Demi Moore: 11/12/88: The World of Dr. Know-It-All


Dr. Know-It-All …..Phil Hartman 

Tommy……………..  Dana Carvey 

Becky……………….. Demi Moore 

1st Announcer……. Don Pardo 

2nd Announcer….. Kevin Nealon 

[THEME MUSIC: Begins while the screen is still black, with a short downward harp glissando. As the picture comes on the screen, we hear a medium-tempo theme in a major key; its jaunty, classically-influenced melody is played by a deep, fussy-sounding woodwind instrument (a bassoon?)] [SUPER: “THE WORLD OF Dr. KNOW-IT-ALL” – in all caps, except for the “r” in “Dr.”] (NOTE: The “A” in “Know-It-All” is designed in such a way that, as we follow the left diagonal line downward, it turns into a thunderbolt that extends below the natural “bottom” of the letter.)

1st Announcer (voiceover): It’s time for . . . Dr. Know-It-All! Today: “Air Pressure All Around Us.”

[SUPER: “Today’s Topic” on top; “AIR PRESSURE ALL AROUND US” below]

(Dr. Know-It-All, a middle-aged man wearing horn-rimmed glasses and suspenders, is in what appears to be a kitchen, adjusting a vacuum cleaner that sits on a counter in the middle of the room.  Tommy and Becky enter the picture from behind him. NOTE: Throughout the sketch, Dr. Know-It-All tends to speak very melodically, as do Tommy and Becky. Dr. Know-It-All also pauses frequently, uses frequent hand gestures, and gives a not-entirely-convincing surface impression of endless patience and goodwill.)

Tommy: Hi, Dr. Know-It-All. Can we come in?

Dr. Know-It-All:  Why, sure, Tommy. Hi, Becky.

Becky: Hi! Gosh, Dr. Know-It-All, why do you have your vacuum cleaner on the counter?

Dr. Know-It-All:  Well, I’m conducting a little experiment with air pressure. Becky, why don’t you get Charlie the gerbil out of his cage, and –

Becky: OK.

Dr. Know-It-All:  – put him in the box here?

Becky: Come on, little fella. Whoo! (continues “whoo”ing as she struggles to keep her grip on Charlie)

Dr. Know-It-All: He’s a frisky little – You got him?

Becky: Yeh. Whoo! (Puts Charlie in the box)

Dr. Know-It-All: Oo-kay, excellent. Okay, Tommy, you can, uh, turn on the vacuum cleaner now.

Tommy: OK, here it goes.

Dr. Know-It-All:  OK. (As he picks up Charlie with the vacuum cleaner tube, we hear the sound of a squealing gerbil. Dr. K.’s lips form a thin smile. With a dainty push of his left index finger, he sends Charlie down the tube. The vacuum swallows up Charlie in one quick gulp, and the squealing stops. As Dr. K. turns quickly to his left, for a brief moment his smile is replaced by a stunned, open-mouthed look. The smile quickly reappears, then just as quickly disappears.)

Dr. Know-It-All (buoyantly): Okay, Tommy, if you’d snap it off . . . (Tommy turns off vacuum cleaner)

Tommy: OK.

Dr. Know-It-All: All right. Becky, maybe you can tell me what happened.

Becky: Well, I-I think, um, Charlie is inside the vacuum cleaner.

Dr. Know-It-All: That’s – right! (Raising left index finger, voice lowering dramatically in pitch): Why? And remember, we’re dealing – with air pressure.

Tommy: Um . . . well . . . um . . .

Dr. Know-It-All: Now: Is the air pressure inside the vacuum cleaner greater – or less – than the air pressure outside the vacuum? Becky?

Becky: Um, i-it’s . . . greater.

Dr. Know-It-All (raising his eyebrows a little; voice still pleasant): Tommy? (His voice on the last syllable sounds unexpectedly pinched and high-pitched, due perhaps to his feelings about Becky’s wrong answer.)

Tommy: Less.

Dr. Know-It-All: So, Becky, you say the air pressure is . . .

Becky: Greater.

Dr. Know-It-All: And Tommy, you say the air pressure is . . .

Tommy: Less.

Dr. Know-It-All: Now think about this, Becky. The gerbil moved . . . into the vacuum cleaner (touches opening of vacuum tube with his left index finger), which means the air pressure inside is . . .

Becky: Ohhhh . . . less! (smiles)

Dr. Know-It-All:  Less. That’s correct. So Tommy, that means you are . . .

Tommy: Smart.

Dr. Know-It-All (smiling, shaking head): No, no (holds up left index finger). You’re . . . right! And that means Becky is . . .

Tommy:  Wrong.

Dr. Know-It-All: That’s right. Now, why is Becky wrong?

Tommy: Because she didn’t understand that.

Dr. Know-It-All: Noooo . . .

Tommy: Because she didn’t know about –

Dr. Know-It-All: No. Becky is wrong because she’s a . . . girl!

Tommy: Ohhh. (Becky holds her head down, her feelings clearly hurt.)

Dr. Know-It-All: Yes! Becky is wrong because she is a girl, and this is . . . science!

Tommy: Ohh.

Dr. Know-It-All: Yes!. Okay!

Tommy: OK.

Dr. Know-It-All (enthusiastically): Now let’s step over to the aquarium.

Becky: Gosh, Dr. Know-It-All, where did you get all those fish?

Dr. Know-It-All:  Well, I got them at the market. Yes I did. Now Tommy, if you’ll take the net, I bet you’ll be able to get one of those fish out, and we’ll do another little experiment with . . . (turns to Becky): What? Air pressure.

Becky: OK!

Tommy: I think I got one.

Becky: Oh!

Dr. Know-It-All:  Okay, good.

Becky (watching fish struggle): Whoo!

Dr. Know-It-All:  All right, move him over here to the counter.

Becky: Oh, wow. Wow, look at him go!

(The group chatters excitedly as Dr. Know-It-All pulls the fish out of the net onto the counter, and the fish flops around for dear life.)

Tommy: Why does he flop around like that?

Dr. Know-It-All:  Well, maybe you can tell me!

Becky: Uh – because the pressure outside the tank is lower than inside the tank?

Dr. Know-It-All:  Nooo . . . he’s flopping around because he can’t . . .

Tommy: Swim?

Dr. Know-It-All:  Nooo . . .

Becky:  He can’t stand up?

Dr. Know-It-All:  No, he can’t brrrr . . .

Tommy and Becky (smiling): Breathe!

Dr. Know-It-All: That’s right, he can’t breathe!

Tommy: Look, he stopped!

Becky: Oh, he looks dead.

Dr. Know-It-All (a little thinly): Yes, he does! Why? Why does he look dead? Because we talked too . . .

Tommy: Loud?

Dr. Know-It-All:  No, we talked too –

Becky: We talked to God?

Dr. Know-It-All (pauses, then smiles for just an instant, then lets out-breath): No, we talked too . . . loong.

Tommy and Becky (talking at once): Oh. Oh yeah. (etc.)

Dr. Know-It-All:  We talked too long. (bringing fingertips of both hands together): Now what have we learned about air pressure so far? (With his left index finger, he counts off the day’s lessons on the fingers on his right hand, pausing after each lesson on the list.) Well, we’ve learned that the pressure inside the vacuum is less (touches index finger) . . . Tommy’s right (touches middle finger) . . . Becky’s wrong (ring finger) . . . she’s a girl (pinky finger) . . . this is science (touches thumb) . . . the fish is dead (points to fish) . . . and we talked too – long (touches pinky finger again and smiles thinly). We talked too long.

(Tommy and Becky smile.)

Becky: Gosh, Dr. Know-It-All, I never know what I’m gonna learn when I come here!

Dr. Know-It-All: (chuckles) Well Becky, we’re not finished! Come on over here. Do you know what this is?

Becky: Well, it’s the planets of our solar system.

Dr. Know-It-All: That’s right! Tommy and I made these last week, by putting papier-mache over balloons!

Tommy: Hey, Dr. Know-It-All, we were using air pressure!

Dr. Know-It-All: (chuckles) Well, yes, we were, inside the balloons! Very good. Now, I made the four outer planets, and Tommy made these planets. Now, look at my planets. They look . . . good. But Tommy’s planets look . . .

Tommy: Small?

Dr. Know-It-All: Nooo – bad. The planets you made look . . . bad. Right, Becky?

Becky: Yes. (smiles) (Tommy looks downcast, his mouth slightly open)

Dr. Know-It-All: Yes they do. That’s because Tommy’s a boy and I’m a . . .

Becky: Man. (smiles)

Dr. Know-It-All: That’s right, Becky. I’m a man, so my work is much better. Now, let’s come over here. Here’s some balloons for you.  Becky, I want you to fill these up with water (theme music starts), and Tommy, you take this blindfold and stand over there . . . (starts to alternate between facing toward his students and facing the camera) Oh, I hear our theme, and that means we’re just about out of time. We’ll have to save this experiment for another day, okay?

Becky: OK.

Tommy: OK.

Dr. Know-It-All (to camera): Okay. Well, bye for now!

Becky (to camera): Buh-bye!

Tommy (to camera): Bye-bye.

[SUPER: “THE WORLD OF Dr. KNOW-IT-ALL” (same graphic as before]

2nd Announcer (voiceover): Dr. Know-It-All is played by Roy Huber.

Contributed by Matt Vandermast

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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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