Crisis Game ’83


Crisis Game ’83

Ted Koppel…..Joe Piscopo
John Glenn…..Tom Smothers
Jesse Jackson…..Eddie Murphy
William F. Buckley…..Brad Hall
Carl Sagan…..Gary Kroeger

Ted Koppel: Good evening, I’m Ted Koppel. Last week ABC aired a special edition of “Nightline” called “The Crisis Game”, in which we saw how a hypothetical president and his advisors might react to a simulated nucxlear criris. The response was so overwhelming that we decided to extend the series. So, tonight we’ll see how two other potential presidents react to a similar emergency, as we present “Crisis Game ’83”.

Well, you certainly look like a newsworthy-looking bunch, and we do have a great show for you, so let’s meet our two contestants. Don Pardo?

Don Pardo: He’s a U.S. Senator, a devout Presbyterian, and the only U.S. astronaut who did not have sex with thousands of women. Please welcome John Glenn.

Ted Koppel: John, it is nice to have you with us. Do you want to tell us a little more about yourself?

John Glenn: Um.. no, I.. that’s about all there is. Oh, there was one thing.. no, that was someone else. I guess that’s it.

Ted Koppel: Thank you, John Glenn. Don, who’s next?

Don Pardo: He’s a Baptist minister, a devout political activist who enjoys getting his name in the papers. Let’s welcome Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Ted Koppel: Rev. Jackson, how are you?

Jesse Jackson: I am somebody!

Ted Koppel: No, Reverand, not who are you.. how are you.

Jesse Jackson: It’s not who you are, it’s who you will be! I can be whatever I will be! Whatever will be will be! The future is not ours to see! Que sera sera!

Ted Koppel: Well, thank you very much, Reverand. Okay, let’s get right to Crisis #1. Alright, gentlemen, here is your crisis: Marxist guerillas have been sighted in Barbados. You, as President, have responded by sending in one hundred thousand Marines without Congressional approval. Now you’re holding a press conference. John Glenn, let’s see if you can dodge the issue.

John Glenn: Well, you know.. from 100 miles up in space, Barbados doesn’t look much bigger than.. say.. Ohio.. with its millions of fully employed Americans, and its reputation for fine pancake houses.

Ted Koppel: Alright. Jesse Jackson.

Jesse Jackson: We are not interested in the Caribbean! We are interested in caring.. for human beings! Who’s got time for deployment, when there’s so much unemployment! Why should we be invading the tropics, when we should be invading the topics!

Ted Koppel: Alright, thank you. Alright, back to John Glenn now. Mr. President, has there or has there not been an invasion?

John Glenn: Well, let me say this.. I was talking with Jesse Jackson before this broadcast, and I asked him what he thought about Beirut.. and he told me Hank Aaron was a better hitter. I don’t think he is qualified.. but I was the first American to invade space.

Ted Koppel: The first American to invade space? You mean, the third American?

John Glenn: Whatever.

Ted Koppel: Alright. Uh, Jesse Jackson?

Jesse Jackson: We are not concerned with outer space! We’re concerned with inner cities! Don’t ask me about troops on the shore, ask me about food for the poor! Nuclear freeze? What about surplus cheese!

Ted Koppel: Thank you, Reverand. Okay, back to John Glenn again. Excuse me, Mr. President, I did see “The Right Stuff”, and wasn’t Alan Shephard really the first American in space?

John Glenn: Yeah, well, let’s see Alan Shephard send a hundred troops down to.. [ buzzer sounds ] Damn. I think I just blew it.

Ted Koppel: Alright, Jesse Jackson, you’re our big winner! Don, tell him what he’s won.

Don Pardo: The Illinois Primary! Illinois, the nation’s third-most popular state, which brings 46 fabulous Electoral votes! Illinois Primary courtesy of the Chicago Democratic machine.

Ted Koppel: Well, John Glenn, Senator from Ohio, thank you for being with us.

John Glenn: Do I.. still get to be senator?

Ted Koppel: I’m afraid so. Alright now, Jesse Jackson, this means you get to move on to our big bonus crisis! Let’s step right this way, please. [ they step up the stage ] Alright, sit right here, Jesse. This is the Presidential Hot Seat. Alright, Jesse, you’re about ot test the ultimate test of your hypothetical presidency. Radar has indicated that Russian missiles are heading towards the United States. Now, you have to decide whether or not to push this button, which will launch U.S. missiles.

Jesse Jackson: It sounds pretty simple!

Ted Koppel: Well, we’re gonna make it a little tougher on you, because aiding you in your decision will be Carl Sagan and William F. Buckley. Alright, Mr. President, the missiles have been launched, we are at alert, Condition Green. Go!

William F. Buckley: Mr. President! If I may interrupt you for a moment, and I daresay this bears directly on the issue of, not pertaining to, the point of which, in fact I may have just made.

Jesse Jackson: Yes, but..

Carl Sagan: Imagine, if you will, two men standing knee-deep in gasoline, each has billions and billions of matches. A cleaning woman enters the room with a lighted cigarette, and plugs in the defective toaster-oven. At this point..

Jesse Jackson: Yes, but..

Ted Koppel: Condition Yellow, Mr. President.

William F. Buckley: Mr. President, if we may ignore Mr. Sagan’s gas problem for a moment, I would hasten to point out that trigger-breaking is semi-quon-non of a..

Jesse Jackson: But, wait.. let’s..

Carl Sagan: To clarify, Mr. President, imagine if you will, two men standing knee-deep in a seafood restaurant, with butter. Each holds billions and billions of lobsters. A fight then breaks out over who will pick up the tab, and suddenly a waiter enters with a lighted cigarette..

Jesse Jackson: Will you both shut up and let me talk for a minute, please! [ presses button, game ends ]

Ted Koppel: Bad luck, Jesse Jackson! You made the wrong decision, Jesse. That nuclear alert wasn’t real, it was just some computer nut in California playing with his Wang computer.

Jesse Jackson: [ near tears ] Those guys just kept talking, man..

Ted Koppel: Well, Don Pardo, tell him what he’s just done.

Don Pardo: You’ve destroyed civilization as we know it. 7,000 years of human endevour down the drain, and you’re repsonsible!

Ted Koppel: Well, Jesse, you still get the Illinois Primary, so congratulations, nice playing with you. Thank you very much. Do join us next week when we will have Tip O’Neill and publisher Larry Flynt, and we will play “The Crisis Game”. Good night!

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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