SNL Transcripts: John Lithgow: 12/07/85: Master Thespian


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 11: Episode 4

85d: John Lithgow / Mr. Mister

Master Thespian

Master Thespian…..Jon Lovitz
Baudelaire…..John Lithgow

Announcer: The early part of the 20th Century produced some of the greatest actors ever to grace the stage – Barrymore, Gelgud, Richardson, Olivier. But.. there was one actor who surpassed them all in both brilliance and volume. Born Jonathon Yankonvichi, he was known to all simply by the name that described him best: Master Thespian.

[ pan across to Master Thespian writing in his diary ]

Master Thespian: “Dear Diary: I am awaiting the arrival of my mentor and acting teacher, the great Baudelaire. Today’s lesson is costumes. Knowing Baudelaire, he will come over and try to fool me in some silly disguise. But today, it will be I who fool him. I hope. Until tomorrow, Master Thespian.” [ a knock is heard at the door ] Yes?

Voice at Door: [ mimicks trumpet fanfare ] Make way for His Royal Highness, King George V!

Master Thespian: One moment! [ jumps up ] Thank God! The King to see me! [ before the door ] Enter all!

Baudelaire: [ enters, disguised as King ] Thank you! I am looking for the greatest actor of all time! The theatrical community of all London told me I might be able to find him.. here!

Master Thespian: Yes, your Majesty! The man you speak of stands before you!

Baudelaire: Ah-ha! Then you must be the great.. Baudelaire!

Master Thespian: [ insulted ] Don’t be silly! I’m Master Thespian. Baudelaire is merely a teacher.

Baudelaire: Merely a teacher?

Master Thespian: Yes! And barely one at that.

Baudelaire: Oh, really? Why don’t you try saying that.. [ removes crown ] his face!

Master Thespian: [ fooled ] Oh! Baudelaire! You fooled me!

Baudelaire: Acting!

Master Thespian: Oh, please, forgive me..

Baudelaire: No!

Master Thespian: But I have questions..

Baudelaire: No!

Master Thespian: Oh, please.. I beg you.. [ kneels ] ..on bended knee, from the very depths of my heart.

Baudelaire: Oh, get up. I have already forgiven you, I was merely.. acting!

Master Thespian: [ fuming ] Again?! You fooled me again!

Baudelaire: Thank you! Now, then.. what is the Question du Jour?

Master Thespian: Oh, Baudelaire.. I’ve been offered to play the most difficult part of my entire career. I am to play a man trapped in the body of a woman, playing the part of a five-year-old dog who thinks he’s a cat! My question is: what should I do?

Baudelaire: [ thinking tentatively ] Costume!

Master Thespian: Genius!

Baudelaire: Thank you! Now, then.. have you prepared the fencing scene from Hamlet?

Master Thespian: Yes! [ grabs fencing foils ] Here is your foil.

Baudelaire: Thank you! Very well. You shall play the part of Hamlet! And I shall play the great.. Baudelaire! By the way, you were brilliant in last week’s “Ice Man” as Hickey.

Master Thespian: Oh, thank you. And, may I add, you were equally brilliant as Baudelaire!

Baudelaire: Thank you! Now!

[ they begin to fence furiously. Baudelaire staggers backwards as Master Thespian swings his foil near him ]

Baudelaire: [ covering his chest with his hand ] Oh, Master.. M-master, you’ve cut me.. look how the blood gushes from my very veins!

Master Thespian: Oh, please forgive me, it was an accident..

Baudelaire: Don’t be silly! [ opens his jacket to reveal no cut ] Acting!

Master Thespian: Oh, you fooled me!

Baudelaire: Of course I fooled you! I am the greatest actor of all time! I am.. Baudelaire!

Master Thespian: [ thrusts foil ] On guard!

[ they begin fencing again. Suddunly, Master Thespian drops his foil and falls gracefully into Baudelaire’s arms ]

Baudelaire: Master? Are you hurt?

Master Thespian: Oh, Baudleaire, I’m afraid we’ve played this acting thing too far. You’ve made worm’s meat of me! Adieu.. adieu.. remember me. Look! [ points ] The face of death is near! And so.. I flail! [ his legs kick before his body falls limp ]

Baudelaire: Master! [ cries ] I have killed my protege! How.. how.. how.. how will you ever forgive me..?

Master Thespian: [ stands ] Very good! I was merely acting!

Baudelaire: So was I! I’ve fooled you again!

Master Thespian: No! It is I who fooled you! For I am dead.. and merely acting alive!

Baudelaire: Genius!

[ 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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