"One More Mission" and "Master Thespian ('Hamlet' Version With John Lithgow)"
Jon Lovitz, cast member, 1985-1990: Phil Hartman and I did "One More Mission." It was in the style of movies from the Forties where they talk really fast. I was playing the head of a studio at the end of World War II. Phil was Johnny O'Connor, who played a flying ace in the movies, a war hero. Johnny got too into the role. He really thinks he's a war hero. I have to tell him the war's over.
Phil's like my brother. I loved working with him. We rehearsed it a lot, so the scene really works. There's a difference between a premise and a sketch. A sketch has a beginning, a middle and an end. It's a mini-movie. There's a climax and a resolution. Sometimes it takes hours or days to figure it out.
The third "Master Thespian" that I did with
John Lithgow has a perfect structure. He's in bed. I come over and go, "I
have two tickets for you to see me in Hamlet tonight," and he goes, "I can't go, I'm too
sick." By the end of the scene, I end up in bed, sick, and I go, "Let's
practice the death scene," and then – it's a very silly sketch – I go, "Oh,
I've gone too far, I'm actually dying. I can't go on. Who will I ever get to
replace me?" He rips off his nightgown and he's dressed as Hamlet. I go, "I've
got to see it!" and he goes, "I have two tickets!" and I go, "Oh,
good!" That's a great sketch.