Saturday Night Live Transcripts
Season 3: Episode 11
Robert Klein’s Monologue
Don Pardo V/O: Ladies and gentlemen, Robert Klein!
[Applause. Robert Klein walks down the stairs to home base]
Robert Klein: Thank you. Welcome to our show. This is – You know, it’s been a little bit of time since I’ve done the show last, and…it was so disorganized. I did one of the first ones and no one knew what they were doing, and you can decide for yourself tonight after this many shows. Wonderful to be back and be at home in my hometown, and not be, uh… [applause] I don’t mind side-stepping the dog doody everywhere I walk. It’s fun. “Sorry, be right with you.” Some of you know – I play a lot of college concerts, and, um, it keeps me young, it keeps me collegiate, you know. I went to a small school, a very obscure school named Alfred, and, ah… [laughter and light applause] Good for seven claps at the Saturday Night Live show. Good for about nine claps at Alfred University. Um, I went there because they had a wonderful brochure, uh, with handsome people walking on the campus carrying books [poses like a happy student walking and looking upward] with nice writing underneath it: “Walking on the campus carrying books is a favorite pastime of Alfred students.” Suckered me right in there. Plus, the Lovejoy College Guide said they would accept you if you were in the top 83-percent of your class, which was… [laughter] The brochure was nice. Always students in brochures look up toward the future. [repeats the happy student’s pose] You know, “studying for finals” [poses] “parties.” They never have ones like [puts his hands in his pockets and slouches] “God, I may be pregnant.” Always have ’em [happy student pose] like that. It was a wonderful going to school in a place so rural. It’s a very rural, farm, little community, and this was quite a few years ago. And I got off the train with a couple of suitcases like Holden Caulfield and I see [moos]. S’four years. I get to the dormitory from a bus ride, and they take us into the dormitory and [moos]. “Are-are-are these the dormitories?” “Yes, sir, just shoo ’em away, they’ll go. Cows don’t bother ya none.” And they made fun of the way I spoke: “Hey, New Yohk, tohk, mwohk…” Just what I needed at 17, 16. Of course, they spoke fine: “Hey, my father gave me a dallar to get married in Baffalo and I’m goin’ next week if you wanna…” They called me “Hey, Bab,” for three years I didn’t know who they were talkin’ to. “Hey, Byab-uh,” I didn’t know who “Byab-uh.” But I had to learn and grow. A little thing I encountered there that I really hadn’t encountered before, uh, anti-Semitism. Well, nothing–it was subtle, nothing you could put your finger on. Subtle to be sure: [yelling] “Hey Jewboy! Where you goin’, Jewboy, high holy day?” You know, just what I needed. I wanted to meet the guy next door in the dormitory. He was decorating his room with a swastika mobile. And I remember a brief phone call home to my parents: [sobbing] “Get me outta here!” Something tense with veins bursting, um. But I-I-I, one of the gutsiest things I ever did eventually was play Shylock in The Merchant of Venice in the drama club there. And those of you who remember the old play, Shylock is the old Jew in the Shakespearean play, and no one likes him. He’s not exactly a pussycat, but he certainly is justified, uh, because he’s been wronged. People really treated him badly. And there’s a wonderful scene in the fourth act, you all remember… ah, the, ah, there’ll be a test on this afterwards, by the way. It’s gonna be a multiple choice. [Picks up a cape from the nearly stool] Nah, I’m just kidding. I like an easy multiple choice, one that’s easy like, uh, “Mount Everest, Mount Whitney, Mount McKinley, a raisin.” I like that kind of… [Laughter. Robert puts the cape around his shoulders]Â I like an easy multiple choice. I’m putting on the Shakespearean cape for this scene. Let me repeat it for you: crowded audience of hostile, slightly narrow-minded people up there in that little… It’s a 17-year-old kid trying to play an old man, you put on that quick palsy shake [hands begin shaking] that a bad drama student does to look old in a hurry, you know? I was so conscienscious, though. I put the exact place in my script where I wanted the palsy shake [pretends to write] “Palsy shake!” Probably even [blows] blew the eraser thing, I went [blows] “Palsy shake.” First the usual preliminaries in most Shakespeare: “Forsooth me not. Our sweet Mercutio is dead, that gallant spirit that the clouds too soon didn’t know his fate.” They spit at the first two rows. This wonderful speech of Shakespeare’s where he equates all people–aren’t we all human beings–it’s a wonderful…listen closely. I’m sure you’ll all be repeating it often yourself. Not to mention there will be a test [Slumps down under the cape] “Have not a Jew eyes? Have not a Jew hands, organs, senses, dimensions, affections, [begins the palsy shake] passions?” Palsy shake. “…passions?” A good place for the… “Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?” And the audience said “No, Jewboy! Jew-boy! Jew-boy! Jew-boy! Get him!” [Pretends to run away and be chased by people with dogs] “He’s up by the fraternity house! Woof woof woof woof woof!” And I kept on thinking of that damn brochure. I don’t remember any picture of “Being chased by Nazis on the quad.” [Poses like someone running away. Audience applause] Tell ya what. We’ll be right back! [Applause and fade]
Submitted by: John Ravetti