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:

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 old copy!

KISSINGER (pleased): Yah, small vorld, eh? Heh, 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 Iran-Contra mix-up?

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 galoot!

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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