SNL Transcripts: Steve Martin: 05/17/80: Reagan Dinner


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 5: Episode 19

79s: Steve Martin / 3-D, Paul & Linda McCartney

Reagan Dinner

Stephanie…..Laraine Newman
Ronald Reagan…..Harry Shearer
Niles…..Bill Murray
Ed…..Steve Martin
Nancy Reagan…..Jane Curtin
Waiter…..Brian Doyle-Murray

[ open on restaurant setting, zoom in on table of Governor Ronald Reagan and his party ]

Stephanie: Governor, what do you think of President Carter’s policy on the influx of Cuban refugees?

Ronald Reagan: Well, I’d say the answer to that is… Maybe it’s time we put President Carter on welfare.

[ the group laughs ]

Niles: Governor, that’s very glib, but if my paper is going to endorse you in the Primary, we’ll need more than just cute one-liners.

Ed: Now, Niles, be fair — the man hasn’t finished his dinner yet, and already you want a State of the Union Address!

Stephanie: Well, I think Niles sometimes underestimates the value of a good one-liner. I mean, that’s what viewers seem to remember most about our newscasts — a good kicker line! I mean, we had one the other night. I think it was, uh… It was raining this month, too, and we had… we were doing a special series on how to lose weight. And my co-anchorperson, Bob Hawkins, just ad-libbed this line: “The more weight you lose… [ thinking ] the less of you there is to sweat!” Well, I want to tell you that switchboard went CRAZY! And the crew, of course… well, they loved it!

Ronald Reagan: [ smiling ] That’s great.

Niles: Governor, I know we don’t have you very much longer…

Ronald Reagan: No, and I’m sorry about that, but you know how tightly they schedule your time once it becomes pretty obvious that… you’re gonna win. Everybody wants a little piece of you. I think next time’s supposed to be at a potato festival in Boise!

Ed: Uh, Governor, for your own reference, the next appearance is at a Lion’s Club dinner in Seattle. The Potato Festival was last week.

Ronald Reagan: Oh, yes… yes, yes, that’s right. Nancy, that was where you sat on that cottage fry, wasn’t it, Mommy?

Nancy Reagan: No, dear, that was Denver.

Ronald Reagan: Yes… well. That’s substantially what I said.

Niles: Well, Governor, what about the hostages? Now, if we don’t back down… do we bomb our way in?

Ronald Reagan: Well, sir… I kind of look at it this way: Maybe it’s time we put the Ayatollah Khomeini on welfare!

[ the group laughs ]

Stephanie: Well, Governor, that would be one welfare mother we could do without, huh?

Ronald Reagan: [ he chuckles ] I think so!

Ed: Uh, on that note, I think we’re gonna have to blow the whistle here. But please be our guest for dinner, alright? [ he grabs the bill ]

Niles: No, no… we went over that before, Ed. Our paper has a policy that we never go out on anybody’s tab.

Ed: Now, come on — even the next President’s?

Niles: Anybody’s. Let’s divvy up the bill instead. [ he takes out some cash ]

Stephanie: I’m just thinking… I wonder if our station has a policy on that? [ Niles turns away ] I guess we do.

Ronald Reagan: Well… I had the uh, veal cordon bleu, and Mommy had the salmon tips, and, uh, if we split the wine, that would put us at about thirty dollars.

Ed: Uh, sir, if I remember correctly, you had the steak, Stephanie had the veal.

Ronald Reagan: Oh… yes.

Stephanie: Oh, that’s right! The man is so convincing, you know? I forgot what I had! It’s amazing, it really — it’s a gift!

Ronald Reagan: Well, then, Ed, uh… I guess, as I recall, the steak — I have a kind of mind for these kind of trivial figures. I think it wwas $5.95, wasn’t it?

Ed: Uh, sir… just to err on the side of accuracy, the steak was $12.75.

Ronald Reagan: [ laughing ] Well, you know, if you run for President every four years, you don’t often pay for your own steak!

Niles: [ handing money over ] Well, here’s $20 — that should cover me.

Stephanie: [ handing money over ] Yeah, here’s $20 for me — I should get three back.

Ronald Reagan: [ handing money over ] Here you go, Ed – that’s for me and Mommy!

Ed: [ hands money to Stephanie ] Here’s three back. [ he looks up ] Waiter?

[ the Waiter comes over to collect the bill ]

Ronald Reagan: [ to his party ] I just want to re-emphasize, once again, how unjust it is that Vietnam veterans are NOT eligible for the G.I. Bill. Now, Mr. Carter has had FOUR years —

Waiter: Uh, excuse me for eavesdropping, but… my brother is a Vietnam vet, and, uh, the G.I. Bill put him through Med School. [ he walks off ]

Ronald Reagan: Well… maybe we ought to put the Maitre’d on welfare! [ the group is silent ] Well, I’m not gonna give you a little speech about how you should endorse me in the Primary. I think you two can make up your own minds about what’s best for the people of Oregon.

Niles: Yes, sir.

Ronald Reagan: But I can tell you one thing: That check would have been a lot smaller… if this state didn’t impose a sales tax on its people. Well… good meeting you, Niles. [ he shakes Niles’ hand ] All my best, Stephanie. [ he shakes Stephanie’s hand ]

Stephanie: Thank you.

Ronald Reagan: Come on, Mommy! We don’t want to keep those Potato Heads waiting!

Ed: [ getting up ] We’ll check back in a few days, folks. If there’s anything we can do, please give us a call, alright? Thank you. Good bye.

Ronald Reagan: Good bye.

Nancy Reagan: Bye.

Ed: Let’s go.

[ Ed leads Mr. and Mrs. Reagan out of the restaurant ]

Stephanie: Niles, Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax, do we?

Niles: No.

Stephanie: I didn’t think so. God, it’s amazing!

Niles: [ steamed ] Yes. It is.

Stephanie: I mean, the man looks TEN YEARS younger in person, don’t you think?

[ Stephanie exits the booth, as Niles gives her a furrowed look ] [ camera pans out on set, with SUPER: “Coming up next: Steosexuality” ] [ fade ]

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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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