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Film / Mr. Saturday Night

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Mr. Saturday Night is a 1992 comedy-drama film that details the rise and fall of fictional stand-up comedian Buddy Young, Jr., played by Billy Crystal, who also makes his directorial debut with the film. The film is shown from the perspective of Buddy in present-day as an old man with flashbacks to his earlier life featuring his highs and lows. Also stars David Paymer as his brother Stan, who works as his manager, Julie Warner as his wife Elaine, and co-stars Helen Hunt and Ron Silver.


This Film Contains Examples of:

  • As Himself: Comedians Jerry Lewis, Carl Ballantine, Slappy White, and Jackie Gayle would all appear at the New York Friars' Club, where Buddy had lunch with them.
  • Big Eater: Buddy and Stan's family were these, and even incorporated in their comedy act, which they told in front of them as teens. They all found it hilarious.
  • Big Name Fan: In-universe, Hollywood director Larry Meyerson was a big fan of Buddy and initially wanted him to be in his movie.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Buddy would blow his chance at starring in the movie, but after getting told of by Stan, Buddy would take a level in kindness and make peace with his family while enjoying himself perfroming in small clubs for elders.
  • Borscht Belt: Buddy was born and raised around the area and got his start in comedy there.
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  • Career Resurrection: In-Universe, as an old man, Buddy wanted one more chance at the spotlight, first as a warm-up comic and a commercial, both chances which he ruined with his comedic tendencies. Then he would be offered a part in a movie that was specifically written for him He wouldn't get it, as Walter Matthau would accept it and while Buddy would be offered a smaller part the director would feel he would do good in, Buddy's ego would once again kill another opportunity.
  • Creator Killer: In-Universe, Buddy's CBS show was competing against ''Davy Crockett'' and despite Stan's wishes, Buddy's monologue makes insulting gay remarks about this show, which didn't go over well with the audience and saw his show end and his career go downhill.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: For all his faults, Buddy loved his mother dearly and one of the most satisfying things he did in his life was make her laugh and was visibly broken when she passes away.
  • Expy:
    • Relating to the Davy Crockett incident, Buddy would fire the comedy writers who wrote a more appropriate monologue for him to perform instead of his original, one of whom was an expy for Woody Allen, and would even be referred to as "Woody".
    • The filmmaker who pitches a movie to him with a role that was written with Buddy in mind, but didn't initially consider him since he thought he was dead. Subverted as he would cast Walter Matthau instead.
  • Flashback: We would see Buddy in various points of his life in these.
  • George Jetson Job Security: The minutes before the Davy Crockett incident, Buddy, in a sour mood, was firing crew members left and right.
  • The Heckler: In his first stage appearance at the Catskills, Buddy started off bombing and getting heckled by a fat man. Buddy would thing fling insults at him, which would bring the laughs and be the beginning of his stage persona.
  • Heel Realization: After he blows his chance at reviving his career, Buddy and Stan have a heated argument which ends with Stan telling him he could have been nicer. Buddy would then do so and make peace with his family.
  • Insult Comic: Which is Buddy's comedy persona, though even off-stage, he could be quite condescending.
  • Jerkass: Buddy is an egotist whose mouth gets him in trouble, insulting the people who could advance his career, rude to his family (except his wife, but even then he can be neglectful), temperamental when things don't go his way and blames everyone but himself for his career downfall.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Buddy is right, his booking on the Ed Sullivan Show was poor. Things would have worked out better if they put him before the Beatles as a warm-up comic, where he would have had a chance to shine.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Buddy might be alienating to them, but he does love his family very much.
  • Jews Love to Argue:
    • Again part of Buddy and Stan's comedy act in front of the family, about their Uncles. "You're spitting in the cookies!" " It makes them moist!"
    • Also with Buddy and Stan, sometimes in good humor, other times, not so much.
  • Job Title: Mr. Saturday Night.
  • Old Shame: Another In-Universe example, with his appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in which he performed... right after the biggest band in the world performed, which made the audience so excited, they ignored his act and it ended up being cut short. This would be a Berserk Button for Buddy for years to come.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Buddy is the Red Oni to Stan's Blue Oni.
  • Running Gag: Buddy and family do this with each other: (Make insulting comment) "See what I did there? I made it sound like I was going to say (insert sweet comment) when I said (insulting comment)."
  • Sibling Team: Subverted with Buddy and Stan, who started off as a comedy team entertaining their family as children and talked of hitting it big together, but on their first performance, Stan chickens out, letting Buddy go out and perform by himself. That said, Stan would become his manager, so he was still a big part of his career, for better or worse until his retirement. He would be replaced with Annie Wells.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Even after his career is in shambles, Buddy never lost the ego.
  • Snark Knight: Buddy would often snark to others, even made some remarks about himself.
  • Spin-Off: Believe it or not, yes. Buddy Young Jr. actually made an appearance on Saturday Night Live during Weekend Update, where he gave a review of a restaurant and would even banter with Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash, during Billy Crystal's tenure as a cast member in the 1984-1985 season.
  • The Unfavorite: Buddy feels this way about his daughter Susan, who's had problems in her adult years with shoplifting and drugs. Even as a child, Buddy wasn't that great to her, as when she was part of his act, he asked for her funny face, told her needs work, which didn't make her too happy and would also replace her with an actress playing his daughter. Also there was another episode where he screamed at her to take off a funny wig before the Davy Crockeyy incident mentioned above. All this in contrast to a son he mentioned who's a successful lawyer. Buddy would make it up to her eventually, giving her a check to help her and even asked her to do the funny face again, which he called "perfect".
  • Wedding Day: Shown with Buddy and Elaine.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: A male example with Buddy.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Buddy would incorporate Yiddish words in his act and even at one point in an early stage appearance (where he would meet Elaine), he even did a song in the language!

Example of: