Friday, January 4, 2013

Saturday Night Live- Danny Devito (1988): "Bankrupt Scrooge"


First aired December 3, 1988.
  
"Last Christmas...that was a doozy, wasn't it!  Those three ghosts coming to visit me, and me changing from mean and all happy and everything.  Boy, that was something!"  
-Scrooge (Danny DeVito)

This is a bit of a change of pace for this blog.  This sketch came from an episode of SNL that featured no other Holiday-themed material, so I won't review the whole episode, or give it our traditional "candy canes" rating.  But I figured it was worth mentioning this sketch during Dickensfest 2012.  

Back in 1988, I remember watching a sketch that featured Danny Devito playing Scrooge the year AFTER he was visited by three spirits who convinced him to change his ways.  This is something I'd thought about ever since I became aware of A Christmas Carol when I was a kid.  I recently sought it out to see if it was still funny 24 years later.

Scrooge (Danny DeVito) talks to Bob Cratchit (Dana Carvey) on Christmas Eve.
It's Christmas Eve, Ebenezer Scrooge is working hard, trying to get some things done before the Holiday.  He asks if his employee Bob Cratchit (Dana Carvey) can work late that night.  Cratchit says he was planning on leaving early, he expected Scrooge would allow him that the after the way he acted last year.


 Scrooge relents and tells Cratchit it's okay to leave.  He gives Cratchit a chicken for Christmas Dinner and calls it a turkey.  Cratchit is a grateful, but a bit disappointed, since Scrooge gave him the "prize turkey" the year before.


In the year since his transformation, Scrooge has "taken it in the pants" financially.   Cratchit hopes he hasn't lost the Christmas spirit.  Scrooge says he hasn't and tells Cratchit to go ahead and leave early.

We also learn that Scrooge has had to move Tiny Tim to a less expansive hospital.  Scrooge says the hospital was "coddling" Tim and he was never going to walk if he stayed there. 

Scrooge's business is visited by Mary Whistlesnick (Victoria Jackson).  She's collecting alms for the Spendthrift Drunken Sailors Home.  Whistlesnick thanks Scrooge for his donation last Christmas and figures he can give more.  When he declines, Whistlesnick tells him a sob story, if Scrooge doesn't help, some sailors might have to face Christmas without getting drunk.  Scrooge loses it a bit, turns into his old self for a moment. He calls Christmas "a humbug!".  Scrooge catches himself, then decides to give 10 pounds to the Sailors Home.

Mary Whistlesnick begs Scrooge for a donation.
 Cratchit says Scrooge needs to learn to say no.  He invites Scrooge to come to his house for dinner, Scrooge declines, saying he has to much work to do.  He's suddenly visited by a familiar spirit:Marley's Ghost (Kevin Nealon) has returned.  He's worried that Scrooge is losing his Christmas Spirit.  Marley sends Scrooge off to dine with the Cratchits and offers to finishes Scrooge's work.  Scrooge complies and departs with Cratchit.

Marley returns!
This sketch is not included in the version of this episode that streams on Netflix and isn't transcribed on the excellent SNL Transcripts site.  Which means it's a bit obscure even among SNL enthusiasts. 


 It's not the funniest SNL sketch ever, not even the best Scrooge parody.  But there aren't many sketches/films/episodes that deal with Scrooge's life after A Christmas Carol.  So if you're a hardcore Scroogeophile or Christmas episode fanatic (like you know I am!), "Bankrupt Scrooge" is worth seeking out. 

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