The Joe Franklin Show

The Joe Franklin Show

Joe Franklin … Billy Crystal
Senor Cosa/Ricardo the Dummy … Christopher Guest
Dan Halloran … George Carlin
Jackie Rogers, Jr. (and Sr.) … Martin Short


[Music: an uptempo piano version of “Twelfth StreetRag.” A succession of black and white photos of oldmovie stars: W. C. Fields, Al Jolson (in blackface),Eddie Cantor, Mae West, the Marx Brothers (in “GoWest”), Spencer Tracy, Buster Keaton (in “TheNavigator”), Humphrey Bogart (in “The African Queen”),Laurel and Hardy (in “You’re Darn Tootin'”). Finally,we dissolve to the darkened, book-lined set of JoeFranklin’s talk show. The lights come up and wedissolve to legendary talk show host Joe Franklin,seated stiffly at his desk, wearing a plaidsuit.]

Joe Franklin: A gracious hello, my friends. Andwelcome to “The Joe Franklin Show,” my friends.Brought to you by Martin Paints. Beverages by Hoffman– lively carbonation. Matzohs by Streit’s — for theunleavened experience of a lifetime. Today, myfriends, a distinguished, medal-winning panel, myfriends. On the far end, Jackie Rogers, Jr. — a greatalbino performer. [cross-eyed, rubber-faced Jackie isa long-haired albino in a gold lame top and purpletights] New York City fireman extraordinaire DanHalloran, my friends. [Dan is shy and nervous workingclass guy in a neatly pressed fireman’s dress uniform]And my immediate guest — a great, great ventriloquist– Senor Cosa. [Senor Cosa sits with his dummy,Ricardo, in his lap – they wear matching mustaches andpowder blue tuxedoes. Ricardo’s eyes flick back andforth violently as Senor Cosa sits calmly.]

Ricardo the Dummy: [corrects Joe’spronunciation with a falsetto singsong]Cos-ha!

Senor Cosa: [laughs, elegant Spanish accent] Heuses the Castilian pronunciation, Joe. He uses the “h”sound.

Joe Franklin: Ah! I see. Senor Cosa–

Ricardo the Dummy: Cos-ha!

Joe Franklin: Uh, sorry, Ricardo.

Ricardo the Dummy: Te nada.

Senor Cosa: He says, “No problem,” Joe.

[Joe and Cosa share a laugh.]

Joe Franklin: New York City fireman DanHalloran, have you ever seen a ventriloquistbefore?

Dan Halloran: Uhhhh–

Joe Franklin: You have any of this kind ofstuff in the firehouse?

Dan Halloran: Oh, not that I know of.

Joe Franklin: Uh huh?

Dan Halloran: Maybe on one o’ the other shiftsor somethin’, you know. But these – these guys aregreat, aren’t they?

Joe Franklin: Yeah.

Ricardo the Dummy: Gracias.

Dan Halloran: Yeah. I don’t know which one towatch. It’s weird. It’s really weird.

Joe Franklin: It IS weird — like JackieRogers, Jr., my friends, one of the great performers.Jackie, you remind me so much of your father, the lateJackie Rogers, Sr.

Jackie Rogers, Jr.: Well, we ARErelated.

[Joe and Jackie share a laugh. Dan looks at Jackie asif the latter had just landed from Mars.]

Jackie Rogers, Jr.: But, really, though, Joe,there are many similarities between my dad and I –although I seem a little more obsessed with chasingthe long-legged ladies.

Joe Franklin: Mm hmm. Mm. Dan? Dan, have youever seen an albino performer before?

Dan Halloran: Not that I know of, Joe.

Joe Franklin: Mm hm.

Dan Halloran: Tell ya the truth, it kind o’throws me a little bit.

Joe Franklin: Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

Dan Halloran: I would have to say that thiswould be my first albino.

Joe Franklin: Mm hmm. Speaking of “firsts,”tell us about your new show, Senor Cosa.

Ricardo the Dummy: Cos-ha!

Joe Franklin: Cosa.

Senor Cosa: Joe, we are doing a very excitingshow at the–

Ricardo the Dummy: Theatre de TrentonInnes.

Senor Cosa: We have Eddie Simon III on ourshow.

Joe Franklin: Oh, he is an artiste, myfriends. Is he doing a specialty?

Senor Cosa: Yes, he is. And after that, he’sgoing to be doing his famous rice dance, ofcourse.

Joe Franklin: Mm.

Senor Cosa: And then juggling the Siamesefighting fish.

Joe Franklin: Ah!

Ricardo the Dummy: Nos Ricardo’s.

Senor Cosa: That’s right.

Joe Franklin: I don’t know about you, myfriends, but this sounds like a true, old-timevaudeville potpourri extravaganza.

[Senor Cosa picks up a glass of water and drinks fromit. Joe watches him expectantly, waiting for theventriloquist to throw his voice. Instead, Cosa merelyfinishes drinking and sets the glass down. Joe looksaround, confused, but quickly recovers.]

Joe Franklin: Dan, you are a great, greatfireman. You save the lives of people in this city.Dan, what do you think about Eddie Cantor?

Dan Halloran: Well, I don’t know. Was that theguy with the big eyes, right?

Joe Franklin: Mm hmm.

Dan Halloran: Ah, I never seen him, Joe. Neverseen him.

Joe Franklin: Did you ever see this man’sfather? Jackie Rogers, Sr.? [to Jackie] Your dad was agreat man.

Jackie Rogers, Jr.: And a remarkable teacher,Joe. I still find myself doing a certain move ortaking a certain attitude and I’ll stop and say, “Hey!I know where I caught that from!” [looks upward]Thanks, Dad! [looks up in another direction] Oh, thereyou are!

[Joe and Jackie share a laugh. Dan has watched Jackiewith mute astonishment.]

Joe Franklin: [holds up a book] He has writtena book about his father and it’s called, “Damn You,Daddy, Sir” — and this is a book about what?

Jackie Rogers, Jr.: It’s – it’s – it’s a loveletter, really, I suppose, with a dash of hatred in analmost mocha kind of swirl, if you’ll have it.

Joe Franklin: I’ll have it. I like what youlike. You like what I like. And, alike, we like. Myfriends, let’s sit back and reminisce with a recordingof his father, Jackie Rogers, Sr.

Jackie Rogers, Jr.: Oh!

Joe Franklin: Let’s drop the needle on MemoryLane and listen to this great, great recording, myfriends, of the late, late, dead Jackie Rogers, Sr. -coming – up – right – now. Listen – to – this -song.

[Joe grins happily as the record plays. It’s anupbeat, cheesy Vegas lounge lizard version of thetitle song from the Broadway musical “She Loves Me.”Joe’s guests sit quietly and listen. Senor Cosa grinsslightly as Ricardo’s eyes flick rapidly left andright. Dan squints and looks around uncomfortably.Jackie bops to the rhythm and mouths the wordsexuberantly as his father sings:]

Voice of Jackie Rogers, Sr.: [sings]
Yeah!
She loves me and to my amazement
I love it knowing that she loves me
She loves me but she doesn’t know it
Why should she when she does not show it?
Yesterday, she hates me, ha!
Now, today she likes me, bah!
And tomorrow!
Oh, tomorrow … !

Joe Franklin: [as the terrible song fades out]What a great memory, my friends. Uh, Dan, did you eversee his father perform?

Dan Halloran: Uh, not that I know of, Joe. AndI think I really would have remembered that.

Joe Franklin: I think so, too, my friends. Thisshow, my friends, is a show of shows. It is one to putin the comedy time capsule, my friends. Don’t youthink so, Senor Cosa?

Ricardo the Dummy: Cos-ha!

Joe Franklin: [consults a piece of paper] Dan,tell us about the, ehhhh, the, um, upcoming, uh,charity event here.

Dan Halloran: Uh, well, uh, Joe, the firemenare havin’ a barbecue. And, uh, tryin’ to raise moneyfor the firemen’s occupational hazards.

Joe Franklin: Such as what? Smokeinhalation?

Dan Halloran: Well, yeah, that’s one, ofcourse. And, uh, then there’s, of course, uh,ankle-hip-ilitis.

Joe Franklin: “Ankle-hip-ilitis”? What’sthat?

Dan Halloran: Well, that’s when the ankles aredriven straight up into the hips. Usually this’llhappen jumpin’ off a building. Or sometimes slidin’down the pole too fast.

Joe Franklin: Mmm.

Dan Halloran: Mostly, it’ll happen to yourheavier firemen.

Joe Franklin: It sounds terrible.

Dan Halloran: Yeah. Well, it is. And, uh– See,it makes ’em walk like this. [demonstrates stiffly]Gives ’em kind of a funny little duck-likewalk.

Joe Franklin: A duck walk! Like Joe Penner,”Wanna buy a duck?”

[Ricardo the Dummy quacks like a duck.]

Joe Franklin: Right, Senor Cosa?

Ricardo the Dummy: Cos-ha! Cos-ha!

Joe Franklin: Cos-ha. Cos-ha. Jackie Rogers,Jr., my friend, the book, “Damn You, Daddy, Sir”…

Jackie Rogers, Jr.: Yes.

Joe Franklin: … is a provocative title.

Jackie Rogers, Jr.: Yes.

Joe Franklin: Did he beat you? Was theretaunting? Uh, were there coat hangers?

Jackie Rogers, Jr.: No, but, I – I do rememberone time, Joe — and, when I think of it, I still findmyself getting pretty shaky.

Joe Franklin: Mm hm.

Jackie Rogers, Jr.: He made me sit in front ofa plateful of yams …

Joe Franklin: Mm hm.

Jackie Rogers, Jr.: … for a – a good thirty,thirty-five minutes.

[Awkward pause.]

Joe Franklin: Maybe he should have put the yamson Matzohs by Streit’s, my friends, and washed it downwith Hoffman beverages. Dan, have you ever had Matzohsby Streit’s?

Dan Halloran: Uh, not that I know of,Joe.

[“Twelfth Street Rag” pots up and continues under thefollowing:]

Joe Franklin: Jackie — the book, my friends,”Damn You, Daddy, Sir” — I’m putting this on mybestseller list in the Hall of Fame. And I wish youcould be at the Firemen’s Barbecue with Dan. [to Dan]Always a pleasure. And we top it all off with SenorCosa.

Ricardo the Dummy: Cos-ha!

Joe Franklin: So be there, my friends. Let’swave goodbye. Joe Franklin, saying good night, myfriends, good night. Bye bye.

[Joe and his guests wave to the camera as it pullsback. The lights go down and the setdarkens.]

Submitted Anonymously

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