Saturday Night Live Transcripts
Season 3: Episode 19
Richard Dreyfuss’ Monologue
[Dissolve from opening credits to Richard Dreyfuss, dressed as Hamlet and holding an Academy Award.]
Don Pardo: Ladies and gentlemen, Richard Dreyfuss!
[Richard walks down the stairs to home base as audience applauds.]
Richard Dreyfuss: Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. Feel really stupid. [Laughter] I feel like I’m gonna throw up. Ah, I suppose I should explain this. Um, see, I just wanted to come out here, you know, this part of the show to talk to you as myself. But, ah, a certain Not Ready For Prime Time Player said that people are gonna wanna see you act. After all, not every one of our hosts has won the Academy Award, which is true. And anyway, this certain Not Ready For Prime Time Player said that some people didn’t think I deserved the Oscar. Some people thought that Richard Burton deserved the Oscar, said Richard Burton was great in “Hamlet,” y’know, and, ah, said if you’re such a good actor, let’s see you do “Hamlet.” So I said “I don’t think I have to prove anything, you know, just because I won the Academy Award,” and he said “You mean you are supposedly the best actor in the world, [laughter] and you’re afraid to play Hamlet.” So I said “Hold it, hold it, hold it. I’m not the best actor in the world, but, uh, I’m not afraid to play anything, John!” [laughter] So clearly, I-I walked right into it here. And, ah, so, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I have to do this, uh. Hamlet’s soliloquy, Act 3, Scene 1, by William Shakespeare.
[The stage lights dim, with Richard remaining in a single spotlight.]
Richard Dreyfuss: To be, or not to be. That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them. [pauses]
John Belushi: [off-camera] To die, to sleep. [audience laughter]
Richard Dreyfuss: What? What did you say?
John Belushi: To die, to sleep.
Richard Dreyfuss: Why are-Why are you doing this?
John Belushi: [Stepping onto the stage] I was just giving you the line, Richard. I could see you were in trouble here.
Richard Dreyfuss: No, no, no. [Stage lights come back up] I was not in trouble.
John Belushi: Well, there was that long gap, there, you know. I figured you forgot your lines.
Richard Dreyfuss: No, it was not a gap, John.Â It was a dramatic pause, you know. It’s a way of communicating to the audience the meaning of the words and you ruined it, you blew the moment for me.
John Belushi: Well, hey, look. All I know is I saw a fellow actor in trouble, and I came out to help you, you know?
Richard Dreyfuss: Silence is not trouble, John. Silence is not trouble. Sometimes a moment filled with silence can say a lot more than a moment filled with words.
John Belushi: Okay, okay, you know. I know you don’t do TV. You know, I just thought you lost your place on the cue cards, that’s all.
Richard Dreyfuss: I don’t use cue cards, John, and when I’m doing Shakespeare, actors who do Shakespeare do not use cue cards, you know?
John Belushi: [sarcastically] Ooooo, Shakespeare! Well, What do I know, huh? I’m just a sleazy, late night TV actor, is that it?
Richard Dreyfuss: No, no, I didn’t mean that–
John Belushi: No, no, what do I know about Shakespeare, huh? Mr. Oscar, Mr. Best Actor. Now, Richard Burton, now there’s an actor. When he did Hamlet, when he did Hamlet he was great. He didn’t have to use any pauses. But it takes one drink, and Hollywood blackballs him! Huh, Mr. New Hollywood Establishment? You know? At least when George C. Scott won the Oscar, he didn’t accept it! You know? Marlon Brando sent up an Indian! Now, you could’ve sent up an Indian, but nooooo! You run up there, you “whoo-hoo-hoo, I could stay up here all night.” Maybe I’m just a struggling TV actor, right? Maybe I didn’t win the Oscar, you know? Maybe I have to work every week just to keep my family in clothes and drugs, you know? Maybe I don’t know that much about Shakespeare, you know, or about pausing or England. But I know one thing, [takes the Oscar from Richard] you didn’t deserve this Oscar. [John punches Richard in the stomach and walks offstage. Audience applauds. Stage lights dim again as Richard tries to restart his performance]
Richard Dreyfuss: To be, or… [pouting] I don’t wanna do this anymore. [Takes off Hamlet wig] We’ll be right back. [Walks out of the spotlight as audience applauds]
Submitted by: John Ravetti