SNL Transcripts: Steve Martin: 11/04/78: Weekend Update with Jane Curtin & Bill Murray


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 4: Episode 4

78d: Steve Martin / Van Morrison

Weekend Update with Jane Curtin & Bill Murray

…..Jane Curtin
…..Bill Murray
Diana Ross…..Garrett Morris
…..John Belushi

Jane Curtin: The Surgeon General announces a new Asian flu shot. This story and more, on “Weekend Update”.

[ fade to black ] [ fade in on full Weekend Update set ]

Announcer: And now, “Weekend Update”, with the “Weekend Update” news team. Brought to you by Colonel LingusFried Chicken, the southern-fried chicken that takes a licking. Here are Bill Murray and Jane Curtin.

Jane Curtin: Good evening, I’m Jane Curtin. Here now, the news.

Our top story tonight: Pope John Paul II is still alive.

Bill Murray: Well, 200-pound president Idi Amin, of Uganda, has challenged Tanzania’s 65-year old president, Julius Nieri, to a boxing match to settle their two countries’ border dispute. Well, Amin may have started something, because P.L.O. Chief, Yassar Arafat, has challenged Israeli president Menachin Begin to another sporting contest. Arafat suggested that he and Begin settle the dispute over the West Bank by seeing who can go the longest without washing.

Now here’s an Update feature that I really get a kick out of — a little thing I like to call “My Celebrity Corner, Welcome To It.” Well, there’s a new blockbuster movie out. It’s a monster, it’s huge — it’s “The Wiz”. And I don’t care if you’re black, you’re white, or you’re purple, you’re gonna love “The Wiz” and especially its star, the girl who puts the fix in “The Wiz” — Miss Diana Ross. [ Ross appears on the monitor ] Hey! Who wants that woman with the skinny legs? Whpo wants that woman with the skinny legs? I know I do! You look beautiful tonight, Di!

Diana Ross: Thank you, Bill! I’d love to take a tumble in the hay with you, too!

Bill Murray: Well, thank you, Diana. That’s very kind. You know, if you’d told me five years ago that the part of Dorothy would be played by a mature black woman — let alone, a former Supreme — I wouldn’t have believed it!

Diana Ross: Well, me neither, Bill… but when they offered me the money — [ she laughs ] Child, I believed! I believed!

Bill Murray: Okay, a little constructive criticism, if you can take it — and the really BIG stars can, which is great. In “The Wiz”, you kept whining “I want to go home! I want to go home!” I don’t get it — why do you want to go back to Harlem? I mean — no offense, but I find Harlem DEPRESSING! Everybody’ incredibly poor… I mean, the drugs are VERY expensive, I always get ripped off every time I go there!

Diana Ross: Well, we have a saying up there, Bill: “Caveat honky.” “Let the honky beware.”

Bill Murray: Tell me — what was it like dating David Frost? I mean, is he a snob, or what? Now, you were engaged to him at one time, I know, and —

Diana Ross: Ah, Bill? You got me confused with Diahann Carroll.

Bill Murray: Gee, that’s right. Sorry. Uh — you know, I hated her series, “Julia”, didn’t you? You know, Diana, I have seen “The Wizard of Oz” so many times. I still watch it every year, and every year it still tears me up. Now, I know it isn’t in your version, but… Diana, would you do a friend a favor and sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”?

Diana Ross: Uh — I-I-I don’t know… I don’t think my producers would like that, Bill.

Bill Murray: Diana, I will get down on my knees for you. You know what I’m saying? Please. Just open those pipes and let out that bubbling brown sugar, would you, honey, just for us?

[ she laughs, then clears her throat and begins to sing “Over the Rainbow” ] [ after a few lines, Bill joins in until he moves himself to tears ]

Bill Murray: Thank you, Diana. You’re a beautiful Dorothy —

Diana Ross: Thank you, too, Bill.

Bill Murray: And I owe you one! [ he laughs condescendingly ] A touching segment this week on “Celebrity Corner”. Back to you, Jane!

[ Bill sniffles, as Jane gives him a curious look ]

Jane Curtin: Experiments at the National Drug Control Center in Atlanta, this week, showed that white mice who were given angel dust were arrested and booked for possession twice as many times as mice who were given a harmless substitute.

At a joint convention in Chicago this week, the Planned Parenthood Association and the Zero Population Growith Committee met and completely disappeared.

Bill Murray: Well, one of the big hard news stories this week is Iran, and everyone seems to hate the Shah — and with good reason, it appears. Amnesty International said he is the world’s worst human rights offender. A thounsand people have been killed there this month, and one thing about that: You cannot replace people. Ouch. Now, I have something to say about his Shahness… and I will not be silenced. [ he puts on a “STOP THE SHAH!” mask ] The Shah is a U.S. puppet! Down with The Shah! He trades Iran’s oil for guns and fighter planes! To speak against the Shah is to risk your life! The Secret Police are EVERYWHERE! They imprison and torture you! It’s worse than “Midnight Express”! And, if you don’t believe it — you are a facist knucklehead! Now, the U.S. — you get OUT of there, and I mean it, you knuckleheads! Back to you, Jane!

Jane Curtin: According to a report released this week by the Department of Health Education and Welfare, 13% of all American adults are functionally illiterate. Functional illiteracy prevents these people from holding any job which requires any kind of reading or writing, and also hinders their normal activities, such as driving or ordering in restaurants. Now, this is the subject of tonight’s commentary. The biggest problem of illiteracy is one of identification. Illiterates are ashamed, and live in fear that someone will discover their secret. The sad fact is that these people are tragic victims of our educational system, which promotes slower students to a higher grade, rather than dealing with the problem at hand. If the role of the educational system was better understood, illiteracy would not carry the stigma which prevents people from admitting that they simply cannot read. Remedial programs have shown to be effective, even with those who have a scant formal education. Other civilizations — Switzerland and the Soviet Union, in particular — have made enormous stride agaisnt this social epidemic. While the United States, as developed as we are, falls disgracefully behind. The illiteracy problem CAN be solved, but first we must admit that it exists, and then attack it squarely and forthrightly. Thank you.

[ as Jane delivers her commentary, the following SCROLL appears on-screen:


Actually, not so much a “commentary” as a plea for the round-up and elimination of functional illiterates.

After all, let’s not kid ourselves… these people are a social nuisance. They can’t read traffic signs; they can’t make change; they open our mail by mistake, and God knows they never R.S.V.P.

Even the simplest things utterly baffle them: eye charts, shoe sizes, area codes and M&M’s — to say nothing of logical positivism or Proust’s A La Recherche du Temps Perdu.

You know what we’re talking about. If you agree that something ought to be done to stamp out illiteracy, send your comments to:

c/o Weekend Update
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10020

P.S. If you’re watching this “commentary” with an illiterate friend, and he asks you what this is, don’t panic… just tell him it’s an M&M. ]

Jane Curtin: And now, here with his view on the upcoming election is “Weekend Update”‘s political analyst — John Belushi. John?

[ SUPER: “Coming Up Next… Corrective Oven Mitts” ]

John Belushi: Thank you, Jane. Thank you very much. You know, on Tuesday we all have an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often. I’m talking, of course, about our right to vote. A right that millions of Americans have fought and died for. Yet, many Americans do not exercise that right. In the last election, 35% of the electorate actually turned out. Now, some people don’t vote because they don’t know how to. It’s really very easy. Now, if you’re confused about where or when to vote… there are lots of people you can ask. For example, most towns have a League of Women Voters — you can call them. Or just call City Hall. Or just call up Information. And they’ll tell you who to call. That’s not so hard, is it? I mean, any idiot can call 4-1-1! So there’s no excuse for voting, right? I mean, you can vote when you’re 18, now!

[ John’s rage begins to build ]

I mean, I couldn’t vote when I was 18! I couldn’t even DRIVE when I was 18! I got my license when I was 16, but they took it AWAY when I was 18 because I had too many tickets! That’s when I was in Chicago. I just went back to Chicago, in 1976, and I saw my friend Steve Bushakas. I said, “Steve! Steve, who’d you vote for, Ford or Carter?” He said, “I didn’t vote. All politicians are the same.” I said, “Who do you think makes the laws, Steve?! POLITICIANS!!” He said, “It doesn’t make any difference!” I said, “It doesn’t make any difference? Possession of an ounce is a misdemeanor now! Do you know how far we’ve come? There’s still some people in prison in Texas, eating RATS because they caught with a SEED in 1965! Look — look, in EUROPE — in Europe — in Amsterdam, EVERYBODY votes there… and they smoke HASH IN THE STREETS!! So don’t tell ME it doesn’t make a DIFFERENCE!!”

[ Jane reaches out an arm to calm John down, but he shoves her off ]

Now, look — I’ve got THIS to say, and I’m gonna SAY it: Why am I up here wasting MY valuable time telling you this? To tell you the truth, I’d rather be out smoking hash in the street!! I could be out smoking hash in the street! But, nooooooooooo! I gotta be here and show you lame-os because an informed public is the only hope we have if we want to smoke hash in the street!!

Jane Curtin: John!

John Belushi: [ he fights her off ] DON’T!! They just like living in COMMUNIST countries!! I’ve been there!! I’ve been to MEXICO and CANADA!! And they JUMP at the right to vote!! Now, suppose nobody voted on Tuesday?! Then, where would we be?! The Russians would be all over us the next day! Yuo think they’dpass up on a chance like that?! NOT ON YOUR LIFE!! There’ll be some COMMIE GOON kickin’ on your door, choppin’ in down with an axe!! How’d you like to drive to work some day, and all the STREET SIGNS are written in MONGOLIAN, huh?!! Can you read Mongolian?! I CAN’T!! Not even LITERATES can read Monogolian!! Only MONGOLIANS can read Mongolian!! Have you ever smoked Mongolian hash?! HUH?! YOU DON’T EVEN GET HIGH!! WHEN YOUR HEART STOPS BEATING, AND YOU THINK YOU’RE GONNA DIE!! [ he pounds on the news desk ] I WANT HARD DRUGS!! I WANT — [ he pounds the news desk and flings himself to the floor, as the audience erupts into applause ]

Jane Curtin: That’s the news. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

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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