Mango (Saturday Night Live)
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Mango was a character performed by Chris Kattan on the American sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. The character was co-created and developed by Kattan and SNL writer Scott Wainio along with initial creative contributions by Roy Jenkins. Mango is a male exotic dancer who performed in a strip club. He would always wear tight lamé shorts and often a spangled beret. Mango spoke with a Hispanic accent, and though his nationality was never identified, he was said to be born on "Mango Island". He appeared on 16 SNL episodes between 1997 and 2002.
The concept was that Mango's sexual appeal was irresistible to anyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation, including males who are ostensibly heterosexual, a joke that was typically effected by making his admirer in each sketch celebrity guest host of that episode, who was usually male. Women who also fell under his spell included Ellen DeGeneres, his high school sweetheart played by Gwyneth Paltrow, and his suburban wife, portrayed by Molly Shannon. The sketches would usually revolve around Mango's being backstage at one of his "shows" (which appeared burlesque in nature). The host would then become obsessed with Mango, wanting to woo and make love to him, but Mango would resist until the host was driven insane. Part of this resistance usually involved Mango stretching out his arm towards the host in pose of acceptance as the host turned away, only to pull it away a second later when the host turned back around. A common joke involved Mango describing himself in ethereal terms, for example: "Can you know the mighty ocean? Can you lasso a star from the sky? Can you say to a rainbow... 'Hey, stop being a rainbow for a second'? No! Such is Mango!" Mango was also shown in one skit to have a wife and child, and always ended his skits by telling his admirer, "You can't-a have-a de Mango!" and slapping his own buttocks. Usually Mango would appear depressed at the end of episodes and say something similar to: "Oh, to be Mango! Why to be me?!" Though effeminate, Mango was adamant that he was not homosexual, claiming that he stripped to support his children as well as that he was "not the homo-gay". In one episode, Mango revealed that he himself harbored an attraction to Chris Gaines (Garth Brooks), only to have his dreams crushed when Gaines revealed himself as Brooks. In another episode, Mango expresses a similar admiration for Matt Damon, prompting host Ben Affleck to wear a blond wig in an effort to disguise himself as Damon. In another episode where he spends Christmas with his family, his entire family is shown to be wearing gold hot pants, although with more common outfits covering their torsos.
During several of his fans' obsessive daydream sequences, Mango would commonly appear in a thought cloud over the person's head, dancing provocatively in front of a mango to "Missing" by Everything but the Girl.
- Stephen Tropiano, The prime time closet: a history of gays and lesbians on TV (Hal Leonard Corporation, 2002), 255.
- Ryan, Paul (2007). The art of comedy: getting serious about being funny. Back Stage Books. p. XXI. ISBN 0-8230-8467-1. "Some of the greatest characters from Saturday Night Live were based on funny voices or physical characteristsics, such as Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady” character and Chris Kattan’s “Mango” character."
- Marc Robinson, Brought to You in Living Color: 75 Years of Great Moments in Television & Radio from NBC (John Wiley and Sons, 2003), 210.