Eric Is Sick
[ open on tight shot, door to Eric Idle’s dressing room (labelled 8H-7) ]
[ the door opens, and out steps a casually-dressed doctor in glasses and stethoscope; he sighs heavily before heading down the hall, where he runs into Gilda Radner and Jane Curtin ]
Gilda Radner: Doctor. How is he?
Doctor: It’s not good.. Not good. [ continues down the hall ]
[ cut to Lorne Michaels knee-deep in conversation with Buck Henry, as a cavalcade of the evening’s jokey non-performances – including a guy walking a llama – pass through the hall; the Doctor approaches ]
Lorne Michaels: Doctor. How is he?
Doctor: Mr. Michaels, this man has a 104 temperature, he has a cute laryngitis, and yet, even in his delerious state, he insists in going on! However, in my opinion, there is no way that Eric Idle is capable of doing a show tonight.
Buck Henry: [ being helpful ] I’ll go on.
Lorne Michaels: Doctor, he’s a pro. If he says he can do it, he can do it, uh.. it’s not gonna kill him.
Doctor: I’d say if he performs, he has a 50-50 chance of surviving the show.
Buck Henry: [ sounding needy ] I’ll go on.
Lorne Michaels: I can’t believe this..
Doctor: Uh, what I don’t understand is, Mr. Michaels, is why you didn’t call me earlier. This is a very sick man.
Buck Henry: [ pleading ] I’ll go on!
Lorne Michaels: Well, I thought it was the.. Dylan being here. You know? All week, everyone was making such a fuss about Dylan.. Eric’s an actor, I just thought that this sore throat was an attempt to get attention.
Buck Henry: [ now sounding desperate ] I’ll go on..
Doctor: Well, I’m telling you, if you put that man on stage in his present condition, he may die!
Buck Henry: [ yelling upon deaf ears ] I can go on!
Lorne Michaels: I’m afraid that’s a chance I’m gonna have to take, Doctor.
Doctor: Alright.. but you’re gonna have to take full responsibility.
Buck Henry: [ frantically ] I’ll go on!
Lorne Michaels: [ sighs ] How long will it take to get him ready?
Doctor: Well.. I could shoot him up with some Cordazon.. but I want you to know shooting a patient up with drugs goes against everything I stand for as a doctor! You’re asking me to tear up the Hippocratic Oath and throw it in the toilet! You’re asking me to abandon every principle held by the medical profession! I-I-I absolutely refuse!
Buck Henry: Lorne, the doctor is right. What you’ve got in there is a half-dead Englishman! Someone who can’t possibly get up in time to host the show! Now, I can give you the energy and the enthusiasm you need! Listen to this: “Live, from New York, it’s Saturday Night!
[ a beat, as Lorne and the Doctor stare at Buck ]
Doctor: [ shakes head with relunctance ] Well.. I’ll give him the shots.. [ returns to Idle’s dressing room ]
[ dissolve to opening montage, as the SNL Band catches up from the non-traditional opening by the third frame ]