Sincere humility and gratitude aren't qualities one normally associates with the entertainment industry. That's why I was bowled over during the closing segments of Saturday Night Live's recent 40th-anniversary broadcast.
The "Wayne's World" sketch featured Mike Myers and Dana Carvey reprising their roles as hosts of a cable-access TV show that ends with a Top 10 list. Previous installments have featured rankings of their favorite albums and music videos (the more risquè the title or content, the better). On this outing, however, the ever-youthful duo's list was "The Top 10 Things About SNL".
The #1 item had nothing to do with sex, drugs or rock and roll. No, for Wayne and Garth, the best thing about Saturday Night Live is... the crew! The hosts gave a heartfelt thanks to the camera operators, cue-card holders, and all of the other behind-the-scenes employees whose hard work and dedication are rarely acknowledged publicly.
Yet in a national prime-time broadcast seen by over 23 million people, those tireless men and women were given a standing ovation by the show's hosts and an audience filled with the likes of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Jerry Seinfeld, Taylor Swift and other A-list celebrities.
Watch the segment here.
This morning, NBC's TODAY aired a segment that explained why Eddie Murphy chose not to get easy laughs by impersonating Bill Cosby on SNL's Jeopardy! parody. Murphy declined to participate in the skit because he didn't want to "kick a man when he is down," according to fellow cast member Norm Macdonald.
Are there bigger ethical issues in the world than the goings-on in a television comedy show? Yes. If Bill Cosby really is guilty of the horrendous charges against him, does he deserve to be punished? Yes.
But with public expressions of humility and gratitude so few and far between, the choices made by Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, and Eddie Murphy deserve our respect, because they are signs of something all-too-rare in popular culture or anywhere else: high character.
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What do you think? As always, I welcome your thoughts.
Thank you for reading this blog. Live honorably!
Warm regards from ice-cold New York City,
Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D.
The Ethics Guy®
Keynote speech excerpts
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