SNL Transcripts: Steve Martin: 10/23/76: The Mary Tyler Moore Show

 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 2: Episode 5

76e: Steve Martin / Kinky Friedman

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Mary Richards…..Laraine Newman
Murray Slaughter…..Dan Aykroyd
Ted Baxter…..Steve Martin
Rhoda Morgenstern…..Gilda Radner
Sue Ellen Niven…..Jane Curtin
Lou Grant…..John Belushi

[ open on interior, WJM Newsroom, Mary Richards sitting in front of her typewriter with her head hanging down and a smile on her face. Slow pan right until Murray Slaughter and Ted Baxter enter the room. ]

Murray Slaughter: I know, I know, I know —

Ted Baxter: You know, Murr – it’s really tough out there! [ removes his jacket, hangs it up ] I’ll tell you, Murr – you know, the hardest part of doing the news is, I can’t bend own during it. And sometimes, it’s the only thing on my mind. I’ll be out there doing the show, and I’ll be thinking: “I can’t bend down!” [ a beat ] Hi, Mar! [ glances at the page in her typewriter ] Hey, Mare, you don’t spell “Minnesota” with three 5’s and four 7’s. [ chuckles ] That’s how you spell “Peter.”

Murray Slaughter: Mary? Are you alright? Mary, Mary, what’s wrong?

Ted Baxter: Oh, she’s probably just depressed because she had to wear the same outfit twice in one year!

Murray Slaughter: [ touches Mary’s shoulder ] I don’t think Mary’s depressed, Ted. I think she’s dead!

Ted Baxter: Come on, Murray, she can’t be dead – she’s busy. Dead people are never busy.

Murray Slaughter: Oh, God, Ted! How could this have happened?

Ted Baxter: [ nervous laughter ] I don’t know, Murray. I mean, she was fine this morning when I put that Drano in her coffee for a joke!

Murray Slaughter: Drano?! You put Drano in her coffee?!

Ted Baxter: Well, she was hoarse, and I thought it’d help clean out her pipes! [ chuckles ] Get it?

Murray Slaughter: That stuff’s poison! Don’t you read the label!

Ted Baxter: Yeah, but it got boring.

Murray Slaughter: Mary’s dead, you killed her! Why couldn’t it have been the other way around?

Ted Baxter: Murr, buck up! We’ll all laugh about this later.

Murray Slaughter: Maybe you’ll laugh. But wait’ll Mr. Grant hears about this!

Ted Baxter: Mr. Grant? Well, how’s he gonna hear?

Murray Slaughter: By you telling him!

Ted Baxter: [ nervous, hyperventilating ] But, Murr! I can’t tell him! I could lose my job!

Murray Slaughter: [ dials phone ] Wait’ll the authorities find out.

Ted Baxter: The authorities? Murray, I’ve always wondered – who exactly are they?

Murray Slaughter: The police, the law. They’re gonna slap a prison sentence on you! This is murder!

Ted Baxter: Well, wait, now wait, look, uh.. are you sure she’s dead?

[ Murray touches Mary’s shoulder; her head falls forward ]

Murray Slaughter: Yes, she’s dead! Yes, she’s dead!

Ted Baxter: Well.. for God’s sake, Murray! [ grabs Murray by the collar ] Let’s look up her skirt!

[ Rhoda enters, but doesn’t notice Mary right away ]

Rhoda: Hi, guys! I just flew in from New York!

Ted Baxter: [ panicky ] Rhoda, I can explain everything, uh.. I was trying to commit suicide, and I forgot who I was!

Rhoda: Ted, did anyone ever tell you, with a few minor changes, you could be a lamp? [ now notices that Mary is slumped over ] What’s with Mar?

Murray Slaughter: He killed her!

Rhoda: Oh, no.. Hey, Mar, don’t let it get to you. Think of it this way – death is just God’s way of asking you out!

[ Sue Ellen enters, holding a trayful of tarts ]

Rhoda: Hi, hi! Anybody want to munch on one of my tarts?

Murray Slaughter: I don’t think any of us in a munching mood, Sue Ann! Ted killed Mary!

Sue Ann: Is she dead? Are you sure?

Murray Slaughter: She has no pulse!

Sue Ann: Mary Richards has no pulse. I thought she was the girl who had everything.

Rhoda: Well, how did it happen, anyway?

Murray Slaughter: Ted put Drano in her coffee!

Sue Ann: Drano! Ted, didn’t you know that a little ammonia and water would have done the same job in half the time?

Rhoda: Well, look, I’m leaving. I have better things to do than to sit here and watch my dead friend decompose.

Sue Ann: Ohh, stay and help me plan the funeral. Come on, it’ll be fun!

Ted Baxter: [ enthusiastic ] Yeah!

Murray Slaughter: That’s none of your concern now, Ted! Your concern is telling Mr. Grant!

[ Lou Grant enters from his office ]

Murray Slaughter: And here’s your chance! [ he pushes the nervous Ted forward to Mr. Grant ] Here’s your chance, Ted. Come on, Ted. Come on.

[ Mr. Grant looks at Ted suspiciously ]

Ted Baxter: Hey, Lou! Look how long Mary can hold her breath without stopping!

Murray Slaughter: Ted!

Lou Grant: Alright, what’s going on? What’s this about Mary?

Ted Baxter: I’ll give you a hint. [ pulls his tie up, miming hanging himself ]

Murray Slaughter: Ted – Ted killed her! There was this Drano and this coffee. [ Mr. Grant steps up to Mary’s lifeless body ] Sue Ann and Rhoda are planning the funeral right now!

Sue Ann: Oh, it’ll be a lovely funeral. The theme is: Mary Richards – Heaven Or Hell?

Lou Grant: I don’t want to hear about it now, Sue Ann. [ tugs Mary’s head up, then drops it back onto the typewriter ] Let’s have a moment of silence for Mary.

[ everyone is silent for a few beats, until Ted begins to crack up ]

Ted Baxter: I can’t help it! “Clean out her pipes!” What a great joke!

Lou Grant: Ted!

[ Ted attempts to stifle his laughter ]

Lou Grant: Okay. Now, we have to keep our heads. Mary is dead, but we got a news show to put on, alright? Murray, you write the story. Uh, Ted, you confeess on the air.

Ted Baxter: But everyone will hear me.

Lou Grant: That’s the idea. This is the biggest news story to hit this town in a decade, and we’re gonna break it! We got a killer, we got a motive – by the way, what was the motive?

Ted Baxter: Humor. [ a beat ] Oh, Lou! Don’t make me confess on the air! They’ll send me to jail! I don’t want to go to jail! I look terrible in stripes and big numbers!

Lou Grant: Well, maybe you should have thought of that before you killed somebody.

Ted Baxter: Lou! I won’t say it! I won’t say it! I’ll lose half my following!

Lou Grant: Ted! You’ll say it, and you’ll like it!

Ted Baxter: [ begins to whimper like a baby ] Please don’t make me do it! Please don’t make me confess in my own time slot!

Lou Grant: Ted. You will confess here. Or would you rather confess in some dingy little courtroom in a municipal hall, where you won’t have any chance to win the award for Best Reporter, huh? And they won’t let you wear your blazer.

Ted Baxter: My blazer? [ intrigued ] Well, okay.

[ finished writing the story, Murray hands the sheet to Ted ]

Murray Slaughter: Here it is, Ted. Just remember to smile.

[ Ted takes the news copy, and slowly retreats into the On-Air room. Everyone crowds around the TV on the writing desk to watch Ted’s performance ]

Announcer: And now, the WJM Six O’Clock news, with Ted Baxter.

Ted Baxter: The top story tonight – in a case of involuntary man’s laughter.. Man’s laughter. [ clears throat ] Our associate producer, Mary Richards, was killed by.. [ stops, looks at his copy ] Can anyone make out this name? Hmm. [ shaking ] Killed by.. [ smiles, adjusts his tie ] The basically wonderful.. person named.. [ finally realizing an out ] Lou Grant!

Lou Grant: [ watching from the news room, Mr. Grant and the others are disgusted ]

Ted Baxter V/O: Yes! Lou Grant killed Mary Richards, in a ruthless, brutal assault —

[ Mr. Grants turns the TV off ]

Lou Grant: Murray. Get the Drano.

[ Lou and Murray retreat to the On-Air room, as we zoom out ] [ SUPER: “Coming up Next… Something For Everyone – Except You.” ]

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