SNL Transcripts: Bill Russell: 11/03/79: The Black Shadow


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 5: Episode 3

79c: Bill Russell / Chicago

The Black Shadow

Coach Curtis Lewis…..Bill Russell
Bill…..Bill Murray
Tom…..Tom Davis
Al…..Al Franken
Peter…..Peter Aykroyd
Mrs. Crane…..Jane Curtin
Female Student…..Laraine Newman
Pregnant Student…..Gilda Radner
Mitchell…..Mitchell Laurance
Mrs. Lewis…..Garrett Morris
Other Students…..Tom Gammill, Max Pross

[ open on high school locker room after the big basketball game ]

Coach Curtis Lewis: Alright, alright, alright — you guys listen. You fought hard, you have nothing to be ashamed of.

Bill: Come on, Coach. We were better than that team. We would have WON if you’d let us play five guys at a time!

Tom: Yeah, who ever heard of a team that only played with three guys?

Coach Curtis Lewis: Okay, okay – so it didn’t work out, I thought I could confuse them.

Al: You were — you were betting on the other team to support your drug habit, weren’t you, Coach?

Coach Curtis Lewis: [ stung ] You’re just saying that… because I’m BLACK!

Bill: That has NOTHING to do with it! We’re saying it because we CARE about you!

Coach Curtis Lewis: Oh, leave me alone! [ he step away ] Yuo guys never get high, what do you know?! Go ahead — shower! Get out of here!

Al: Hey, uh — you guys think we should take off our uniforms before we shower?

Team: Nah! Nah!

[ the team exits into the showers, as Coach goes through their lockers looking for money ] [ SUPER: “The Black Shadow” over bouncy music ]

Announcer: “The Black Shadow”. Black coach, white team. He gets in trouble, they bail him out.

[ dissolve to Mrs. Crane’s office ]

Mrs. Crane: And so, I’m afraid I’m going to have to fire Coach Lewis.

Team: Awwwww…

Mrs. Crane: Look, there is NO WAY I can keep a faculty member here at John Davidson High School who has been caught distributing pornography in the cafeteria, and in the SAME WEEK assaults a student in the parking lot!

Bill: There’s no EXCUSE for Coach Lewis’ behavior, Mrs. Crane, but FIRING him won’t SOLVE anything! He’ll just get another job in another all-white suburban high school! There’s something going on inside him that’s turning him inside out! If we just had enough time, we could maybe figure out what it is and turn him around so he could face himself!

Mrs. Crane: I think I know what you mean. But even if we turned him around, I don’t see how he could face himself.

Tom: She’s right. What we want to do is turn him right-side out.

Al: No, that’s WORSE! Leave him inside out, see? At least then he can face himself!

Peter: Mrs. Crane, do you ever face yourself?

Mrs. Crane: Oh, yes. I face myself every morning.

Peter: Well, ho?

Mrs. Crane: By looking inside myself.

Tom: Yeah… but you’ve never been turned inside-out.

Mrs. Crane: [ laughing ] Oh, you’d be surprised! Well, since you put it that way, I’ll give him another chance. [ the team is thrilled ] But I’m warning you! I’m warning you — if he causes any more trouble, I’m gonna have to fire him… and make you boys wear normal clothes to class.

Team: Oh, wait a minute..!

[ dissolve to school hallway, Coach Lewis hitting on a female student ]

Female Student: Mr. Lewis, you don’t love me. Yuo jsut think you do.

Coach Curtis Lewis: No, baby! I’m CRAZY about you, baby!

Female Student: Ohhh, God. I mean, don’t you see? I’m fifteen; you’re forty! When you’re fifty, I’ll be twenty-five.

Coach Curtis Lewis: And I’ll still love you, baby!

Female Student: [ she sighs ] Oh… you should be seeing women your own age, going out and having fun!

Coach Curtis Lewis: [ he considers this ] It’s because I’m Black, isn’t it?

Female Student: [ she shakes her head ] Now, you know that just isn’t true!

[ the school bell rings ]

Female Student: I gotta go to class.

[ she exits down the hall with the other students, as a pregnant female student appears ]

Pregnant Student: Curtis Curtis! Curtis, you’re not still angry at me, are you?!

Coach Curtis Lewis: Go away! I told you: Stay out of my life! I’m too OLD for you!

Pregnant Student: Oh, yeah… but, Curtis! Please! Please! Look at me! I need to talk to you! I mean, I need some more heroin! [ Coach Lewis laughs ] I mean, now with Curtis, Jr. on the way, I —

Coach Curtis Lewis: Hey, hey — don’t!

Pregnant Student: — I got another habit to support!

Coach Curtis Lewis: Hey, listen — DON’T call him “Curtis, Jr.”, and get outta here!

Pregnant Student: [ stunned ] Okay!

Coach Curtis Lewis: I told you I’m too old for you, now who needs you? Beat it!

Pregnant Student: Okay, okay!

[ he exits down the hall, as the basketball team runs forward ]

Mitchell: Here he is!

[ the team surrounds Coach Lewis ]

Coach Curtis Lewis: Oh, boy…

Bill: Coach? You missed practice again today. Now, this is getting SERIOUS! It’s pretty hard for a team to play without supervision!

Tom: Yeah…

Coach Curtis Lewis: Hey, listen — I had to take care of my mom because… she’s sick. Yeah, that’s it! She’s sick! My mom’s sick. Now, get off my case and leave me alone! [ he turns to one of the teammates as he reaches into his pocket ] Hey, uh — you want to buy a gun? It’s got a registration on it… [ the teammate shakes his head No, so Coach Lewis exits the hall ]

Tom: Hey… I wonder if the Coach was telling the truth about his mother?

Bill: There’s only one way to find out.

Al: [ dumbly ] Smell his sneakers?

Bill: Nooo! Visit his mother.

Tom: Alright, let’s go!

[ the team rushes down the hall ] [ dissolve to Mrs. Lewis’ house, as she reads Essence Magazine ] [ the doorbell rings ]

Mrs. Lewis: I wonder who it is? [ she answers the door to the team ] Oh! What can I do for you?

Bill: Uh — we’re the Jhon Davidson High School basketball team. We’d like to talk to you about your son, Mrs. Lewis.

Mrs. Lewis: [ nervously ] Well, it’s freezing outside! Yuo guys must be cold! Come in!

Al: We like it!

Mrs. Lewis: Oh, you should. [ as they all crowd inside ] Uh — uh — what — is my son alright?

Tom: Oh, yeah, yeah. He’s alright, Ma’am.

Mrs. Lewis: Oh, thank God!

Peter: But, Mrs. Lewis, we think you should know that your son’s in trouble.

Mrs. Lewis: Oh, no, no… what’s he done now?

Tom: Well, I’m afraid he’s been stealing, uh, assaulting students, lying, committing arson, hoarding weapons in his locker, shaking down freshmen for hteir lunch money, encouraging truancy, torturing lab animals —

Mrs. Lewis: Please! Please! I don’t want to hear any more! I don’t know what gets him to do these things! I tried so HARD to teach him the right plan! [ she sinks onto her couch and cries ] Now it’s come to this! I don’t know what I’m going to do!

[ suddenly, Coach Lewis enters the house ]

Coach Curtis Lewis: [ angered ] What are you guys doing here?!

Bill: We came because we CARE!

Team: Yeah!!

Mrs. Lewis: They’ve been telling me… what you have been UP to, Son! Why is that you always hurt everyone around you?! Sometimes I’m ASHAMED to be your mother! [ she begins to cry ]

Coach Curtis Lewis: Mom… is it because I’m Black?

Mrs. Lewis: Now, you know that that has NOTHING to do with it! It’s because you’re a BAD BOY, that’s why! A bad boy… [ she cries harder ]

Coach Curtis Lewis: Really? Gosh. All my life, I’ve always thought… that everyone hated me because I was Black.

Bill: Would we be here if we hated you? [ he rubs the coach’s head ]

Tom: Yeah! We want to win that big game tomorrow night against The Visitors!

Team: Yeah!!

Coach Curtis Lewis: [ touched ] This really turns things around. I feel like a great chip… has been lifted from my shoulder.

Mrs. Lewis: Ohhhh, you’ve got it, Son! Now RUN with it!

Coach Curtis Lewis: [ excited ] Come on, you guys! We haven’t got much time! We gotta practice dribbling and passing and staying in bounds!

Bill: Come on! Let’s go!

[ the team rushes out of Mrs. Lewis’ house ]

Mrs. Lewis: My son!

Coach Curtis Lewis: MOMMA!!

[ they hug ]

Mrs. Lewis: Oh, Son…

[ dissolve to stock footage of the big game ]

Announcer: It’s Visitors, 99; Davidson, 98! It looks like it’s gonna come down to one last shot! Davidson scores the ball like a well-oiled machine! Coach Lewis really deserves a lot of credit for turning this team around! Here’s the shot! It’s tiptoeing in! He made it! [ buzz! ] The game’s over, and Davidson wins 100 to 99!

[ dissolve to locker room, as the team rushes in carrying Coach Lewis in their arms ]

Coach Curtis Lewis: Hey, hey! THIS… is the GREATEST day of my life!

[ Mrs. Crane enters ]

Mrs. Crane: Nice game, team!

Bill: Thank you, Mrs. Crane! Hey! Now what do you think of Coach Lewis?

Mrs. Crane: He’s fired.

Team: What?! For what?

Coach Curtis Lewis: But I don’t understand. I paid back all the money I stole. I flushed a POUND of heroin down the toilet and turned in my drug contact. I won the respect of my team, and led them to victory. And now you tell me… I’m fired. Why?

Mrs. Crane: Because you’re Black. [ a beat ] Just kidding!

[ everyone stands up and laughs themselves into a fake freeze-frame ] [ SUPER: “The writers of The Black Shadow wish to acknowledge their debt to scripts from the following shows:

Mr. Novak
Lucas Tanner
Room 222
The Paper Chase
Welcome Back Kotter ” ]

“He fails, not because he’s colored
but because he’stroubled and bewildered.
The team cares about him because only they
know his background.

He’s the Black Shadow.
He’s a coach in trouble.
He’s the Black Shadowwwww!”

[ SUPER: “coming up next… Bolivia Newton-John” ] [ fade ]

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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