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.” ]

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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