An Imaginary Dialogue Between
President Reagan and Henry Kissinger
Saturday Night Live Sketch
Sketch from the Terry Southern Archive
by Terry Southern
Scene: Oval office, Ron at his big desk. On the wall behind
him is a large map of the Middle East, with about 50 little
American flag-pins scattered up and down the Persian Gulf.
Emblazoned in black beneath the map are the words:
"GO AHEAD, MR. KHOMANI.
Make My Day!
Henry Kissinger, wearing a seer-sucker suit and sweating
profusely, enters the office. Ron stands, shake his hand, and
gives him his 'Boss Charm' smile.
RON: Hello, Hank! Good to see you. Good to see
you'. Please sit down.
He graciously gestures him into an armchair
near I the desk, and Kissinger sits down with a sigh.
RON (with a mischievious twinkle, assumes his
best German accent)
Vell, is it varm enough for you, Hank?, Hee-hee-hee.
KISSINGER (with a pained smile, goes along with
the exaggerated accent)
Yah, too varm, Mr. President, too varm in Vashington!
RON (jovially) Hey, do you remember von Sternberg
in Sunset Boulevard? You know, I ran into Zanuck's kid the
other day. What the heck is his name? Dickie.' Dickie Zanuck! I
said 'Listen, Hank Kissinger is a dead ringer for
von Sternberg in Sunset Boulevard--why don't you do a remake?
You know what he said?
KISSINGER (wearily): Vat?
RON: He said 'Great! Let's take a meet at the
Lounge, and we'll talk story! Ha! Isn't that classic'!
KISSINGER: Mr. President . . . vat vas it
ekzackly you vanted to zee-me about?
RON: Ah yes, well it's about The Prince.
You know what I mean? The Prince?
KISSINGER (in highly animated surprise): Vat? You
mean.zee zinger? Zee schwartze zinger?!?
RON (impatiently): No, no, I'm talking about the'book
--the book that tells you how to be a good ruler. It's by
an Italian--Felini, Antonioni, Mastriani...
KISSINGER (brightening fanatically) Ah you
mean.Machevilli's I Principia! Das Reichenfein! Of
course I know it! I gave it to Nixon, and he gave it to you!
RON (gleefully): I thought that-was your
KISSINGER (pleased): Yah, small vorld, eh? Heh,
RON: Okay, remember-the part about how when the
going gets tough-- that is,to say, when the people, especially
the smart ones, begin to turn nasty... like with this whole darn
KISSINGER (nodding sagely): Yah, dot is.der
time-for der foreign adventure!
Der external threat to der homeland! Ha!
(points to the map of the Persian Gulf, grins crazily)
You're on der right track mit dot-'crazy 'Make My Day' stuff! Dot
vill unite der people, und dey vill forget der big scam!
RON: And what about Mister Ayatollah scumbag?
Think he'll fall for the flag bit?
KISSINGER (shrugs): Vell, it looks good on
paper...but vat about der human element, vich, as vee
know, is subject to human error und human veakness.
RON (gleefully) : That's exactly what I'm
counting on! (winks) So I guess I don't have to tell you who'll
be in charge of the operation.
KISSSINGER (slaps his knee, eyes
glitteririg)Ollie!?! Big Ollie North!?! Oh dot big vunderful
RON (gleaming) : Isn't it just too marvelous! I
mean, are we talking Central Casting, or-what?
Know what I'm saying, Hank?
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