Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Charles Rocket

Go To
Rocket hosting Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update segment.

Charles Adams Claverie (August 28, 1949 – October 7, 2005), known mostly by his stage name Charles Rocket (though he also was known as "Charlie Kennedy" and "Charlie Hamburger") was an American actor, comedian, musician, and TV news reporter best known for Saturday Night Live, Dumb and Dumber, and Hocus Pocus.

Despite being a member of one of Saturday Night Live's least-loved casts (season six, from 1980-1981), Rocket actually had a very creative background. In the 1960s, Rocket attended the Rhode Island School of Design (boasting such alumni as James Franco, Seth MacFarlane, David Byrne, and Gus Van Sant), making several short films (some of which were mock man-on-the-street news reports called "The Rocket Report", which became a recurring sketch when he was hired as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Coincidentally, those mock reports also landed Rocket two jobs as a real news anchor, making Charles Rocket the only Weekend Update anchor who was a legitimate news anchor. Normally, Weekend Update anchors are either show writers,note  cast members who are only good at comically serious roles,note  fan-favorite cast members,note  stand-up comics like Dennis Miller, Norm Macdonald, Colin Quinn, and Michael Che who only use the recurring sketch as a springboard for their acts,note  or, in the case of most of Dick Ebersol's episodes after Brad Hall was let go, a revolving door of male hosts [mostly comics like Don Rickles, George Carlin, and Robin Williams, though Edwin Newman, who actually was a TV news anchor, did fill in for an episode]) and fronting a band on accordion called The Fabulous Motels.


Before Lorne Michaels decided to temporarily leave SNL after season 5, he asked talent scout John Head to seek out potential new cast members, and Head returned with a tape of Rocket’s news report spoofs. Jean Doumanian (the show's associate producer at the time who notoriously became showrunner) became an instant fan, and hired Rocket as cast member for her ill-fated cast. Though Rocket did have his moments of being funny (as seen with his "Rocket Report" short films and his sole recurring character, Phil Lively, a game show host who continues the act at home with his lovely wife and assistant, Frances, played by Gail Matthius), a lot of people did not warm up to him (and his cool, often diva-like attitude backstage didn't make him any friends, least of all with Joe Piscopo, Eddie Murphy, or Gilbert Gottfried) and unfavorable comparisons to Chevy Chase and Bill Murray were made about him (more the former than the latter, since he was the tall, often clueless white guy who was a Weekend Update anchor).


Rocket's star came crashing down after the February 21, 1981 episode hosted by Dallas star Charlene Tilton with musical guest Todd Rungren and a performance by then-new talent Prince. (Yes, that Prince.) During the pre-credit goodbyes, Tilton asked Rocket how he felt about being shot in a "Who Shot J.R.?" Dallas spoof sketch (which started out as a somewhat risque late-night talk show parody about two swingers who get sexual while bathing a dog) that evening, to which Rocket replied "Oh, man, it's the first time I've ever been shot in my life. I'd like to know who the fuck did it." Despite the wild cheers and shocked faces from cast and audience alike, NBC (convinced that Saturday Night Live's humor was hitting rock bottom and showing signs of digging) freaked out, blamed Jean Doumanian for setting it up in a cheap attempt at controversy (when really Charles Rocket said it offhand and didn't know it would land him in so much trouble), and fired her, Rocket, and most of the cast (Gilbert Gottfried, Ann Risley, Matthew Laurance, Patrick Weathers, and Yvonne Hudson. Denny Dillon and Gail Matthius stayed until the last episode of the season, but ultimately were canned when the show was put on hiatus for retooling, while Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo stayed and became major stars during most of Dick Ebersol's run).

In the years after his firing, Rocket appeared in a long list of TV series (including Max Headroom, Miami Vice, Moonlighting, Murder, She Wrote, Wings, The X-Files, Star Trek: Voyager, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and Touched by an Angel) and films (Miracles, Earth Girls Are Easy, Dances with Wolves, Hocus Pocus, It’s Pat, and as the kidnapper Nicholas Andre in the Jim Carrey movie Dumb & Dumber), cast most often in villainous roles. Rocket also performed accordion on the 1982 B-52s album "Mesopotamia" and appeared in three music videos (Tom Petty's "Yer So Bad" and "King of the Hill", as well as The Refreshments' $2 1997 video for "Good Year"). Rocket's final film role came with the 2003 LA mob-run poker thriller Shade.

At 56, Rocket’s steady career as a television bit part regular and big-screen comedic foil came to a tragic end. On October 7, 2005, Rocket was found dead in his backyard from a slashed throat, which the police ruled a suicide.

He was married Beth Crellin and they had one child, Zane.

Film Roles

Television Roles

Video Game Roles


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: