SNL Transcripts: Dick Cavett: 11/13/76: How Things Work


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 2: Episode 7

76g: Dick Cavett / Ry Cooder

How Things Work

…..Jane Curtin
Merle Tadburney…..Dick Cavett

[ open on title card ] [ dissolve to Jane Curtin seated on talk show set ]

Jane Curtin: Good evening, and welcome to “How Things Work”, the show designed to help people understand just how our society functions. Our guest today is Mr. Merle Tadburney, independent co-ordinator of pressure group activity. Mr. Tadburney, could you explain how pressure groups work?

Merle Tadburney: Well,uh, why don’t you tell your audience just exactly how I got on your show tonight?

Jane Curtin: Well, uhhh — we received THOUSANDS of letters from all over the country, requesting that we do a show on how things work and pressure groups, uh, and most of the letters singled you out as the foremost authority on the subject.

Merle Tadburney: That’s right, and they were all bogus letters sent out by my organization, just to get me on your show tonight.

Jane Curtin: You mean, there is no one out there who is really interested in pressure groups?

Merle Tadburney: Well, I couldn’t be sure of that. I, personally, have never met anyone who was interested in pressure groups or how they work. I can’t imagine!

Jane Curtin: Well, I certainly am impressed, and our producer fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Merle Tadburney: Well, thank you. You see, we’ve worked long and hard to develop an effective phony letter campaign that works every time, and we’re proud of it.

Jane Curtin: Well, what organizations do you represent?

Merle Tadburney: Well, I work for a lot of, uh, ethnic groups, such as the, uh — well, there’s one called the Italians for Affirmative Action. They’re upset every time s a stereotype of an Italian as a member of the Mafia is used in the media. And so we educate people by pointing out several successful Italian-Americans who have no connection with the Mafia at all — like Frank Sinatra.

Jane Curtin: Oh, I see. Are they also concerned about demeaning jokes?

Merle Tadburney: Nnnno. They have quite a good sense of humor, but there — there is one group that is rather sensitive about that sort of thing, being the brunt of ethnic jokes, you might say.

Jane Curtin: Are you referring to a certain Eastern-European group? [ she laughs ]

Merle Tadburney: Yes, that’s right. I think everyone knows that I’m referring to the, um, Serbio-Croatians. If a Serbio-Croatian joke appears on television, we make sure the networks know that millions of viewers are outraged, and most of them Serbo-Cros.

Jane Curtin: Well, for those of you who may not know what a Serbio-Croatian joke is, maybe you could possibly explain, uhh..?

Merle Tadburney: Well, that would be sort of acting across purposes, wouldn’t it? Because I would be acting against the behalf of one of my clients, you might say. But I can tell you one little joke. Uh — Why do a certain kind of people make bad druggists?

Jane Curtin: [ mirthful ] I don’t know! Why?

Merle Tadburney: Well, because, when they make up prescriptions, they keep breaking the little bottles in the typewriter!

Jane Curtin: [ laughing cheerfully ] Well, I think we’ve just about run out of time, but I want to thank you, Merle, for being on “How Things Work”.

Merle Tadburney: Well, uh, it’s nice to be here, and. when you look at your ratings, I think you’ll get a little surprise! [ he chuckles ]

Jane Curtin: [ she laughs with him ] Tune in next week, when Sen. Bob Dole explains how TV debating works. And, now, here’s this week’s film by Gary Weis.

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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