SNL Transcripts: Cicely Tyson: 02/10/79: Black Perspective


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 4: Episode 11

78k: Cicely Tyson / Talking Heads

Black Perspective

…..Garrett Morris
…..Cicely Tyson

[FADE IN on the “BLACK PERSPECTIVE” logo as African drum music from “Roots” plays in the background. FADE to Garrett Morris in the host’s chair.]

Garrett: Good evening. Welcome to “Black Perspective.” I’m your host, Garrett Morris. Tonight we’re going to be discussing role models… with our guest, Cicely Tyson, who, as a DOUBLE Emmy Award-winning actress, is herself a most positive role model for young blacks. Good evening, Cicely.

Cicely: Good evening, Garrett. Thank you. [smiles] It is true that I try through my work, I mean, through the parts that I choose, to show that, uh, the black women has [sic] been a strong, positive figure throughout American history, yes.

Garrett: Well, certainly your portrayals of, uh, Jane Pittman, and Harriet Tubman, running the Underground Railroad–and right on to THAT–uh, have demonstrated the courage, the determination of the black woman throughout our history. But, now, Hollywood wasn’t always that kind to the black woman, was it?

Cicely: [laughing] Oh, no.

Garrett: Tell me.

Cicely: It certainly was not, Garrett.

Garrett: Uh-huh.

Cicely: Uh, until just a few years ago, the only parts available to black actresses have been those of maids. You very well know that.

Garrett: Uh-huh. Cicely: For a while, I… [snickers] I mean, I grew up believing that white people didn’t know how to pick up after themselves. [laughter] Of course, now I know SEVERAL self-sufficient whites.

Garrett: [laughs] Cicely, Cicely, uh, um, I know a few too.

Cicely: [giggling] I’m sure you do!

Garrett: Yeah. Uh… Cicely, now, now, look. You tell us: why do you think that Hollywood, until recently, refused to offer positive role models to the black woman? I mean… why?

Cicely: Well… I think… Garrett, I think until recently, this was a man’s society.

Garrett: Mm-hm.

Cicely: And, um, an ethnic group or race was really judged by its men.

Garrett: Mm. Cicely: So what I think happened was that… the black woman… has just gotten a raw deal because black man has always been such a loser.

[HOLD on a closeup of Garrett glaring icily at her.]

Garrett: Say WHAT?


Cicely: I mean, you are all so shiftless, and lazy–I mean, just TOO shiftless and TOO lazy to get anywhere!

Garrett: Wait-wait-wait-wait-wait-wait a minute, uh, Cicely, I’m not sure I understand what you’re sayin’, now. Could you…

Cicely: It’s not complicated at ALL, Garrett. It is very simple.

Garrett: Well, break it down for me, will you? Cicely: I mean, it’s very simple. Black men just RUINED it for black women. I mean, you were always busy gettin’ high, pimpin’, tryin’ to prove your manhood by fightin’, and stealin’, and wheelin’, and dealin’, instead of studying like the Jewish men!


Garrett: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh… uhhhhhhhhh…

Cicely: I mean, do you think that Barbra Streisand has any difficulty getting parts?

Garrett: Well, now, listen, bitch. Uh…

Cicely: [enraged] GARRETT!! [starts to rise from chair] I mean, that’s what WRONG with you black men!!

Garrett: [holds up hands] Joke! Joke!

Cicely: I don’t talk that way!

Garrett: Cicely, you have the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen in my life!

Cicely: Oh, man, don’t give me that!!

Garrett: The avenues for the white man…

Cicely: I don’t need you to tell me about my eyes!

Garrett: …have been traditionally closed to black men, now, you know that!

Cicely: Hey, listen! You all fall back on that old story all the time! It’s old, it’s cliched–forget it! The black man just never got himself together–and that’s all there is to it! I mean, look what you all did to Detroit! That USED to be a NICE town!

[laughter and applause]

Garrett: Well, now, come to think of it, my daddy WAS a little shiftless, you know.

Cicely: Uh-HUH.

Garrett: Well, I wish I could continue with this, but we’re out of TIME. Uh, tune in next week… [Cicely begins to stand up and gets into his shot] …when we talk to former Senator Edward Brooks about his perjured testimony in his divorce proceedings, AND now stay tuned to “The World at War,” starring Richard Burton. [points finger at Cicely] Now, you know I never…

Cicely: We’re really out of time!

Garrett: Cicely, will you let me say something?

[As they continue arguing, ZOOM in on the “Black Perspective” logo on the wall above them. “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by the Temptations is heard playing. FADE to black.]

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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