Sprockets (Saturday Night Live)

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Title card from Saturday Night Live's Sprockets, with the title superimposed over the flash of a nuclear explosion.
Mike Myers as Dieter.

Sprockets was a recurring, fictional West German television talk show sketch created by actor, writer and comedian Mike Myers and actor Dana Andersen for Second City Theatre. The show parodied German art culture in the 1980s.

Development[edit]

The sketch parodied German stereotypes, especially those pertaining to German seriousness, efficiency, and precision. Myers later ported the character to television for the Canadian sketch comedy show It's Only Rock & Roll and the American sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live.

Myers played "Dieter", a bored, disaffected West German expressionist and minimalist who would interview celebrities in whom he was demonstrably barely interested, and then invariably sought to bring the discussion around to his "limited" monkey, Klaus, seated on a platform atop a miniature column. Myers has stated he based the character on a waiter he encountered in Toronto[1] as well as German musician Klaus Nomi.[2]

Appearing asexual or effeminate, and rotating his shoulders (he occasionally described becoming so excited that his genitals were sucked up into his body cavity), Myers' costume in the character of Dieter consisted of black tights, black turtleneck sweater, round, wire-rimmed glasses, and slicked back hair. The skit itself featured, most notably, a section entitled Germany's Most Disturbing Home Videos, which showcased scenes of old men's heads spinning around, dying cats, ants, and other disturbing sights.

The theme song for the sketch was Kraftwerk's 1986 song "Electric Café", sped up by playing the 33⅓ rpm album at 45 rpm, then looped.[citation needed]

Recurring and memorable quotes from the sketches include:

  • "You have disturbed me almost to the point of insanity...There. I am insane now."
  • "Touch my monkey!" and "Liebe meine Apschminki!" ("Love my monkey!"), a recurring reference to Dieter's pet monkey, Klaus. Dieter told his guests that being allowed to touch Klaus was a privilege, but Klaus would often bite them when they tried to do so.
  • "Your story (questions, setup) has become tiresome," whenever Dieter became - inevitably - bored with a guest.
  • "I am filled with anticipation (remorse), and it is most delicious."
  • "Your presence intimidates me to the point of humiliation."
  • "Now is ze time on Sprockets vhen ve dance!" This was always uttered frantically at the end of the sketch, after which several Sprockets crew members dressed identically to Dieter joined him onstage to jerkily dance to techno music.

Some later sketches featured Dieter outside of his talk show environment starring in parodies of game shows, TV dance parties, and art films.

List of SNL episodes featuring Dieter[edit]

All appearances were in the form of Sprockets shows, except where indicated.

Karl-Heinz Shalke (Kyle MacLachlan) obliges Dieter's request to "touch my monkey".

Proposed film adaptation[edit]

The sketch was to be the basis for a film to be released in 2000, featuring Myers, Will Ferrell, David Hasselhoff, and Jack Black, but abandoned in 1999 after Mike Myers became dissatisfied with his own script.[7] Less than a week after Myers informed Universal Studios of his decision, the studio sued Myers for their $3.8 million in pre-production costs.[7] One month later, Myers was hit with a second lawsuit, this time from Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment. "He claimed he had not approved the screenplay. Who wrote the screenplay--Myers," the Imagine lawsuit stated. Imagine claims Myers backed out after it and Universal agreed to his demands for more pay and millions of dollars were spent in pre-production. "This was not the first time Myers engaged in such conduct," the suit contended. "He has followed a pattern and practice of breaking his promises, betraying the trust of others and causing serious damage to those with whom he deals through selfish, egomaniacal and irresponsible conduct." The Superior Court lawsuit sought more than $30 million in actual damages plus punitive damages.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Profiles of Mike Myers and Julia Roberts". CNN. 2002-08-03. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  2. ^ "Episode 518 - Mike Myers". WTF with Marc Maron. 2014-07-28. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  3. ^ "Sprockets 1989-04-15". Saturday Night Live Transcripts. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  4. ^ "Sprockets 1989-09-30". Saturday Night Live Transcripts. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  5. ^ "Sprockets 1990-09-29". Saturday Night Live Transcripts. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  6. ^ "Sprockets 1992-05-16". Saturday Night Live Transcripts. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  7. ^ a b "A Done Dieter". Entertainment Weekly. 2000-06-16. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  8. ^ "Myers Slapped With Second Lawsuit". ABC News. 2001-07-07. 

External links[edit]