re all practicing snake handlers.

Norman Lear: Practicing snake handlers?

[ cut to opening montage for new series ] [ SUPER: “The Snakehandling O’Sheas” ]

Pop is a hardhat
Mom’s an exec.
Sis is a nun
And Junior is gay.

We all live in Pittsburgh
Oh, that’s a cliche.
What else can we say?
But we’ll be okay.

Because we’re snakehandlers
We handle snakes.
Junior is gay.

[ cut to interior, O’Shea living room ] [ Clovis O’Shea enters to applause from the audience ]

Sister Mary Catherine: [ from upstairs ] Daddy? Daddy, is that you? [ comes downstairs, to applause from the audience ] Oh, no.. you mean it still hasn’t been settled?

Clovis O’Shea: I’m on that picket line for six hours today, with the men in my union looking up to me – their organizer! Only to suffer the ultimate humiliation of having my own son arrest me and haul me off to jail!

Sister Mary Catherine: Daddy, Barney called to explain..

Clovis O’Shea: I don’t want to hear any explanation! Where are the snakes?

Sister Mary Catherine: Okay, I’ll get them in a minute. But I want you to know that I came home from the convent to try and settle things here. But it looks like you just won’t listen to reason, so..

Clovis O’Shea: Reason? Reason?! Oh, you just wait ’til that brother of yours comes home. Boy, I’m gonna take care of him.. [ starts sweettalking his snake ] Boy, I’m gonna take care of that guy! My own flesh and blood!

Barney: [ enters the room, to applause from the audience ] Look, Dad, it was an illegal strike. Once Mom served the injunction, I had to move in there as a trooper and arrest you! I’m sorry, I couldn’t do anything about it! May I have my snake, please?

Clovis O’Shea: Your mother. Your mother. Just wait ’til she gets home, your mother. Miss Management mother! Yeah! When she gets home, she’s gonna get hers!

Jane O’Shea: [ enters, to major applause from the audience ] Snake, please.

Sister Mary Catherine: Yes, Mom.

Barney: Mother, you didn’t tell me that Dad was gonna be on that picket line today. I’m really upset.

Jane O’Shea: You’re upset?! Here I am, the newly-elected President of the National Steel Company, with a three-day old strike on my hands, and a union organizer for a husband! [ holds up her snake and swweettalks to it ] Hi, Skipper..

Barney: Mary Catherine, have you got the convent staff car tonight? Gimme the keys – I’m going to the drive-in with Boyd.

Sister Mary Catherine: Barney, as long as you’re seeing Boyd, I cannot lend you the nunmobile.

Clovis O’Shea: You know, the snakes feel so good today, I think I’ll start my chant..

Sister Mary Catherine: Dad, not yet.

Clovis O’Shea: Not yet? It’s just too much for me – your mother’s driving me crazy. I’m working my head off at the union, I’m the President there! The Lansford plans are out, they’re misfunctioning, what am I gonna do?

Jane O’Shea: 50-cents an hour at the current rate of production will ruin us. You know that, Clovis.

Barney: How’s your snake, Mom. It looks like Dad and Mary Catherine have already started their chants.

Jane O’Shea: Well, I’d better start mine, before I face the Board of Directors tomorrow.

[ they all start chanting to their snakes ]

Sister Mary Catherine: Just look at you two! You’re still both enjoying healthy, happy lives, handling snakes in a democracy! What more could you want?

Clovis O’Shea: I guess so.. You know, honey.. I think I’m gonna call off the strike.

Jane O’Shea: Sweetheart, I’ll see that you get that 50-cent-an-hour raise.

Sister Mary Catherine: Barney, tell Dad you’re sorry, and I’ll lend you the convent staff car, you can go to the drive-in with Boyd.

Barney: Daddy, I’ll never arrest you again. And, Mom, I’m not gonna marry Boyd, we’re probably just gonna go steady for a while.

Jane O’Shea: We’ve got to become closer, you know, and stop fighting. After all, we’re probably the only snakehandlers left in Pittsburgh!

[ dissolve to closing montage ]

“Because we’re snakehandlers
We handle snakes.
Junior is gay.

[ fade out ]

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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