Buck Henry: [stands before a red curtain] A couple ofmonths ago when I was on the show, it was my pleasureto introduce to America one of the most remarkablytalented performers it’s been my pleasure to see insome time. I discovered him in a little club downtownin New York and, you know, impressionists come and go.We – we all know who they are, and we know thecharacters that they portray and – and – But – butthis guy, this fella does impressions that are unlikeany other. They’re imaginative, they’re original, uh,and I think you are going to enjoy, as much as I’vealways enjoyed, the immense, fascinating talents ofMr. Michael O’Donoghue!
[Applause. Music. Buck Henry applauds and exits to theleft as Michael O’Donoghue, perhaps better known as”Mr. Mike,” enters from the right in a garish paisleytuxedo with a large bow-tie. He is a thin,bespectacled, bearded gentleman in his mid-thirtiesaccompanied by two attractive young African-Americanwomen.]
Michael O’Donoghue: Thank you, thank you. And thankyou, Buck. I’m gonna just name a few groups or teamsof people: Burns and Allen, Ginger Rogers and FredAstaire, the Andrews Sisters, the Marx Brothers,Ferrante and Teicher, Alfred Lunt and Lynne Fontanne.Now, what do all these people have in common? I mean,of course, they’re all exciting entertainers, I know,but – but something deeper than that. Each of them hasa special magic power, a power to reach out and touchnot just the minds of the people for whom they’reperforming … but their hearts as well. Today, in1976, nobody fits that description better than Mr.Tony Orlando and Dawn. [Applause.] Yeah! Yeah! Yeah![O’Donoghue applauds. Applause ends.] I happen tocatch their show last week and a funny thoughtoccurred to me. I thought, what if someone took steelneedles, say, um, fifteen, eighteen inches long –with real sharp points — and plunged them into TonyOrlando — and Dawn’s — eyes. What would theirreaction be? I think it might go something like this …
[O’Donoghue and the two women turn their backs tothe camera and, after a pause, they clutch their eyes,screaming, shrieking at the top of their lungs,staggering, collapsing to the floor, writhing aroundon the stage in front of the red curtain, kicking,trying to get up and then falling, dropping to theirknees in agony, etc.] [Applause. Fade to black. The band plays some relatively sedate music over a photo of Jane Curtin and Buck Henry reviewing a script. After holding on this for a while, we dissolve back toO’Donoghue and friends writhing around on the stage athome base, hollering, hands clutched to their eyes.The red curtain is gone. Buck Henry jumps over one ofthe prostrate women and approaches the camera:]
Buck Henry: Thank you all very much. Remember, nextweek, Elliott Gould — watch him breeze right throughthe security guard. Thank you, Gordon Lightfoot. He’dplay another song but he only owns one guitar. Thankall of you for coming. And we’ll see you sometime whenthis mess gets cleared up. [gestures to the threepeople on the floor behind him; the band plays theclosing theme as members of the cast join Henry onstage; the credits roll; Gilda Radner hugs and kissesHenry; Chevy Chase and Garrett Morris rush to help theimpressionists to their feet; Henry kisses Jane Curtinand gets a pat on the back from John Belushi; the castlifts Henry up onto Belushi’s shoulders; cast andaudience wave good night as Don Pardo earns hispaycheck:]
Don Pardo: Our host next Saturday night will beElliott Gould. This is the voice of Don Pardo comingfrom the mouth of Don Pardo, triggered by the brain ofDon Pardo, adapted from a short story by Don Pardo,and stolen from an idea by Johnny Olsen. Stay tuned asPaul Anka plays host to “Superstars” premieringtonight. Good night!
Inger … Louise Lasser Sven … Chevy Chase Death … Tom Schiller
[No music, only the sound of a loudly ticking clockheard throughout the sketch. An out-of-focus image ofa burning candle flame. We pull back and into focus toreveal that the candle rests atop a table on eitherside of which sit Sven and Inger. They stare soulfullyinto one another’s eyes as they slowly sip from mugs.Behind them, a window. A superimposed English textscrolls up from the bottom of the screen as a narratorsimultaneously reads it in mock Swedish gibberish.]
Text: Sven is a struggling architect. He built the Svömmenplåken at Kvärkpårken in Stockholm for which he won the Knut Kvöllen Award. Lost in his work, he lives alone … the architect of his own unhappiness.
[Sven and Inger stare at one another lustfully.]
Text: Inger works designing ceative toys for intellectual Swedish children.She was married to Torben, a brutal man who stilled the child within her. They parted. She was unhappy, yet alive for the first time.
[Sven and Inger slowly touch one another’s hands andfaces erotically.]
Text: On a holiday in Austria, Inger met Sven on the chairlift at the Vödelsan Ski Resort. They fell in love. In Stockholm, they met secretlysharing kisses under the Östergaffel Bridge or at the new Kjölvaskashopping center Sven was designing. With the money sven made from anaccess ramp study, They planned their first vacation. They drove theirVolvo to Göteborg and then took the ferry boat to Gammel Färgspråkisland. They delighted in their love and the warm summer days.
[As the next paragraph of text scrolls by, a shadowyfigure with a pale white face appears outside thewindow behind Sven and Inger — it is Death — and heis the one narrating in Swedish. Sven and Inger turnto look at Death, then slowly wave him away. Hedeparts.]
Text: One night, held in each other’s gaze, an apparition appeared at the window of their small rustic cabin. It was Death. “Let me in. I am death come to haunt, intimidate and make you very, very uneasy.” ThenDeath went away… soon to return.
[With Death gone, Sven and Inger return to gazing atand touching one another. Abruptly, Death returns andsits down at the table with them, still narrating inSwedish. The couple ignores him completely.]
Text: They tried to enjoy their vacation, but were troubled by dreams, visions, and a burning desire to wash hands and faces. Once Sven was gathering nutmeats and thought he was being pursued by burning sheep. Inger was making cookies and death returned. “It is I… Death. Are you alone? Where’s Sven?” There was nothing for them to do. They both felt death’s mocking presence… watching, silently jeering. So they made love.
[Inger pulls at Sven’s lip, comically distorting it.]
Text: And then they ordered pizza.
[Sven and Inger finally notice Death sitting besidethem.]
Inger: [to Death, casually, in plain English] Couldyou go out and pick it up for us?
[Death bows his head to her in agreement.]
Sven: [to Death, just as casually] You want the keysto the Volvo? [Death bows his head to him inagreement. Sven fishes in his pocket for the keys.] Igot ’em right here.
[Sven hands the keys to Death who, speaking mockSwedish, rises and exits as Sven and Inger return tostaring at one another. We see Death pass by thewindow outside, mumbling Swedish, as Inger puts herhands on Sven’s face. We hear the Volvo’s engine startup and the sound of the car driving away as Ingertwists and distorts Sven’s face to comical effect.]
Text: [with no accompanying narration]So Sven and Inger fooled death. There is no pizza in Sweden.
[We slowly zoom in on the burning candle as the imagegoes out of focus.] [dissolve to wide shot, with SUPER: “Coming Up Next… Walter Mondale Came Out Against The Vietnam War The Same Day Hubert Humphrey Did”] [fade]
[ fade in on Buck Henry standing at the musical guest’s microphone ]
Buck Henry: [ burps, still eating the props from the Dell Strator sketch ] Mmm.. fresh roasted toad – fantastic. [ wipes his mouth ] And here’s something else that’s fantastic. all the way from Canada – here is Gordon Lightfoot.
[ Gordon Lightfoot steps up the microphone with hus guitar, as Buck Henry steps aside ]
Gordon Lightfoot: “Where the road runs down by the butternut grove To old Bill Skinner’s stream, Do tell at the noonday bell, It’s time for a summertime dream.
In a lunch pail town in a one-horse way, You can live like a king and queen. Let’s steal away in the noonday sun, It’s time for a summertime dream.
Birds in all creation will be twittering in the trees And down below’s a pond I know, You can swim in it if you please.
So, if you come round when the mill shuts down, You can see what chivalry means. Let’s steal away in the noonday sun, It’s time for a summertime dream.
[ break ]
On a trip on down to wonderland In love among the flowers Where time gets lost with no straw boss Tallying up the hours.
Where the road runs down by the butternut grove To old Bill Skinner’s stream, Do tell at the noonday bell, It’s time for a summertime dream.
[ break ]
Birds in all creation will be twittering in the trees And down below’s a pond I know, You can swim in it if you please.
The road runs down by the butternut grove To old Bill Skinner’s stream, Do tell at the noonday bell, It’s time for a summertime dream.”
[FADE to Louise kneeling at home base and petting her dog Maggie with the cast assembled behind her.]
Louise Lasser: Thank you so much, and I, I would just like to say I thank Michael Saracen for being in my movie, and I’d like to thank the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, I’d like to thank Maggie here, and, and… [gestures to cast] Look at them.
[The Not Ready for Prime Time Players stand quietly several feet away. On the far right, John Belushi fidgets with some of the clothes from his earlier sketch and completely ignores Louise. Chevy is hidden behind Laraine, and Dan Aykroyd smokes a cigarette in the far back.]
Louise Lasser: What I can I tell you? Thank you, everyone, really, thank you. [The band goes into the closing theme as everyone but Maggie applauds. While the credits start to roll, Laraine claps Louise on the shoulders while John appears to be dickering over his clothes with nearby audience members. Louise manages to make a bit of small talk with Garrett and Gilda, then turns her full attention back to Maggie. Chevy and Dan shake a few audience members’ hands.]
Don Pardo: Next week’s host on “Saturday Night” will be Kris Kristofferson, with guest Rita Coolidge. The temperature in New York is 79.5 degrees. And in your announcer, Don Pardo, it’s 98.6. And they keep telling me I’m not normal. Tune in next week, or I’ll blow up in Chicago. Good night!
[ZOOM IN on a closeup of Laraine petting Maggie, who pants cheerfully in the spotlight. CUT to the usual long shot of home base and PAN over to the balcony, where almost everyone is clapping. Close to the camera, a young woman holds up a long sheet of sprocket-feed printer paper on which “HI J” is written. She and her date see themselves on the monitor and burst into laughter. FADE OUT.]
…..Gordon Lightfoot …..Buck Henry Futaba…..John Belushi
Buck Henry: Once again, here’s Gordon Lightfoot.
Gordon Lightfoot: “Let go darling, I can feel the night wind call. Think I’d better go, I like you more than half as much As I love your Spanish moss.
Spanish moss, a-hanging down sweeter than the southern love we’ve found. Spanish moss, keeps on following my thoughts around. Georgia pine and Ripple wine kisses mixed with moonshine and red clay Spanish moss, wish you knew what I was saying. So I’m rolling north thinking of the way things might have been if she and I could have changed it all somehow.
[ break ]
Spanish moss, a-hanging down lofty as the sycamore you’ve found, Spanish moss keeps on following my thoughts around. Georgia pine and Ripple wine memories of Savannah summertime. Spanish moss, wish you knew what I was saying.
So I’m rolling north thinking of the way things might have beenif she and I could have changed it all somehow.
Let go darling, I can feel the night wind call the devil take the cost. I like the way your kisses flow and I love your Spanish moss.”
[ the audience applauds, as Lightfoot bows to them ] [ Lightfoot and his band then begin to strum the opening chords to “Sundown”, as buck Henry rushes onto the stage ]
Buck Henry: Excuse me. I’m sorry, Gordon. But I thought I explained to you that I wanted — uh, we’re only gonna do two songs.
Gordon Lightfoot: Well, we thought that things were going so well, that, maybe, we could, uh, do an extra song.
[ the audience cheers ]
Buck Henry: Hey, look, I’m sorry, folks. I hate ot be a pain, but we really have to go on with the show. I’m gonna have to say no.
Gordon Lightfoot: But, look, we get it on the air, we came all the way from Toronto —
Buck Henry: Hey, look, now you’re beginning to irritate me. [ snaps his fingers and nods off-camera ] [ Futaba rushes onto the stage shouting in faux Japanese, as a close-up reveals him plucking the strings of Lightfoot’s guitar with a pair of plyers ]
Gordon Lightfoot: Oh, hey!
[ Lightfoot is stunned as Futaba bows and Buck Henry stands triumphantly to the side ] [ fade ]
General Idi Amin: You know, it’s too bad that venereal disease doesn’t just strike Jews, but the unfortunate fact is, anyone can get it, even nice people like you and me.
[ SUPER: “General Idi “VD” Amin” ]
Hi. I’m General Idi “VD” Amin, and I’m here to tell you about the warning signs of syphilis:
(a) The temporary appearance and subsequent disappearance of open chancre sores on your faloombwehbweh.
(b) Blindness and/or insanity.
(c) The temporary appearance and subsequent disappearance of two low-flying cargo planes and two Boeing 707 jets full of Israeli commandos on your entebbe…
(d) Shrinkage of your faloombwehbweh down to the size of a flashlight. If you have any of these warning signs, don’t neglect them. I know I ignored mine for too long, but fortunately, in my case, the disease has eaten away only the weak parts of my brain, leaving the strong parts free to declare war on Kenya. Here is an X-ray of a normal brain. [ holds up X-ray of a brain ] ..and here is an X-ray of my brain. [ holds up a slice of swiss cheese ] I was lucky. You may not be so lucky. So take it from me, Idid “VD” Amin, and get yourself checked out today. I wish someone had warned me.
Announcer: [ over SUPER ] “A Public Service Message from your International Syphilis Association.”
Samurai Futaba…..John Belushi Mr. Dantley…..Buck Henry
[ open on interior, tailor shop, as the Samurai screams while sticking pins in a mannequin and measuring its clothes ] [ finally, the Samurai whips out his sword and slices the expressionless head off of the mannequin ]
Announcer: And now, another episode of “Samurai Tailor”!
[ suddenly, Mr. Dantley enters ]
Mr. Dantley: Hi! How you doing? [ the Samurai grunts ] I’m here for the second fitting of the tuxedo. [ the Samurai looks at him suspiciously ] You know. I’m the guy who’s getting married? And, tonight’s… the big night! [ he nudges the Samurai’s shoulder ] [ understanding, the Samurai “oohs” and slides his sword out of its sheath a couple of times ]
Mr. Dantley: We’re all set. I told you about my fiancee, didn’t I? She’s a GREAT girl, you’d LOVE her. But, between you and me, I’m a little nervous.
[ the Samurai looks up curiously, as he cuts a sheet by tearing it between his teeth ]
Mr. Dantley: It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? [ the Samuai nods ] I’m gonna go through with it. I don’t care. Hey! I’ve gotta have that tuxedo. Is it ready? ‘Cause you promised. The black one, uh, 36 short. [ the Samurai strains to recall ] Oh! I almost forgot. Here’s the ticket. [ he pulls the ticket out of his pocket and hands it to the Samurai ] [ the Samurai reacts joyously and smacks himself in the forehead, then screams in pain. He looks at sme tuxedos on the wall, poiting to each wrong color as Mr. Dantley says “No”, then screams when he finds the correct tuxedo and chops the hangar off the wall with his sword. ]
Mr. Dantley: Yeah! That’s the one! Anyway… marital bliss. I guess I’ll really find out how blissful it is, huh?
[ the Samurai chuckles to himself as he helps put the tuxedo on Mr. Dantley ]
Mr. Dantley: You know, it’s a shame — it’s a shame you didn’t have more material, because it would be GREAT to have a vest. sort of a French-cut fancy vest in this Ricardo Montalban style, you know?
Mr. Dantley: Montalban.
Mr. Dantley: Montalban. [ he exits into the dressing room ]
Samurai: [ to himself ] Mont-al-ban!
[ thinking, the Samurai pulls on a roll of fabric, then whips out his sword and slices a swatch of fabric off the roll. Hethen tosses the fabric into the air and swipes his sword at it as it falls to the floor. He picks it off the floor, and there is fancy Montalban vest. Mr. Dantley returns, and is impressed. ]
Mr. Dantley: Hey! That’s incredible! That’s gorgeous. You do some fast work. Now this is some service! Shall I give it a shot? [ the Samurai helps put the vest on Mr. Dantley ] I should have sent all the ushers to you! [ the Samurai laughs ] This is going to be some reception, I’m telling you.
[ the Samurai grunts as he helps put the outer tuxedo on Mr. Dantley ]
Mr. Dantley: Anyway… it looks terrific so far. [ he stands on a base for the final fitting ] Wow… this is going to cost some money. I mean, there’s 75 couples coming. But, her old man is paying — what do I care? [ the Samurai laughs ] [ the Samurai kneels down and measures Mr. Dantley’s inseam, then grunts ]
Mr. Dantley: No, to the left.
[ the Samurai measures the left inseam ]
Mr. Dantley: Hey, uh — uh, there’s something wrong with these sleeves. [ the Samurai grunts ] Well, I asked for one button, and there’s six buttons on each sleeve. I mean, that’s five buttons too many. [ the Samurai looks shocked and disappointed ] I distinctly said ONE button. [ the Samurai steps away, hurt ] Yeah, one! [ the Samurai screams ] ONE!
[ the Samurai falls to his knees and pulls out his sword for hari-kari ]
Mr. Dantley: Oh, no, no! Wait a minute! Don’t take it seriously!
[ Mr. Dantley stops the Samurai, who appears to be relieved ]
Mr. Dantley: It’s not that important, uh… let me take a look. [ he looks into a full-length mirror ] It’s not bad — well, six. It seems a little much, still, though… [ the Samurai points ] Yeah.
[ the Samurai takes his position, then swings his sword upwards to slice off the extra buttons, which go flying through the air ]
Mr. Dantley: [ pleased ] Ah. Yeah.
[ the Samurai’s sword is locked into position, so Mr. Dantley helps to loosen his arm ]
Mr. Dantley: Anyway… uh… let’s see. I didn’t mean to talk harshly back there, but a guy wants to look his best at hids wedding, because you only want to get married once — at least, I hope so. [ the Samurai chuckles ] Now… the first time I was here, I think I asked for a center vent in the back. I don’t really see it.
[ the Samurai grunts, then whips his sword downward and splits a vent down the back of Mr. Dantley’s tuxedo ]
Mr. Dantley: Very nice! Ah, thanks. Well, I guess that’s okay. Anyway… enough partying, I’ve found the right girl, I’m all set, I couldn’t be happier. The suit is wonderful! There’s just one thing that would make me a little bit happier. Uh — about the pants. [ the Samurai looks ] There’s no fly. [ the Samurai grins ] I mean… this is my wedding night. [ the Samurai nods and points ] Yeah.
[ willing to please his customer, the Samurai steps back, throws up his sword and screams as he makes his ai mfor Mr. Dantley’s fly ] [ freeze-frame ]
Announcer: Tune in NEXT week, for another episode of… “Samurai Tailor”!
[FADE IN on an empty stage. In the far background, Louise Lasser can be seen walking down the stairs and across to home base while the audience applauds. She is in her trademark braids, with a blue shirt and red bell-bottoms. Barefoot, she carries a pair of stocky, thick-heeled shoes in her right hand and sits cross-legged in the middle of home base. Live piano music plays softly in the background.]
Louise Lasser: I know… I’m, um… [panting] …kind of late. But I had a few things to rinse out, so… I’m gonna just, uh, sit here and put my shoes on, on the wrong foot… So here I am, I’m putting my shoes on in front of twenty-two million people at about 1:30 in the morning. Something you see every day. I’m exhausted. But, you know… Ow.
[She pulls one shoe off her right foot and lets lt lie next to her.]
Louise Lasser: But it’s funny, you know. It’s not like I’m exhausted–I mean, I don’t mean I’m exhuasted from tonight, I’m just exhausted from this year, I mean, God. What a year, huh? I mean, this has been like the most incredible year for me, I mean, so many things have happened to me, y’know, great and awful, and… How it started–Norman Lear called me up a year ago and he said to me, “I got this part for you, you know you’re gonna hate,” he said, “You want it?” So I said “No,” I mean, I’m not that stupid, y’know… So then he sent me flowers, and I said “Okay.” I said, “What’s the part?” He said, “Mary.”
[starts singing hoarsely]
Louise Lasser: “Mary… plain as any name can be…”
[Louise looks lost for a moment.]
So we started into production, and… people seemed to like the show, y’know? People would see me on the street, and they would come over and they would like kiss me, and they would hug me, and then they began to come to my house, and then they began to come to my house in cars, and they began to come to my house in buses that parked on my lawn, and, and this wasn’t quite as nice as the kissing and hugging part, so… Finally, y’know, I called this friend that I hired to guard and live in my house, because there were just so many people visiting me that… Not that I wasn’t grateful… But, so anyway, I called him and I said, “Listen, I’m really tired of people asking where they can get orangeade and then getting it for them.” So, he said fine, and then the next day, not only did he move out of my house, but he moved my house. I mean, the man stole everything in my house, I mean everything. I mean, he stole the furniture, the washer, the dryer. In one room, he actually stole the wallpaper off the wall. Which, actually, I thought showed some good taste on his part. [giggling] This “friend,” by the way, uh, is a very big fan of the shows. And I thought, “Doesn’t he realize he’s not robbing from me? He’s… he’s robbing Mary.”
[sings] “Mary… plain as any name can be…” [soft laughter]
Louise Lasser: Oh! And then one day, I’m in Beverly Hills. I went to Beverly Hills–it was my friend’s birthday, and I decided to have a surprise party for her–and I… I just wanted to buy a great birthday present for her, so I went to this great toy store in Beverly Hills, and…
What a fabulous doll’s house.
[laughter and applause]
I mean, I mean, there was a room for me in there, y’know? It was just great. And then, I dunno, I think I didn’t have any of the… I didn’t have any of the right credit cards, I had credit cards, I just didn’t have any of the right credit cards. So they wouldn’t take a blank check, and then the next thing I remember there were a lot of policemen. And then I wasn’t in the toy store, I was in another building. The Municipal Building. It’s a very nice building, actually, very Thirties. [laughter] And they booked me. They booked Mary.
[sings] “Mary… plain as any name can be…” [laughter and applause]
“But with propriety… society…”
[Louise rubs her lip and looks bewildered again.]
Louise Lasser: Okay, um, so, the next thing I know, I’m in this jail, and they’re questioning me. They took pictures of me–not great pictures, not terrible, though. I mean, not great, but I wouldn’t send them out as Christmas cards, let’s put it that way. And I found that they were less interested in autographs than they were in fingerprints. But I was very good at fingerprints, I mean really good–and there is a trick to how you do fingerprints. [demonstrates with right hand] What you have to do is, you just have to lop your finger into that ink, and you just follow through. [makes windmill motion] And I thought to myself… “What a minute. These are my fingerprints, but… they also belong to Mary.”
[piano cue] [singing] “Mary… long before the fashion came…” [Louise looks bewildered once again.]
Louise Lasser: [painfully] So then they threw me into this jail… cell. And I got, ah, real scared then. And I said, “Please don’t let me be in this cell all alone, don’t let me be in this cell all alone.” So what they did was, they stuck me, y’know, into a different cell, which I thought was real nice of them, y’know, that was real nice of ’em, they didn’t have to do that. They stuck me in a different kind of cell. This one had killers and hookers and rapists: y’know, my kind of people, your kind of people. Our kind of people. So I spoke to one of the hookers, who got arrested for hooking at the Hilton. And I said to her, y’know, “When you get out of here, you ever gonna do it again?” And she said, “Not at the Hilton.”
So then she looked me up and down and said, “Well, why you? Don’t you make enough money playing Mary?”
[piano cue] [singing] “Mary…” [She chuckles and grins.]
Louise Lasser: So then I got sprung, and… as we say in the “underworld…” I found I had gotten a huge amount of publicity, but I mean huge. I mean, I don’t just mean magazine covers. I mean Channels 2 through 13, at six o’clock, eleven o’clock, and right before they played the National Anthem. This is the way it went, this is the way it went. It was murders, wars, me, “O say can you see…” every night. So what happened was, to protect me, the show rented a house for me. And also to protect me, what I had to do is, I had to go to work, lying in the backseat of a station wagon under a blanket for a month straight. Just like Barbra Streisand, Jack Nicholson, y’know, all the big stars do it that way.
[ripples of laughter]
But at least I had my new house. [pause] Till I got robbed in a new way. This time… he stole everything but the TV. So that night I could watch exactly how he robbed me. I watched it on the late news, followed of course by “The Star-Spangled Banner,” one of the few things I still have to look forward to. And of course, I could watch… Mary.
[piano cue] [singing] “Mary… plain as any name can be…” [She drops her head and appears on the verge of tears.] [singing] “But with…” [long pause] “…propriety…” [pause]
Louise Lasser: So that was my year pretty much, y’know? It’s just your random robberies, arrests, and stardom. And I think, “Why?” I mean, why did all this happen? And then I remember, it’s… it’s because of Mary. I mean, that’s Mary… who made me rich, famous, and a known criminal. [subdued laughter] Who put my face on the cover of “Rolling Stone,” “Ms.,” “People,” “Newsweek,” and “Crime Gazette.” Listen… she hasn’t been easy to live with, but… she’s okay. Because the truth is, if it wasn’t for Mary… you never would’ve watched Louise put her shoes on.
[ZOOM OUT as she grins and tugs on her left shoe.]
I like her.
[Audience breaks into applause as Louise remains cross-legged at home base. FADE to a long shot of her, PAN across the audience into the balcony, then FADE to black.]
Frank Noland…..Buck Henry Announcer…..Dan Aykroyd Mrs. Noland…..Gilda Radner
[Frank Noland, loud, hard-hitting host of TV call-intalk show, sits in front of a white brick wall andaddresses the camera.]
Frank Noland: Good evening. I’m Frank Noland. And thisis “Talk Back”!
[Cut to the “Talk Back” logo, then pull back to revealFrank Noland sitting beneath it at a table lined withten black telephones. He smokes a cigarette as funky1970s-era theme music and a tough-talking announcerset the scene.]
Announcer: Talk Back! Frank Noland talks to you, thepublic! You, the public, talk to Frank Noland! Helistens! Talk back to Frank Noland and he’ll talk backto you!
Frank Noland: Tonight’s topic is “Federally SupportedMunicipal Bonds — Yes or No?” I’m Frank Noland and Iwant you to talk to me about federally supportedmunicipal bonds. Call me now at one of these toll-freenumbers: Eight zero-zero, five-five-five,three-three-one-zero — one-one, one-two, one-three,one-four, one-five, one-six, one-seven, one-eight andone-nine! [pause] That topic, once again: “FederallySupported Municipal Bonds — Yes or No?” Call me nowand let me know how you feel. Those numbers, onceagain, are: eight zero-zero, five-five-five,three-three-one-zero — one-one, one-two, one-three,one-four, one-five, one-six, one-seven, one-eight andone-nine!
[a long pause, Frank takes a deep drag onhis cigarette, the phones do not ring]
Yes, we’re talking about federally supported municipal bonds!Say, is it a federal problem? Is it a state problem?Is it – is it a combination of federal and stateproblems? Is it YOUR problem? Is it OUR problem? Whydon’t you give me a ring and talk back to me, FrankNoland? The operators ARE standing by! [another longpause, Frank grabs a glass of water and takes a sip,he looks at the silent row of phones, looksuncomfortable] This … is Frank Noland. And our firsttopic tonight is, and has been “Federally SupportedMunicipal Bonds — Yes or No?” Hey! But that’s not theonly issue I’m prepared to talk about tonight. How’bout this one? “Forced Busing — Yes or No?” Huh? I’msure you have as many things to say about forcedbusing as I do. I’m Frank Noland and I’m prepared totalk back to you! And those numbers, once again, areeight zero-zero, five-five-five, three-three-one-zero– one-one, one-two, one-three, one-four, one-five,one-six, one-seven, one-eight and one-nine! Andthey’re TOLL-FREE! Totally toll-free!
[another long pause, Frank takes another drag and impatiently taps his pack of cigarettes on the table]
Let’s run over those burning issues once again, shall we? They are, one, “Federally Supported Municipal Bonds” and, two,”Forced Busing”! Remember, toll-free! Totally free!You pay nothing here. We pay for the entire call.[phone rings once, Frank reaches for phone] And here’sour first on “Talk Back” right now!
[Frank puts his hand on the phone and freezes as he realizes that it has stopped ringing — another pause, Frank lets go ofthe phone and puts his hand to his head – he’s gettingdesperate]
Here’s another issue that may interest you: “Soviet Communism — Let’s Give It a Chance”! I’ll bet there are some of you who have opinions on this one. That’s Soviet Communism here — here and now! Here, in this country, in your own community. I guess there areplenty of good, red-blooded Americans out there who’ll have a little something to say about that. And, if there are, and you want to talk back to me, Frank Noland, I’m prepared to talk back to you! Maybe you forgot to make a note of those numbers. The numbersagain are eight zero-zero, five-five-five,three-three-one-zero — one-one, one-two, one-three,one-four, one-five, one-six, one-seven, one-eight andone-nine. And I’m ready to talk back on these sametopics: Federally Supported Municipal Bonds, ForcedBusing, and “Soviet Communism Here and Now”! I, FrankNoland, am ready to talk back to you in support ofspending federal funds to bus known Soviet Communistsinto your community now — to teach your children andto live in your house, whether you like it or not!Now, if anyone has another position, and it’s yourright as an American to disagree, give me a call onone of these toll-free lines. Call me collect! I’llanswer and I’ll talk back to– I’ll talk. I–
[pause, Frank puts an unlit cigarette in his mouth, thinks fora moment, then leans forward intently]
How ’bout this? “Killing Puppies — It Doesn’t Bother Me” … That’s me, Frank Noland, and I LIKE dead puppies! Frankly,I’m totally in favor of using federally supportedmunicipal bonds to pay for forced busing of SovietCommunists to come into your homes to kill yourpuppies! Give me a call, won’t you? The lines areopen. Tell ME what you think about it. [lights hiscigarette, mumbles to himself] Dead, mangled puppies… I like ’em …
[starting to lose it]
Okay. While you’re thinking about THOSE topics, here are a half a dozen others which I, Frank Noland, am personally infavor of. “Adolf Hitler — Boy, Do We Need Him Now”!Huh? What about that? Hey, “Incest — I Practice It,Why Don’t You?” Give me a call. Talk to me about it.[A sympathetic woman enters and joins Frank] “NoToilets for the Blind”? Call me! Call me, if you’rewatching! And, and–
Mrs. Noland: Frank? Frank, honey?
Frank Noland: “The Ozone Layer — Let’s Get Rid ofIt”!
Mrs. Noland: Frank, honey. Honey, let’s go home.
Frank Noland: How ’bout “Suicide — Fun for theElderly”? [The sympathetic woman gently guides Frankout of his chair and offscreen] I– I– What happened?Nobody called. I don’t understand it. What about nuns?We could do something about nuns… [As they exit,funky theme music begins and we zoom in on the “TalkBack” logo.]
Announcer: Join us again tomorrow on “Talk Back”!Frank Noland talks to the public! You, the public,talk to Frank Noland! He listens on “Talk Back”!
[Dissolve to the applauding audience. Asuperimposition reads: COMING UP NEXT: NEW HOPE FORTHE TERMINALLY CURIOUS]
[ the audience cheers enthusiastically for nearly a minute ]
Lousie Lasser: Well, that’s nice! Listen, uh — this is a litle strange for me, because this is the first show I’ve done since my own show, and, uh — it’s the ONLY show I’ve done since my show. It’s the only show I’ve SEEN since my own show! [ she laughs ] And one of the reasons why I really do love this show — I mean, I loved it the first time I saw it, because it deals with stuff I like and it just sort of makes new entrees into comedy that I approve of. And it’s just, uh — also, I’ll tell you, it’s a relief to be here. Because right now, on my show, I’m having a nervous breakdown — [ the audience laughs ] Some of you may watch it. I’ve just been committed to an institution. So, tonight, I’m here, committed to you. [ she laughs ]
Now… I wish I could tell you we had a great show for you, but I can’t! [ she laughs ] Uh — no! It’s not because of the show! I mean… the staff, everyone’s great. It’s just that I’m real… tired… [ she laughs ] And they wonder why. And I’m a little scared. And, um… you’re… uh… LIVE! You know what I mean? A LIVE audience! I mean, it’s not — I mean, we don’t work in front of a live audience. [ she looks around uncomfortably ] Our audience is DEAD! [ the audience laughs ] No, it’s not that they’re dead, it’s just that they’re not there! I mean, they’re somewhere. But they’re not… there!
Uh, let me tell you how… how all this happened. Uh, how I got involved with the show is that… [ she rubs her hand over her face ] Lorne Michaels… [ she mutters something unintelligible ] So… Lorne Michaels, who’s the, uh, producer of this show, uh… called me up one day and asked if I, uh… would do the show. He called me, and he said, “I just want you to know it’s not because of, uh, “Mary Hartman” they want you to do it. I’ve always felt that you should do the show.” Evidently, he’d seen me in something on Cable TV, I don’t know… [ the audience laughs ] But, uh, I did say to him, “Listen, you know… what am I gonna do, you know? I’m not a novelist, I don’t have an act, I mean I don’t do that kind of… you know, I don’t do JOKE jokes.” And he said, “Don’t worry about it, you’re naturally funny.” So he looked down at — no! [ she laughs ] No. He said, “You’re naturally funny.” He said you just go out there and you be yourself, and you… quote… “Wing it.”
[ she pauses and looks around uncomfortably ]
So I’m winging it! [ she laughs, then looks off-camera ] What? Oh. Okay. Oh! I’m sorry. Um… So, anyway — So what I decided to do was, I decided that… uh… what I’d like to do is… I-I-I didn’t want the writers to write a story, because I don’t like, you know, contrived stuff very much. So I wanted to tell a personal story that happened to me, that I thought you might find interesting and, you know… you know… YOU KNOW! So anyway, I picked a personal story that I personally think is hilarious. Okay? [ the audience laughs ]
Now… I’m in Beverly Hills — right? [ the audience laughs ] Uh, sorry — it’s not what you think it’s gonna be! I’m in Beverly Hills… and, uh… I’m getting into a cab. I’m going to meet, um, my good friend Jack Nicholson for lunch. [ she stops, points toward the cue card ] I’m sorry, that should be “new” friend. “My new friend…” Let me explain something to you. They use cue cards. I’m not used to cue cards, okay? So they have on the cue card — it says right here, you can see it. It says, uh… “My good friend Jack Nicholson…” when it should be “My new friend…” And it’s not Jack Nicholson, I don’t know Jack Nicholson. Anyway, uh… here is my personal story on cue cards, and Jack Nicholson is in it. So, I-I-I don’t know… [ she stops ] I am tired. [ she laughs ] Right now, I really am tired. [ she stops, drifting off to soem unknown place ] I’m sorry… [ she looks around the stage ] I’m sorry… um… what? [ she looks toward the camera ] Oh! Listen. Let me explain something to you. This is, uh, live TV, which I’m not really used to. Um… um… I’m scared of that. [ the audience laughs ] I don’t think that’s funny. No, I really don’t. And I know, like you — I-I-I — really, honestly, I am scared. I mean, I think you’d be scared if you were standing up here. And i’m really scared, and I know you’re probably a little… scared for me right now. I mean, I — I — [ she turns around ] Oh. [ she looks around confused ] Uh — let me tell you something. Uh — they did tell me that this might happen, and, um… [ she looks around, more confused ] They said that it — that when — [ she keeps looking around ] this kind of thing happens, that it will all come — it WILL all come together! You know?
[ Lasser looks around, more and more confused, then runs off Home Base and across the studio ]
Joe Dicso: Louise! Louise, we’re on the air!
[ Lasser runs into the hall and begins crying ]
Gilda Radner: Louise? What’s the matter?
[ Lasser runs past Gilda, crying, then rushes into her dressing room while mumbling incoherently ]
Gilda Radner: Louise! Louise, it’s me — Gilda!
Lousie Lasser: Oh, Gilda, what am I gonna do! I messed up the whole show! I didn’t know what to do! I couldn’t help it!
Gilda Radner: No, you didn’t — you didn’t mess it up yet! You —
Lousie Lasser: I messed it up and I just can’t DO it right! I mean, I just can’t
Gilda Radner: Yeah, we’ll help you! You know, we’ve done a whole bunch of shows, we can — What’s the matter, you have cramps? We’ll help you, Louise.
[ Dan Aykroyd approaches from the hall ]
Lousie Lasser: Just leave me alone! If you just leave me alone for a few minutes, I think I’ll be fine, I’ll be out, okay?
[ Gilda steps away, as Dan dons sunglasses and takes over ]
Dan Aykroyd: Miss Lasser? Louie P. Stylo, probation officer, County of Los Angeles, State of California! You, uh — you left the sight of a private desert in Los Angeles, Louise, and I gotta come up to you right now, okay? We’ll just clear it up right now, and then you can go on with the show and everything else.
Lousie Lasser: DAN! Could you just stop it, I know your voice!
Dan Aykroyd: LOUISE, I CAN GIVE YOU AUTOMOTIVE PARTS!! I have TIRES… I have all kinds of things at BARGAIN PRICES!
Lousie Lasser: Dan, this is NOT funny! This is very DANGEROUS for me at this moment in time, okay?
Dan Aykroyd: [ stepping away ] Alright, she’s not gonna come out of there… Hey! I gotta go up through the roof.
[ “Jaws” music begins to play, as the Land Shark’s head appears in the frame ]
[ Chevy Chase’s hand emerges from the shark’s mouth and knocks on the door ]
Lousie Lasser: Who is it?
Land Shark: Mrs. Laff — Laff — Mrs. Lasser?
Lousie Lasser: What?
Land Shark: Telegram!
Lousie Lasser: From whom?
Land Shark: [ he clears his throat ] Candy — Candygram, Ma’am!
Lousie Lasser: Who is this?
Land Shark: Half a gram.
Lousie Lasser: What?
Land Shark: Uh — Braidmaker, Ma’am. Uh, here to do your braids.
Lousie Lasser: I really don’t need any braids. Could you please leave me alone? I just need to REST here for a few minutes. That’s all!
Land Shark: Cover of Time Magazine?
Lousie Lasser: What?
Land Shark: Cover of Time!
Lousie Lasser: I’ll be right out.
[ the Land Shark backs out of frame, as Lasser slowly opens the door and emerges ]
Lousie Lasser: Did someone say the cover of Time?
[ Chevy Chase appears as himself ]
Chevy Chase: Yeah.
Lousie Lasser: What do I have to do to get the cover of Time?
Chevy Chase: Uhhh — read this. [ he holds up a cue card ]
Lousie Lasser: [ reading ] “We’ll be right back.” [ confused ] That’s what I have to do to get the cover of Time?