Saturday Night Live/Madeline Kahn/Carly Simon
From The TV IV
Madeline Kahn/Carly Simon is the nineteenth episode of the first season of Saturday Night Live, and the nineteenth episode overall. It is the first appearance by either its host or its musical guest.
Special Guests: Howard Shore and His All Monster Band (Special Musical Guest)
- Reagan's Hipness: Governor Ronald Reagan (Chase) plays the organ for a jazz band because, he says, he wants to show off how "hep" he is, even though he is a conservative. Whenever he throws to the saxophonist (Morris), he says, "Take it, boy." At first, the saxophonist is annoyed, but he seems prepared to drop it until Reagan repeats the command. But when Reagan keeps repeating the phrase and makes racist comments about "colored people," the saxophonist gets so angry that he punches Reagan in the chin.
- Madeline Kahn's Monologue: Kahn makes reference to the following day being Mother's Day, and she says she will never be able to repay her mother for everything she has done for her. She sings the song "M-O-T-H-E-R (A Word That Means the World to Me)," but she changes the lyrics to refer only to the things her mother gave her, and she adds the letter "P" to spell "Motherp."
- Wilderness Comedian: A movie trailer shows scenes from a movie featuring Shecky Adams (Belushi) as a comedian who leaves the nightclub for the wilderness, where he performs bad stand-up comedy for woodland creatures, who laugh hysterically at every joke. As the wilderness scenes behind Adams' back keep changing, he is attacked by a bearskin rug heckler, but he wrestles it to the ground and keeps going. The announcer (Aykroyd) promotes the film as a double feature with "Wilderness Golf Pro."
- Not for Ladies Only: Baba Wawa hosts the talk show "Not for Ladies Only," where her guest is Marlena Deutschland (Kahn), whose accent makes her pronounce R and L sounds as W's, just as Baba Wawa's lisp makes her do. The two talk about "wighting," "widing" and "keeping swim." At one point, Wawa goes off on a tangent as she tries to pronounce "Hawwy Weasonew." At the end of the interview, Wawa says her guest next week will be Elmer Fudd.
- Slumber Party: At a young girl's slumber party, Madeline (Kahn) explains sex to her friends Gilda (Radner), Jane (Curtin) and Laraine (Newman). The others are disgusted when Madeline describes the act of intercourse, and they refuse to believe her. She insists her description is true, because she was told by her brother and she read about it in a book. The girls wonder how any woman could do anything so disgusting and embarrassing. Madeline says only married people should do it, and all of their parents did it at least once, or more for the ones who have siblings. Madeline also answers questions about who invented it ("God"), how long it takes ("Depends on how big the girl's stomach is and how fast she can digest") and whether or not you can talk during sex ("You have to hold your breath or else it doesn't work"). Jane vows she will never have sex with her husband, and she will not marry anyone who wants her to have sex. The four make a pact to talk on the phone all day with each other to avoid sex if they are ever married, but Laraine admits she might one day have sex.
- Fondue Sets for Namibia: Mark M'butu (Morris) of the developing nation of Namibia makes a plea to citizens of the United States to send his poor nation what they most need, leftover fondue sets. He also thanks Mr. and Mrs. Norman Praeger for the "water pick and the deluxe toaster oven."
- The Muppets - The Muppets Can Reunite the Beatles: Chase is backstage when he runs into the trunk where Scred (Nelson) has been since the week before. Chase says he is sorry the Muppets were fired, but he can't help them. Scred begs Chase to intercede on the Muppets' behalf with producer Lorne Michaels, but Chase says Michaels is unapproachable since the show became a hit. Scred says he can help Michaels book the Beatles and he takes Chase to his contact, the Mighty Favog (Oz). The Mighty Favog confirms he can, in fact, deliver the Beatles, but he will only help Michaels book them if he agrees to bring back the Muppets. Scred explains the Beatles went to India to meet Favog, not the Maharishi. Chase leaves to talk to Michaels, and Scred and Favog celebrate their good fortune.
- I Feel Pretty: Bride of Frankenstein (Kahn) song, featuring Howard Shore and His All Monster Band. The song is preceded by Dr. Frankenstein (Howard Shore) telling his hunchback assistant Fritz (Paul Shaffer) to "send up the kites" to capture the storm and bring the Bride to life. As the Bride sings, Swiss villagers (Newman, Belushi, Aykroyd, O'Donoghue, Radner, et al.) enter with torches. They sing along briefly before they bind the Bride in ropes and pick her up.
- Weekend Update.
- As Chase mentions an earthquake in Venice, Italy, an "artist's rendering" shows a crude drawing of a man in a car. Chase calls his correspondent in Venice, Ollie Peterson. Chase dials his phone and has a casual conversation with Peterson about their wives and children. After the small talk, Chase says, "So, some quake, huh?" He listens for a few seconds before hanging up, and he uses the conversation as an example of how "life goes on in the strong nation of Italy."
- Emily Litella presents an angry rebuttal to an editorial against "violins on television." Litella says there should be more classical music on television during the family hour, not less. When Chase explains the editorial was on violence on television, Litella retracts her comments.
- Chase repeats the top story for his cattle viewers. He says, "Our top story tonight," then he hides his head behind the inset of a cow and moos.
- Super-Absorbent Dry Hose: On the WU commercial, a customer (Kahn) comes to Rosie's Hosiery Shop and Grill, but Rosie (Curtin) points out her pantyhose are soaking wet. Rosie does a demonstration in which she tells the customer to pour milk into her old hose and balance a cup and saucer on the hose, and the cup falls right off. However, on the new Super-Absorbent Dry Hose, the cup balances right where it is. Rosie says the Dry Hose "soak up excessive leg moisture." The customer spills coffee on the counter, so she wipes it up by rubbing her butt in the Dry Hose on the counter.
- Half a Chance and You're So Vain: Carly Simon songs. During "You're So Vain," Chase appears on percussion, dressed as the vain man described in the song's lyrics.
- Nixon's Final Days: Late at night, Pat Nixon (Kahn) confides to her diary the secrets of her husband Richard Nixon's final days in the White House. In flashback, Richard (Aykroyd) is seen asking a portrait of Abraham Lincoln for advice. His son-in-law David Eisenhower (Chase) and daughter Julie (Radner) arrive to suggest Richard go to bed, and Julie begs him not to resign. Richard says he will not resign because he is an optimist. After Eisenhower makes a stupid comment, Richard sends him and Julie off so he can berate the John F. Kennedy portrait for "having sex with women," which he says he never did in the White House. Back in the present, Pat says Henry Kissinger (Belushi) was the first to suggest resignation. In flashback, Kissinger is seen trying to talk to Richard, but Richard ignores his advice and asks him to pray with him. As they kneel, Richard makes anti-Semitic remarks to the Jewish Kissinger. Pat says Richard is prejudiced against all ethnic and racial groups, but he still had many minority supporters. In flashback, as Richard yells at a portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Sammy Davis Jr. (Morris) arrives to try to cheer Richard up with a performance of "I've Gotta Be Me," but Richard throws him out. Off-screen, Richard calls for Pat and asks for her to warm him up, but she tells him to "throw another tape on the fire."
- New York's My Home: Gary Weis introduces his film, which intercuts footage illustrating Gordon Jenkins' song "Manhattan Tower" with footage of angry New York Knicks fans yelling at Madison Square Gardens.
- Chinatown: Jake Gittes (Belushi) is in his office when Mrs. Mulwray (Kahn) enters to ask him to find her husband, who has disappeared. When she asks how he will find her husband, Jake begins to sing the song "I Will Follow Him." Mulwray soon joins Jake, and the two sing a duet. After they finish singing, Mulwray asks Jake to find her husband before her birthday or she will cry. When Jake says she shouldn't cry on her birthday, Mulwray sings the chorus of "It's My Party."
- Impressions: Radner and Kahn show off impressions "never seen on television before." In the first, Kahn portrays a baby getting her first taste of ice cream. In the second, Radner impersonates a parakeet learning to speak the phrase "Hello, Madeline" for the first time.
- Lost in the Stars: Madeline Kahn song.
"Live from New York, It's Saturday Night!"
- M-O-T-H-E-R (A Word That Means the World to Me), performed by Madeline Kahn: The song Kahn sings in her monologue is a parody of and variation on this 1915 ragtime song by Howard Johnson and Theodore Morse, which has become a standard for Mother's Day.
- I Feel Pretty, performed by the Bride of Frankenstein and Howard Shore and His All Monster Band: Composer Leonard Bernstein and lyricist Stephen Sondheim originally wrote this song for their smash hit 1957 musical West Side Story. The musical is a modern update of William Shakespeare's classic tragedy Romeo and Juliet, with rival white and Puerto Rican gangs substituting for the feuding families of the original. This song is performed by the Puerto Rican female lead Maria and her friends, and it refers to the sense of euphoria Maria feels after having fallen in love.
- Half a Chance, performed by Carly Simon: The lead-off track to Simon's 1976 album Another Passenger. On the original studio recording, the Doobie Brothers provided back-up vocals, but they do not appear here.
- You're So Vain, performed by Carly Simon: This song about a self-absorbed ex-lover was the biggest hit of the influential singer-songwriter's career. It was a #1 hit in the US when it was released as a single from her 1972 album No Secrets. The song has given rise to a decades-long discussion as to the person who inspired it. Although Simon has insisted it is a composite of many ex-lovers, the most popular guesses include her ex-husband James Taylor and other ex-lovers Warren Beatty and Mick Jagger, the latter of whom provided back-up vocals on the original studio recording. In 2003, Saturday Night executive producer Dick Ebersol won a charity auction in which the prize was the revelation of the subject's identity, although a condition of his prize was that he not reveal it to anyone. However, interviews with Ebersol and Simon revealed the letters A, E and R were in the person's name, which leaves the field open to Beatty, Taylor and Jagger.
- I Gotta Be Me, performed by Garrett Morris: The most famous version of this self-empowerment anthem was recorded by the real Sammy Davis Jr.
- Manhattan Tower, performed by Gordon Jenkins and His Orchestra: Jenkins first wrote and performed this love letter to New York City in 1949, and he expanded it in 1956. In the early 1950s, Jenkins received the key to the city of New York for this song. It is the soundtrack for the filmed sketch "New York's My Home."
- I Will Follow Him, performed by John Belushi and Madeline Kahn: The French song "Chariot" by Paul Mauriat and Frank Pourcel was adapted into an English song of devotion by composer Arthur Altman and lyricist Norman Gimbel. Fifteen-year-old Little Peggy March had a #1 hit with it when she released it in 1963 as a single.
- It's My Party, performed by Madeline Kahn: This song about a teenage girl whose birthday party is ruined when her boyfriend Johnny is caught fooling around with her best friend Judy became the first and only #1 hit in 1963 for 16-year-old Lesley Gore. Gore's second biggest hit would be the sequel, "Judy's Turn to Cry," which tells the story of the narrator turning the tables on Judy and winning Johnny back. The song was written by Wally Gold, John Gluck and Herb Weiner, who pitched it both to producer Quincy Jones and producer Phil Spector. Both tried to record the song, but Spector was outraged when Jones beat him to the punch with Gore's version.
- Lost in the Stars, performed by Madeline Kahn: The title song from the 1949 musical by lyricist Maxwell Anderson and composer Kurt Weill. In the musical, the song, which is a moment of theological doubt and loneliness, is sung by minister Stephen Kumalo.
- First Appearance: The cold opening sketch "Reagan's Hipness" marks the first time future President Ronald Reagan would be impersonated on Saturday Night Live. Although Chase would only portray him this one time (also the only time he would be portrayed in the 1970s), he would, of course, become a recurring impression for Harry Shearer, Charles Rocket, Joe Piscopo, Randy Quaid and Phil Hartman in the 1980s and '90s following his election in 1980. The sketch "Final Days" sees many first time impressions: Pat Nixon, here played by Madeline Kahn but later played by Jane Curtin; the on-screen portrayal of Julie Nixon, played here by Gilda Radner, for whom this impression would recur (although she had done a voice-over impression as Julie in episode 1x17 - Ron Nessen/Patti Smith Group); Henry Kissinger (John Belushi), later played by Belushi and Al Franken; and Sammy Davis Jr., played by Garrett Morris, who would continue to play him, as would Billy Crystal.
- MIA: Cast member George Coe is not credited and does not appear in this episode. Michael O'Donoghue is also not credited, but he appears briefly in the "I Feel Pretty" number.
- Not-So-Live from New York: Carly Simon's music performances in this episode are previously recorded, the first such musical performances in the show's history. As Simon so rarely performed on television and was such a big star, her requests to perform in this manner were granted.
Behind the Scenes
- Take Two: In the next week promo for this episode on the previous episode, Jane Curtin made reference to the fact that this episode is Madeline Kahn's second attempt at hosting. Curtin says Kahn's hosting was delayed because of a strike. The details of this strike seem lost to time, however, Kahn's mother Pauline Kahn, to whom Madeline Kahn makes reference in her monologue, previously appeared on the show as Gilda Radner's mother on episode 1x09 - Elliott Gould/Anne Murray.
- Censored: The line spoken by the Abraham Lincoln portrait in the sketch "Nixon's Final Days," which airs as, "Because you're such a dip," was originally written as, "Because you're such a putz," but censors nixed the Yiddish word referring to genitalia.
Allusions and References
- Blazing Saddles: The character Marlena Deutschland, whom Madeline Kahn plays in the sketch "Not for Ladies Only," is a play on her character Lili von Schtupp from this 1974 classic Western parody comedy written and directed by Mel Brooks. Like Lili von Schtupp, Marlena Deustchland is a parody of the 1930s German movie star and singer Marlene Dietrich.
- Young Frankenstein: The musical number "I Feel Pretty" is a reference to Kahn's other performance in a 1974 Brooks comedy classic, her role as Elizabeth in Young Frankenstein, a parody of the 1931 film Frankenstein. Elizabeth is the prim and proper fiancée of the "young Frankenstein" of the film's title, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder), grandson of the original Dr. Victor Frankenstein. After Frederick has given life to his Creature (Peter Boyle), the Creature meets and abducts Elizabeth, who is at first so horrified at seeing the Creature that a lock of her hair turns white. Once she sees the Creature's "enormous schwanschtucker," however, she falls madly in love and has sex with him multiple times. After Frederick switches brains with his Creature to make him less violent and more intelligent, Elizabeth breaks her engagement to Frederick and marries the now mundane Creature. On her wedding night, Elizabeth surprises the groom with a beehive hairdo with one white lock, a reference to the iconic image of The Bride of Frankenstein in the 1935 sequel to the 1931 original.
- Chinatown: The sketch "Chinatown" is a parody of this classic 1974 film starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. In the film, set in Los Angeles in the 1930s, private investigator Jake Gittes (Nicholson) is hired by a Mrs. Mulwray to track her husband, but when the real Mrs. Mulwray (Dunaway) comes to his office, Jake is drawn into a complicated web of intrigue and deceit. In the sketch, John Belushi is seen wearing a bandage on his nose. This is a reference to the famous scene in the film in which Jake is roughed up by two thugs, one of whom slices open his nose with a switchblade, causing him to wear a bandage on it throughout the rest of the film.
- Madeline Kahn's monologue.
- Wilderness Comedian.
- Not for Ladies Only.
- Slumber Party.
- Emily Litella's editorial reply.
- Carly Simon performs "You're So Vain."
- Madeline Kahn: (Singing.) M is for the many things she gave me. O is for the other things she gave me. T is for the thousand things she gave me. H is for the hundred things she gave me. E is for everything she gave me. R is for the rest of the things she gave me. P is for the presents that she gave me. Put them all together, they spell "motherp," the one who means the world to me.
- Marlena Deutschland: Of couwse, wooking gwamowous on film isn't all beauty secwets. A wot of it is wighting. I do all my own wighting.
Baba Wawa: Weawwy? Uh, I didn't weawize you wote.
Marlena Deutschland: I don't. I wight.
Baba Wawa: You're wefewwing to typewitew witing, wight?
Marlena Deutschland: Wong. I am wefewwing to ewectwic wighting. You see, in pictures, bwight wighting can be, uh, vewy unfwattewing. Pawticuwawy if it makes my wegs wook white.
- Gilda: (Referring to Madeline's description of sex.) Well, I mainly don't believe it because my sister told me that there was this girl that this guy jumped out of the bushes and forced her to have a baby.
Gilda: I don't know. He, he just said, "Have a baby right now!"
Madeline: Sure, sure. Sure, Gilda, and you think that would work if, if I did it to you, then.
Gilda: (Scared.) Don't, okay?
- Gilda: My parents did it at least three times. I have a sister and a brother. But I-I know they didn't do it because they wanted to. They did it because they had to to have children.
Madeline: They could've adopted.
Gilda: Yeah, but adopted children are such a pain. You have to teach 'em to look like you.
- Emily Litella: What's all this fuss I keep hearing about violins on television? Now, why don't parents want their children to see violins on television? Why, I thought the Leonard Bernstein concerts were just lovely. Now, if they only show violins after ten o'clock at night, the little babies will all be asleep, and they won't learn any music appreciation! Why, they'll end up wanting to play guitar and bongo drums and go to Africa and join these rock and roll outfits, and they won't drink milk! (Pounds fist.) I say there should be more violins on television and less game shows!
- Richard Nixon: (Seeing David Eisenhower.) Ugh! He does look like Howdy Doody!