TV Funhouse


TV Funhouse

[ note: this cartoon appeared in the original March broadcast of the SNL episode, but was cut from the summer rerun. SNL producer Lorne Michaels told the New York Daily News he “didn’t think it worked comedically.” In an interview, Harry Shearer said “The truth is that Lorne wanted to continue working at 30 Rock.” ] [ the song and cartoon are in the style of PBS’ “Schoolhouse Rock” cartoons. Rocky, in “SR” suit and cape, turns the stone “School Room Rock” title into “Conspiracy Theory Rock.” As a group of children enters the “schoolroom” Rocky puts his fingers to his lips as if to say “Shh!” ]

“Schoolroom Rocky’s back on the block
With Conspiracy Theory Rock

It’s a media-opoly. A media-opoly.”

[ logos of the five major corporations–GE, Westinghouse, Disney, Fox and Time-Warner, each with eight octopus legs–sit at a banquet table with the logos of media corporations–ABC, CNN, TV Guide, the NBC peacock, the CBS eye–served up as food on plates ]

“The whole media’s controlled by a few corporations.
Thanks to deregulation by the FCC.”

[ the Westinghouse logo eats the CBS eye, GE gobbles up the NBC peacock, Fox eats TV Guide, Mickey Mouse eats ABC, under which is the title “DEREGULATION!” A bearded hippy sees this on TV and asks: ]

Hippy: You mean Disney, Fox, Westinghouse and good ol’ GE?

Singers: “They own networks from CBS to CNBC.”

[ the logos’ tentacles are shown holding various conquests: Military Jet Engines, nuclear reactors, Radioactive waste, Cable TV, Music, Surveillance Radar, Bass Petroleum ]

Hippy [ sings ]“They can use them to say whatever they please
And put down the opinions of anyone who disagrees.”

[ Peter Jennings on World News Tonight wears Mickey Mouse ears. Dan Rather on CBS reports in front of a SUPER: “WASHER-DRYERS IMPROVE SEX”. On the Today Show, Matt Lauer covers a protest sign at the window that reads “GE POISONS ENVIRONMENT” so that it reads “GE LOVES YOU” ]

Singers: “Or stuff about PCBs”

Hippy: What are PCBs?

Singers: “They come from electric power plants built by Westinghouse and GE.”

[ a nuclear factory with the Westinghouse and GE logos interchanging produces smoke with the letters PCB. ]

Hippy: [ sings ]“They can give you lots of cancer
That can hurt your body”

[ inside a factory worker breathes in the letters, sneezes and his nose tears off. ]

“But on network TV
You’ll rarely hear anything bad about the nuclear industry”

[ the Logo Octopi are shown holding media logos, nuclear factories, B-1 bombers, power plants, etc. The NBC peacock kisses one of the nuclear factories. The CBS eye winks at Westinghouse ]

Hippy: Like when Westinghouse was sued for fraud?

[ newspaper headline reads “NEVADA POWER AND LIGHT SUES WESTINGHOUSE.” The CBS eye jumps in and gawks at the headline. ]

Kids: “Which time?”

[ A second paper enters with the headline: “WESTINGHOUSE IN PCB SUIT”. Each headline throughout is followed by a footnote number ]

Hippy: [ sings ] “When GE made defective bolts it was an unreported crime”

[ a newspaper headline reads “GE IN BOLT SCANDAL” The NBC peacock comes in and angrily soils the headline ]

Hippy: [ sings ]“Or when it was boycotted for operating nuclear bomb plants
just to squeeze a dime…”

[ another paper pushes the bird aside and reads “1% OF CONSUMERS NOW BOYCOTTING GE”. A footnote after the headline reads at the bottom of the page: “Chicago Tribune 5-14-91” ]

Singers: “That’s a footnote, by the way.”

Hippy: [ sings ]”A footnote protects you from folks who doubt what you say.”

[ the NBC peacock sneers at the footnote ]

Hippy: [ banging the side of his head, sings ] “Now maybe the voices in my head will go away.”

Singers: “But the bigshots don’t care.
They’re all sitting pretty thanks to corporate welfare.”

[ the Logo Octopi sit in rocking chairs holding their network logos. Title reads “CORPORATE WELFARE” ]

Hippy: What’s that now?

Singers: “They get billions in subsidies from the government.It’s supposed to create jobs but that’s not how it’s spent.”

[ logos jump for joy among falling money. GE eats one of the bills.Westinghouse stands before rows of employees. It pushes down the top row of people who *ka-ching!* like a cash register and are replaced with the word DOWNSIZE ]

Singers: “They use PACs and soft money to support Congressmen
Who will vote for weapons programs again and again…”

[ GE has its arm around a gray-haired politician playing golf, then pulls down a placard, showing his face through it, reading FOR CONGRESS. The politician, now congressman, shakes hands with and hugs the famous SHR “Only a Bill” Bill which reads “Bomber Fund” ]

Singers: “And let them dump toxic waste where the young ones play.”

[ Westinghouse leans on a barrel of toxic waste that leaks near a playground of children ]

Hippy: [ sings ] “I hear GE made the bullets that shot JFK.”

[ GE hands Lee Harvey Oswald a handful of bullets then shakes his hand. Paper reads GE BEHIND ASSASSINATION with large “5” footnote accentuated. Footnote reads “MY UNCLE LARRY” ]

“You contribute to this chain
Every time you buy a product
Sponsored on this show.”

[ GE huddles with Congressman, Nuclear Factory, Oswald, and holds up a television which reads “BUY LOTSA BEER.” A person throws down a bill and grabs the beer bottle from the TV. The TV opens up and a B-1 Bomber comes out ]

Hippy: [ sings ] “That’s what NBC doesn’t want you to know.”

[ the NBC peacock flies in and tries to cover the image ]

Singers: “So next time—”

[ screen goes blank and reads PLEASE STAND BY with NBC logo and a high-pitched tone. Letters begin to dance ]

“‘Please stand by’
‘Please stand by’
It means there’s technical difficulty

[ the bearded hippy lifts the graphic to reveal a group of homeless people ]

“So if you see
A ‘Please Stand By’
You’ll know it’s all part of GE’s big lie.”

[ they wave dismissively and walk off towards the GE logo setting like the sun on the horizon ]

“Why’d they take Norm MacDonald away?
Because he made too many jokes about O.J.,
but Lorne Michaels overruled.

Hippy: [ sings ]Now don’t be fooled.
He and Marion Barry went to the same high school.”

[ the GE logo blinks then burns out. Fade ]

Thanks to George F. Higgs for this trnascript!

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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