The Minstrels of Newcastle


The Minstrels of Newcastle

Flutist…..Paul Shaffer
Schwanken…..Bill Murray
Jangler…..Michael Palin
Lutist…..Peter Aykroyd
Second Flutist…..James Taylor
Servant Girl…..Laraine Newman
Elenour of Gaunt…..John Belushi

[ open on exterior, Gaunt Manor ] [ SUPER: “Gaunt Manor, Middlesex, England 1267” ] [ dissolve to interior, The Minstrels of Newcastle practicing their performance for Elenour of Gaunt ] [ Schwanken’s drumbeat is coniderably off ]

Flutist: Noooo, no, no! You’re doing it all wrong! It’s just four beats! One.. two.. three.. four! It’s simple!

Schwanken: But I did that! One.. two.. [ pauses ] ..three.. four.

Flutist: No! One.. two.. three.. four! You don’t stop in the middle – you go charging right through with it!

[ Schwanken pounds the drum ]

Jangler: Look, you were playing it before, weren’t you? You’ve done it! You had it at the beginning. You started our right, then you lost it!

Flutist: Go again, then. One.. two.. three.. four..

[ the Minstrels begin again, but Schwanken is still off on his drumbeats ]

Flutist: No, no! Where’s the fourth beat?! It’s so floggin’ simple! Look! We’re in the floggin’ Gaunt Manor, floggin’ Elenour of Gaunt is gonna come through that floggin’ door any minute, listen to us play this floggin’ song, and she’s gonna decide if she’s gonna be our floggin’ patron! And you can’t play four floggin’ beats of music on the drum like you did before!

Schwanken: I can’t hear it.

Flutist: Look – [ demonstrates ] One.. two.. three.. four.

Jangler: No, no, no, no – it’s only gonna confuse him. [ to Schwanken ] Look.. don’t think about it – just play it! You had it before!

Schwanken: How would you like to come over here, sit down at this drum, and watch you guys playin’ away, without the slightest hope of knowin’ what you’re doin’?!

Flutist: You don’t have to know what we’re doing. All you have to do is play four floggin’ beats on the drum! Look! [ demonstrates ] One.. two.. three.. four!

Schwanken: That’s what I was doing before..

Flutist: But you were stopping! You weren’t charging through! Now, let’s try it – one.. two.. three.. four!

[ the Minstrels begin again, but Schwanken errs his drumbeats once more ]

Jangler: Yeah!

Flutist: Noooooo!

[ Schwanken keeps beating ]

Jangler: You had it before!

Schwanken: You’ve been sayin’ that all floggin’ day! But it’s not gonna change anything! I can’t play it!

Flutist: Just floggin’ listen for a floggin’ minute!

Schwanken: Hold it, that’s it! You’ll have to get yourself another floggin’ drummer, huh! Who needs this?! I can always go back to being a tinker’s apprenctice!

Jangler: Listen.. Schwanken.. Scwanken! You’ve been with us from the beginning, haven’t you? you’re the sex symbol of the group, right? Alright. We wouldn’t be the Minstrels of Newcastle and Berlin without floggin’ Schwanken the drummer!

Lutist: That’s right. You’re great, Schwanken, you’re great. If it weren’t for you, that crowd at the festival in Charles would never have remembered us. It was the drummin’ that did it, and it was your drummin’.

Second Flutist: That’s right!

Flutist: Yeah..

Schwanken: Well.. I was inspired.. you know. We were all drinkin’ mead, you know, and uh.. it’s just happened, you know? Not like this floggin’ strugglin’!

Flutist: But you can’t floggin’ play on floggin’ mead all the time!

Schwanken: Well, I play better when I play on floggin’ mead all the time!

Flutist: You just think you play better, but you don’t play better! It throws the whole fuckin’ timing off! [ looks away, embarrassed at his flub ]

Schwanken: Well, fly on your floggin’ timing! You’re not the greatest piper in the world, either! [ waves his drumsticks menacingly ]

Flutist: Don’t you floggin’ point that insipid drumstick at me, you loutish wastral!

Schwanken: You call me a loutish wastral, huh! Well, you’ll think twice before you do that again! [ grabs Flutist in a headlock ]

Jangler: Hey, Schwanken – [ moves Schwanken’s arm to beat drumstick on Flutist’s head ] One.. two.. three.. four.

Schwanken: Is that right?

Flutist:’s the right beat.. yeah. Alright. Let’s try it again. One.. two.. three.. four.

[ the Minstrels try it again, Schwanken still screwing up the timing of his drumbeats ] [ Servant Girl enters ]

Servant Girl: Announcing the wife of Sir Roger Widefries, Duke of Gaunt, presently in holy combat with the heathen of hordes of Turkey and Asia – her Ladyship – Elenour of Gaunt!

[ Elenour of Gaunt enters ]

Elenour of Gaunt: [ cooing ] Minstrels of Newcastle and Berlin, my neice, Gertrude of Gaunt, soon to be wed to Richard Monhornsteen, my old husband, was quite taken with your performance at the feast of Charles.

Flutist: Thank you, Your Ladyship. May I introduce an original composition, written especially for this occasion, by, yours truly, Hotiscrayn the Minstrel, appropriately entitled “Winter Solstice Martet to Her Ladyship O’Neil”. [ to Minstrels ] One.. two.. three.. four.

[ the Minstrels begin their performance for Elenour, but Schwanken botches his drumbeats once more ]

Elenour of Gaunt: Stoooooooopp! Stoooooooopp! It’s floggin’ four beats! Don’t you understand?! Get up, get up, get up!

Schwanken: [ stands ] Yes, Your Ladyship.

Elenour of Gaunt: I’ll show you! I shall be a drummer!

Flutist: One.. two.. three.. four.

[ the Minstrels begin anew, with Elenour demonstrating the correct way to do the four beats ] [ 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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David Shortell
David Shortell
3 years ago

The part of Jangler was actually played by Harry Shearer. James Taylor was the Lutist.

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