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The Church Lady

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Churchlady
The Church Lady
Occupation: Church lady/talk show host
Catch Phrase(s): "Well, isn't that special?"
"Now, who could it be? Could it be...SATAN?"
"How conveeenient."
Appearance(s): October 11, 1986
November 8, 1986
November 15, 1986
December 6, 1986
January 24, 1987
February 21, 1987
March 28, 1987
May 23, 1987
October 24, 1987
December 5, 1987
February 27, 1988
November 5, 1988
December 17, 1988
December 16, 1989
January 12, 1990
February 24, 1990
March 17, 1990
December 1, 1990
October 26, 1996
October 21, 2000
February 5, 2011
Portrayer(s): Dana Carvey

The Church Lady was a recurring character in a series of sketches on the American television show Saturday Night Live, in which she would have a show called Church Chat.

About the character Edit

Created and played by the male Dana Carvey, The Church Lady is an elderly woman named Enid Strict, who is the uptight, smug, and pious host of her own talk show, "Church Chat". Enid is a spoof of "holier-than-thou" Christian televangelists. On her "show", (which only lasts the duration of the sketch itself) she has multiple guests, usually celebrities of the time played by other cast members of SNL or by the actual celebrities themselves, who appear to be interviewed by her. However, the interviews are only a guise for her to call the celebrity guests out on their various sins (which are often publicly known news events of the day). They initially receive sarcastic praises from her, until the interview eventually degrades into a tirade against their apparent lack of piety and their secular lifestyles, culminating with her judgmental admonishments and damnation. She often takes others to task for following the desires of their "naughty parts".

Carvey said he based the character on women he knew from his church growing up, who would keep track of his and others' attendance.

The character has become immediately recognizable and has made numerous appearances on SNL, (even after Carvey's departure from the show as a regular cast member), but she was never incorporated into a feature length film, as many of SNL's other recurring characters were. She is known for always wearing a high-collared purple dress, a sweater, visible knee-high stockings, and a pair of old-fashioned wire-rimmed glasses. She was known for the catchphrases, "Well, isn't that special?" and "Could it be...SATAN?!" (the latter would eventually always end with a haunting echo as the sketch went further on in years). When sufficiently satisfied with herself, she would mug for the camera, while twitching the corners of her mouth from one side to the other for an indefinite length of time. She also gave advice in response to "letters" she received. Furthermore, whenever she felt that she had demonstrated her superiority, she would do her "Superior dance" in which she would rhythmically strut to pipe organ music in front of her inferiors.

Memorable moments Edit

One sketch found child actor Fred Savage playing Enid's niece. Savage was dressed in a miniature version of Enid's outfit and glasses, and co-spoke all of the familiar admonishing catchphrases, as well as performing the "Superior Dance" at the end of the sketch. In the same sketch was a visit from Donald Trump (as played by Phil Hartman), right after his legendary divorce. The Church Lady scolded him and his "jezebel", to which Trump responded by frankly telling her that he "could buy and sell this freakshow, or dog and pony act, or whatever".

Another notable moment featured actor Sean Penn, playing himself as a guest on the show. During the interview, the Church Lady (who accidentally calls him "Sin", and then quickly corrects her "mistake") makes numerous references to his then-wife Madonna, and her overt sexuality. The more she goes on about his wife's "bulbous buttocks gyrating" and her displaying of her "chestal area", the more angered Penn becomes, until he eventually throws a punch, hitting her directly in the nose. Carvey recalls that he was genuinely scared because Penn (who was well known for losing his temper) came dangerously close to actually hitting him.

Another classic moment was when she interviewed Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker (played by Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks) at the height of the sex scandal involving Bakker and Jessica Hahn. During the show the televangelists begged for donations and a mascara dripping Tammy Faye recounted her experience with "demonic raisins".

Dana Carvey recalls that he was prompted by Lorne Michaels to introduce the character (when it was still in SNL rehearsals) at a Neil Young concert at Madison Square Garden, which Church Lady interrupted, fussing and fuming: "What are we doing here? What's all this noise?"

Popular catch phrases Edit

  • "Well, isn't that special?"
  • "Now, who could it be? Could it be...SATAN?!" In one of the most memorable moments, during a December broadcast, she rearranged letters on a magnet board spelling "Santa" to reveal "Satan".
  • "How Conveeenient."

See Also Edit

Dana Carvey

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