Remembering the Civil War … SNL Style

This was Saturday Night Live‘s take on the general population’s understanding of the American Civil War circa 1994:

Announcer V/O: “Civil War Memories”. Ordinary Americans who never completed high school look back at the War Between the States.

Part 6: The Battle for Charleston.

[ dissolve to illustrations of the Civil War battles ]

The Battle for Charleston, South Carolina, was one of paramount importance for both the Union and the Confederacy. Charleston was the jewel of the South; and, for the North, the road to victory led inevitably through its streets.

[ dissolve to Richard Panero, a crossing guard ]

Richard Panero: General Lee knew if he lost Charleston, the war was over. But the odds were against him, because the North had a lot more troops, faster horses, much bigger tanks, jets, planes and Scud missiles.

[ dissolve to illustrations of the Civil War battles ]

Announcer V/O: Indeed, the North’s firepower far exceeded that of the South. But the South had one key advantage over General Sherman’s Union forces.

[ dissolve to Denise Tompkins, a laundromat supervisor ]

Denise Tompkins: Advantage? I don’t know! It’s what, the 1800’s and something, right? So, maybe the Southern people, ’cause they live there and stuff, know where to hide! And the North’s people couldn’t find them, ’cause they don’t live there! Duh!

[ dissolve to illustrations of the Civil War battles ]

Announcer V/O: Knowledge of the terrain didn’t prove a key advantage for the South and its wily commander, General Robert E. Lee.

[ dissolve to Damon Watson, an exotic dancer ]

Damon Watson: General Lee was nobody’s fool! I remember he said to the troops, “Boys, ask not what your country can do for you, ’cause the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I have a dream!” So, when Lincoln heard that, he was, like, “I better hightail it to Charleston, ’cause it’s time for one of my Gettysburg addresses.”

[ dissolve to illustrations of the Civil War battles ]

Announcer V/O: In August 1863, Union guns opened fire, setting much of downtown Charleston ablaze.

[ dissolve to Craig Schenk, a sporting goods salesman ]

Craig Schenk: The North was shooting these guns, and.. taking people, and they were, like, “Let’s get it on!!” And the other guys were, like, “No way!!” It was sick! Then the North went.. [motioning with his arms] ..Wham! Wham! Wham!!

[ dissolve to James Barone ]

James Barone: And the number of casualties was staggering, right? But it was worse for the South, ’cause the North started getting help from these alien spaceships, right? And no martian’s gonna hold off against those space torpedos. Fuggidaboutit! Right? Ohhh!

[ dissolve back to Craig Schenk ]

Craig SchenkWham! Wham.. wham!! And then this southern plugged this Nazi guy in a headlock! And started pounding him! [demonstrates] Bam! Bam bam bam bam!!

[ dissolve to illustrations of the Civil War battles ]

Announcer V/O: General Lee’s battle-wary troops fought bravely.. but they were no match for General Sherman’s neo-Nazi reserves.

[ cut to footage of a Nazi army casting “Heil!” to Hitler ]

These men fared even worse against the ray guns of the Martian flying saucers.

[ dissolve to illustrations of the Civil War battles, with “Star Wars” music potted over ]

General Lee knew the end of Charleston was near.

[ dissolve to Eric Milligan, a highway worker ]

Eric Milligan: I like to eat the Charleston Chew candy bar. [laughs] See? Charleston Chew. [holds up his chewy candy bar] Like the battle of Charleston – same thing. That’s why I eat ’em! [chews his Charleston Chew, with a smile] Chewy.

[ dissolve back to Craig Schenk ]

Craig Schenk: [ still ] And then, finally, there was this one Southern guy left! And he was up against, like, 2,000 ninjas.. and he yells out, “Do ya feel lucky, punk?! Well, do ya?” And then, uh.. this Arab guy pulls Indy’s heart out of his chest and shows it to him! Right in his face! [ ] Ahh, swear to God!

[ dissolve to Rajneesh Singh, a crossing guard ]

Rajneesh Singh: General Lee was crazy. He fights like a woman! The South loses everything. Abraham Lincoln was a very smart man. He won the war and got on the five-dollar bill, like would like to be someday!

[ dissolve to illustrations of the Civil War battles ]

Announcer V/O: General Lee’s longtime belief, that fighting like a woman would win him a place on the five-dollar bill, proved unfounded. The Confederacy’s days were numbered.

[ dissolve to Denise Tompkins ]

Denise Tompkins: I went to Myrtle Beach once – right? Which is right near Charleston. And I’m in the water, right? Looking at some guy, um.. when this huge wave hits me, and my bathing falls off and I’m standing there, my whole ass is hanging out! [laughs about the incident] And that was the end of that!

[ dissolve to illustrations of the Civil War battles ]

Announcer V/O: On April 9th, 1865.. General Robert E. Lee officially surrendered to General Grant. But it wasn’t until May 27th, 1992, when a Myrtle Beach wave knocked Denise Tompkins’ bathing suit off, and her whole ass was hanging out, that the War Between the States was officially brought to an end.

[ sweeping music ]

“Civil War Memories”. Ordinary Americans who never completed high school.. look back at the War Between the States.

[ fade ]


2 thoughts on “Remembering the Civil War … SNL Style

  1. BParks January 26, 2014 / 4:52 pm

    Oh this is so fitting as Connie’s latest rant includes the gem “don’t they know decency trumps intelligence” – so at least she’s willing to acknowledge their lack of intelligence. That is the first step toward coming to terms with the fact that they know nothing about history, diversity, inclusion, and unfortunately, decency (despite her original statement). Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovery Connie so props to you for finally being honest with yourself. Now if we can get Adolph Hathaway and Tripp Mengele to admit their ignorance now we are getting somewhere. Of course those nicknames are only in response to Connie equating us to Nazis. Two can play that game Hon’.

  2. Bob Nelson January 27, 2014 / 9:46 am

    Very funny. It’s nice, amid all the serious discussions, to have some humor now and again.

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