SNL Transcripts: Cicely Tyson: 02/10/79: Belushi’s Sketch Cut


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 4: Episode 11

78k: Cicely Tyson / Talking Heads

Belushi’s Sketch Cut

…..Jane Curtin
…..Gilda Radner
…..John Belushi

[FADE IN on a slide showing a black-and white photo of a grinning thirtyish woman with thick blonde hair and oversized glasses. Next to her is the caption, “Emergency starring Megan Marshack.” The director can faintly be heard counting down the final seconds.]

Don Pardo: “Emergency” starring Megan Marshack will not be seen tonight so that we may bring you this special presentation.

[FADE to black over laughter and applause, then FADE IN on Gilda Radner walking out of 8H into the cast locker room. She walks over to the bench and sits down next to Jane Curtin.]

Jane Curtin: How was the meeting?

Gilda Radner: I don’t know, Jane, I think there’s gonna be trouble. Lorne just cut John’s big piece, the one where he plays Vice-Premier Deng? I mean, John’s been working on that for a real long time, it’s important to him.

Jane: Well, why was it cut?

Gilda: Well, it seems like the writers just found out that, uh, Deng went back to China. You know, they’re all so busy they didn’t get a chance to watch the news or anything and, uh… now Deng isn’t even here anymore.

Jane: Well, he left five days ago.

Gilda: I know, and they just found out.

Jane: Well, I just saw John in makeup, and he didn’t really seem that upset to me.

Gilda: I know, he looks okay, but I can see that look in his eyes–I’m just afraid he’s gonna start… throwing things again.

[While Gilda is talking, whistling can be heard off camera, and suddenly John ambles in, wearing a long black suit, his hair combed straight back, and his eyebrows looking oddly short. He takes a drag off a cigarette as Gilda exits fast. Jane nervously stands up and steps to her locker while John exhales smoke and coolly regards her.]

John Belushi: Hey, what’s the–

[Jane jerks her head at him.]

John: What’s the matter with Gilda?

Jane: Oh, nothing, she was just afraid you might hit her or something.

John: [scoffs] Well, why would I HIT her?

Jane: Oh, she thought you might be mad because the Deng piece was cut.

John: [with his cigarette in his mouth] The Deng piece? Nahhhh…

[John reaches up above the top of his locker, pulls the entire locker out of the wall, then replaces it and opens the door.]

John: [grunting] That doesn’t matter. That doesn’t matter, it’s no big deal, you know? The guy left town. [shrugs off jacket] Those things happen, y’know?

Jane: You know, maybe it’s just as well, because your Deng imitation is a lot like your Samurai only without the sword. [snickers]

John: [chuckles dryly] What are you saying? [sets jacket in locker] You’re saying that my Samurai, uh, imitation is like my Deng imitation? [closes door] They’re totally DIFFERENT. TOTALLY different. Japanese is an atonal language, it’s different. He comes out, uh–the walks are different. I’ve been working on Deng’s walk for three days now, I mean, I know how he walks. The Japanese walk, it’s a smaller walk, it’s like…

[He takes mincing little steps and speaks Samurai gibberish.]

John: You know? Uh, uh, Chinese, it’s, it’s more musical, it’s…

[He does gibberish in a nasal tone with longer, drawn-out sounds.]

John: And he takes big steps, you know, big steps. [takes longer steps] They’re TOTALLY different. It’s altogether different…

Jane: You don’t have to get upset about it, John–

John: I’m NOT angry, Jane. Nope. [adjusts collar suavely] I have nothing to be angry about. [pauses] Life is good. I’m in a hit movie… I’ve got a number one album on the charts… and I’m on the best show on, on television. SO WHAT if a part is cut now and then? That’s nothing to be upset about, really.

Jane: John, that’s quite a change for you!

John: Well… I just realized… [turns to side] Nothing is worth losing your head about, y’know? Not one thing is that important, because I’ve got a lotta eggs in the basket. If this show should end… I’d have other stuff to do… not like YOU. [laughter] What would you do, you’d go back to Boston in some improv group, you know–“Ah, give me a suggestion of a location, an occupation, an emotion”–hey, that’s great entertainment, Jane. You see… you’ve got no choice. I could have stayed in Hollywood, done another movie. I could’ve done a LOT of things! [calmly] But no. [laughter] I came back because I wanted to. And that’s the difference between us, Jane. I’m here not because I have to be… because I want to be. It’s the new me. Better get used to it.

Jane: John, that’s great. A whole new John Belushi, thanks to a little success and a lot of heroin.

[As Jane turns to leave, John wheels around and punches her locker door, where her face had been a second earlier. He slams the door shut and sprawls clumsily against it for a moment, then turns back to the camera.]

John: Live, from New York, it’s Saturday Night!

[John tilts his head wryly at the lens. FADE to opening montage.]

Submitted by: Sean

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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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