SNL Transcripts: 10/03/81: “Prose and Cons”


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 7: Episode 1

81a: (none) / Rod Stewart

“Prose and Cons”

Tyrone Greene … Eddie Murphy
… Terry McDonell
… Swifty Lazar
Bobby Glover … Joe Piscopo

[Film begins by panning over a series of hardbackbestsellers: Harold Robbins’ Goodbye Janette,Sidney Sheldon’s Rage of Angels, Judith Krantz’Princess Daisy and Judy Mazel’s The BeverlyHills Diet.]

Narrator: Robbins, Sheldon, Krantz, Mazel –all popular fiction writers.

[Montage of elite university buildings.]

Narrator: All of them sprang from theprestigious educational institutions that have beenthe backbone of American literature.

[Rolling Stone editor Terry McDonell drinks acup of coffee.]

Narrator: Where are tomorrow’s Hemingways andFaulkners coming from?

Terry McDonell: [finishes coffee, answersnarrator] Prisons.

[Montage of prison life set to the rhythm of a tin cupbeat against prison bars: a huge gate closes, views ofvarious prisoners in and out cells, etc. SUPER: PROSEAND CONS. Cut back to Terry McDonell. SUPER: TerryMcDonell / Mng. Editor, RollingStone]

Terry McDonell: I think that most of today’swriters are coming from the straining, compactedbowels of that beast we call the American penalsystem.

[Montage of prisoners: playing ball in a rec room,leaning on prison bars, exhaling cigarette smoke,working at a typewriter.]

Terry McDonell V/O: These men have lived.They’ve suffered. They’ve maimed, they’ve killed.They’ve written some stunning books.

Prisoner at Typewriter: [pleased with his work]Yeah!

[Balding celebrity super agent Irving “Swifty” Lazaraddresses the camera. SUPER: Swifty Lazar / LiteraryAgent]

Swifty Lazar: Without a doubt, anything by aprisoner is an automatic bestseller. I tell aspiringwriters, if you commit a crime, we’ll talk.

[Handel’s Alla Hornpipe from his “Water Music” suite– an aristocratic piece of classical music –accompanies a montage of prisoners: in cells and recrooms, doing push-ups, reading a book, pecking away ata typewriter, engaged in animated conversation whilereading a comic book, writing on paper with pen in onehand and cigarette in another, etc. Music ends. Abuzzer sounds. A gate opens. The warden enters andwalks through a cell block, smoking a cigar.]

Narrator: Rockland Prison. Warden CarlHoddegar.

[SUPER: Carl Hoddegar / Warden, RocklandPrison]

Warden V/O: Ah, you can talk Leavenworth, youcan talk Attica. You can even talk Folsom. But none ofthem — none of them — has the sterling literarytradition we have here at Rockland.

[Warden walks past cells with prisoners busy typing.We linger on Cell #4 where a tough-looking mustachioedinmate wearing a red bandana sits at histypewriter.]

Narrator: Bobby Glover is serving up to twentyyears for cutting up his fiancee with a linoleumknife.

Bobby Glover: [rises, addresses the camera withworking class accent] I’m into haiku. The narrowrestrictions of the form have led me to an imagisticfreedom heretofore–

[Shouting from off screen drowns out Bobby. Camerapans jerkily down the cell block to discover twoguards dragging a protesting prisoner away.]

Narrator: Our cameras are there when oneprisoner is caught in an act of plagiarism.

[An angry inmate reaches out of his cell to hit theplagiarist in the head with a book as he is draggedby.]

Angry Inmate: [to plagiarist] Why don’t you seewhat you can steal out o’ that?

[Visiting hours: watched by guards, various prisonerstalk to their well-dressed agents throughglass.]

Narrator: Here, the prisoners keep in touchwith the outside world.

Prisoner 1: No way I’m gonna accept less thaneighteen percent of the–

Prisoner 2: People who watch “Merv Griffin”don’t buy books! Any agent in the business knows that!Get me Donahue–

[Montage of gates and cell doors closing which ends ona door marked MAXIMUM SECURITY.]

Narrator: Each year, Rockland sponsors a poetryfestival.

[Camera trucks up and forward to reveal the occupantof the maximum security cell: Tyrone Green, psychoticyoung African-American male.]

Narrator: Tyrone Greene is this year’swinner.

Tyrone Greene: [angrily intense, directly intocamera]Images by Tyrone Greene …
Dark and lonely on the summer night.
Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
Watchdog barking – Do he bite?
Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
Slip in his window,
Break his neck!
Then his house
I start to wreck!
Got no reason —
What the heck!
Kill my landlord, kill my landlord.
C-I-L-L …
My land – lord

[Handel’s Hornpipe plays again as prisoners are cuffedand led away.]

Narrator: Dostoyevsky said, “The degree ofcivilization in a society can be judged by enteringits prisons.” As someone else said, “If Shakespearewere alive today, he’d be doing time.”

[Credits roll over images of prison bars:


Produced by / Norman Mailer

Directed by / Norman Mailer

Written by / Norman Mailer

Research Assistant / Jack Henry Abbott

Credits by / NORMAN MAILER]

Submitted Anonymously

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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Robert W McCauley
Robert W McCauley
3 years ago

I very distinctly remember ” Watch dog barking in the night, he look mean, do he bite?”

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