Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Berry Berry Good
Chico Escuela made his first appearance on NBC's Saturday Night Live on the fifth show of the fourth season, hosted by Buck Henry, on November 11th, 1978. He wasn't filling his most famous position, as the sportscaster on "Weekend Update," but as the featured speaker at a St. Mickey's K of C dinner. Chico received a speaking fee of 900 bucks to deliver the following address:
"Thank you berry much. Baseball been berry berry good to me. Thank you. God bless you. Gracias... Keep you eye on de ball."
Chico was introduced as a former second baseman and shortstop for the Cubs, although later on, of course, he would be called a former Met, as illustrated by his tell-all memoir, Bad Stuff Bout the Mets. St. Mickey's, though, apparently is situated in someplace like Blue Island, Illinois, given the accents of the characters involved.
Does it seem possible that a sketch-comedy show would present something like the St. Mickey's K of C today? Do people even know what a Knights of Columbus is? The middle-aged blue-collar Catholics in those skits, so familiar to me, are presented not really as figures of fun but as recognizable characters. They are caricatured rather than lampooned. If someone did a skit about those people today, they'd have to make them reactionary pedophiles or something, to keep a fair distance from them. I can't imagine Will Ferrell presenting an affectionate portrait of some of his father's cronies the way John Belushi does in these skits.