SNL Transcripts: Eric Idle: 04/23/77: The Nixon Interviews


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 2: Episode 20

76t: Eric Idle / Alan Price, Neil Innes

The Nixon Interviews

David Frost…..Eric Idle
Richard Nixon…..Dan Aykroyd
Julie Nixon…..Gilda Radner
Pat Nixon…..Jane Curtin

[ open on talk show set, as David Frost rushes onto the stage ]

David Frost: Hello! Hello, good evening, and welcome — a joyous welcome! Thank you, super, bless you, wonderful, terrific, greatmarvelous, splendid, mmm-hmm, you’re welcome, have a nice day, thank you, god evening, and welcome! Tonight is indeed a tremendous and most unusual occasion for American television: I’M back on it! And that in itself is most welcome! — hello, good evening, thank you, call again, super to see you, mmm-hmm, you’re welcome, have a nice day, good evening! Tonight, my guest is a former President of your country, now completely pardoned by his former Vice-President for any crimes he might have committed while in office. I shal be talking to him tonight for twenty hours — completely uncensored, except for the bits we’ll cut out! Super. So let’s get right on with tonight’s guest — a man who went from a little dog called Checkers… to a little check called Plumbers! [ laughs dementedly ] Terrific. Will you welcome, please, former President — Mr. Richard Milhous Nixon!

[ Nixon appears at the top of the set, smiling and waving as he makes he makes his way down towards Frost and sits ]

David Frost: Super, good evening, super, most welcome, wonderful!

Richard Nixon: Good evening, David.

David Frost: Super. So glad you could make it, President — ex-President.

Richard Nixon: Well, it’s really nice to be here, Johnny.

David Frost: Super, terrific. May I, uh — may I perhaps begin these twenty hours of talks between you and me, first, by asking about your childhood. Do you have any, um, particularly strong childhood memories?

Richard Nixon: Well… [ he chuckles ] Of course, I — I do have some childhood memories that come back to me now and again. I remember, uh, one particular morning in April of 1921. I — I remember coming down to the kitchen, where my mother was preparing the meal that we called “breakfast”. Now, she — she’d pour dry cereal into a bowl… and then we’d pour milk on top of the cereal, and — and sometimes sugar, depending upon whether we… wanted it sweet or not. And, uh — then we’d stir the whole thing around in the bowl with our spoo-oo-oons.

[ Frost is dumbfounded by this unremarkably ordinary childhood recollection ]

David Frost: Super. Most — most — most interesting. Let’s get on with the second question now, shall we? [ he flips the pages on his clipboard ] Uh —

Richard Nixon: I can — I can remember… very clearly… uh, my father coming down in the morning, and he used to shave — he’d shave his face. Uh — now, he would shave in the bathroom, uh — this was where we went to the bathroom, of course — and, uh, he’d — he’d run hot water and cold water in the sink. Now, he would shave with hot water, and you could always tell because there were two spigots, on either side of the faucet, and the right one, you turned it on, cold water would come out. And, uh, then you’d turn the left one, and hot water would come out. Uh — and I can remember him adjusting the left one to get more hot water, because you could use the two spigots… uh… to, uh, manipulate the temperature —

David Frost: Super. Now, uh, can I move onto, now, a, uh, second question, if I may, please —

Richard Nixon: Uh — and, now, the thing was, you could run your hand under the water to see just exactly how hot or cold it was. Now, I remember my father had a little round, rubber disc —

David Frost: [ to the viewing audience ] Well, while the ex-president is talking, and so on, let me just remind you there’ll be another nineteen hours of these talks — which will be really fascinating — in which the former president will be talking at great length —

Richard Nixon: Uh — now, this was a small disc —

David Frost: Yes.

Richard Nixon: He called it a “drain plug”, and it would go right in the little hole there, in the bottom of the sink.

David Frost: Super. Yes.

Richard Nixon: Uh — now, another thing I remember, uh —

David Frost: [ to the viewing audience ] Well, it seems there’s still plenty of time before the first commercial break —

Richard Nixon: Now, these were tiles that were —

[ suddenly, Julie Nixon runs onto the set ]

Julie Nixon: Stop the tape! Stop the tape!

David Frost: Oh! Julie! Will you welcome, please — a big ol’ welcome — Julie Nixon!

Julie Nixon: Um — could you — could you please, um — could you please stop the tape? Daddy’s coming off badly.

Richard Nixon: [ surprised to see his daughter ] Hello!

David Frost: No, it’s — it’s wonderful. It’s most interesting.

Julie Nixon: No! Just stop the tape — we have a contract!

David Frost: Okay. Fine, fine. Yes, alright, we’ll, we’ll — we’ll stop the tape. Davey? Will you stop the tape? [ he winks into the camera ] Stop the tape, please? [ he nods ] Y-yes! The tape’s stopped, yes!

Julie Nixon: Is it, for sure?

David Frost: Oh, yes!

Julie Nixon: A-and you won’t have this part in, where I came in, or anything?

David Frost: Oh, no problem! This will ALL be cut out! You have my WORD as a television entertainer, that THIS bit will NOT appear on the television screens of America.

Julie Nixon: Alright. Thank you.

David Frost: Not at all.

Julie Nixon: Thank you very much.

David Frost: You’re welcome, call again, thank you, mmm-hmm, have a nice day!

Julie Nixon: Okay, go on! [ she kisses Nixon goodbye ]

Richard Nixon: Okay, Princess!

David Frost: Well, uh — former President, whilst we — whilst we cut the tape — we’re not ontelevision or recording, or anything — just between you and me — you know, just for personal interest, as we have to tlak for twenty hours together — did you, in fact, uh, were you, in fact, behind Watergate?

Richard Nixon: Well… Johnny. To be… perfectly honest and frank with you — and I’m most grateful for the money — uh — just between you and me — man to man, as it were — yes, I can tell you that, as far as Watergate is concerned, I — I was completely —

[ a loud beep suddenly covers the audio track as Nixon reveals these details to Frost, who is at first astounded by the information he’s hearing, and then quickly overjoyed ] [ SUPER: “Temporary Audio Problem” ] [ the screen goes black, then pulls away to be revealed as a card being held by Frost offstage ]

David Frost: Uh — hello. Uh, unfortunately, there seems to have been some kind of, uh, mysterious intereference with the tape there. We seem to have got an eighteen-minute gap — [ he chuckles ] Super! So what we’re going to do right now is put on an excerpt from one of the later shows of the twenty hours of historic talks, and this one is really most exciting. So let’s just put that on for you right away! [ he chuckles nervously ] Super.

[ Frost holds up the “Temporary Audio Problem” card again, as the screen fades to black ] [ fade up on clapboard: “Frost-Nixon Show #47, Take 1” ] [ Frost is asleep, as Nixon continues to ramble ]

Richard Nixon: Eh — now… I can remember one morning of 1921, in particulqr, and because my mtoher would cook breakfast — now, this consisted of a bowl of cereal… and, uh, some sugar and milk, depending on whether we wanted the cereal moist or not…

[ Frost wakes up with a start, as Nixon continues to ramble ]

Richard Nixon: Well, you’re joining us in the eighteeneth hour of these exciting talks… between myself, David Frost, and the former Richard Milhous Nixon. So far, we’ve covered most of breakfast, April 1921… and we’ll be hoping to cover the REST of Mr. Nixon’s career in the next few minutes. Before we do, Pat here has got something to show.

[ camera pulls out to reveal Pat Nixon asleep in her chair ]

David Frost: Pat? Pat, wake up!

Pat Nixon: Stop it, Phoebe…

David Frost: Pat, it’s me, uh… me, David Frost.

Pat Nixon: Oh, yes! David! Well, I have something interesting to show you, which I think your viewers will like to see.

David Frost: Super! Super! What is it?

[ she pulls up a stuffed dog ]

Pat Nixon: Checkers!

David Frost: Checkers? Super. How wonderful.

Pat Nixon: Yes. When he passed on, Richard had him stuffed. And when Richard passes on, he’s asked me if I would have him, uh —

David Frost: Stuffed??

Pat Nixon: No. Buried next to Checkers.

David Frost: Ah! Super. Yes. And this is actually Checkers?

Pat Nixon: Yes, he’s a good dog.

[ Nixon stands up and approaches the camera ]

Richard Nixon: — a little dog named Checkers. Now, this is ALL we received from Texas! A little cocker spaniel. Now, our young one — Tricia — called it Checkers. The $18,000, I don’t think the senator should spend the money —

[ Frost rises and follows behind Nixon ]

Richard Nixon: Personally —

David Frost: Mr. Nixon?

[ Nixon turns to face Frost ]

Richard Nixon: Get down on your knees and PRAY, Henry!! [ he pulls Frost down to his knees, then kneels beside him ] You — you lead the prayer!!

David Frost: Me?! Uh — oh — oh, Mighty — looks, why don’t we just have a little break right here, Richard? We’ll talk about this, we can edit this —

Richard Nixon: Henry —

David Frost: Davey, this is an edit. Just do the wide, and we can come back with the credits, alright? We’ll edit this later.

[ Nixon crawls on his knees toward Pat, whistling for Checkers ]

David Frost: Uh, you’ve been watching #47 of the Frost-Nixon interview. We’ll be back next week with another hour-and-a-half, which we hope will be dealing with events after lunch, April 1921. Until then, it’s bye from us!

[ credits roll as Nixon and Frost roll about the stage ] [ fade ]

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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