The Nerds

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"The Nerds" is a series of sketches on American sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live. [1] The protagonists of the sketch are Lisa Loopner (played by Gilda Radner) and Todd DiLaMuca (played by Bill Murray), whose repartée with one another would be the focus of the sketch,[1][2] and regular character Mrs. Loopner (played by Jane Curtin), Lisa's mother, in whose home the sketches were usually set.[2] Virtually all the time Mrs. Loopner, a widow, would wear a housecoat, she often referred to her "wifely duties" concerning her late husband, and told Lisa Loopner to "...go warm up the Gremlin..." before they went out somewhere.

Todd would often give Lisa noogies by getting her in a headlock and knocking her on the top of the head,[3] and a regular element of the sketches would be Todd making fun of her flat chest. He'd look down her shirt to see whether there were "any new developments" and then make a disparaging comment such as "Better put some Band-Aids on those mosquito bites," to which Lisa's weary reply was often "That's so funny I forgot to laugh," or "The last time I heard that I fell off my dinosaur".[2]

Todd's name was originally given as "Todd LaBounta", but was changed in later sketches after legal action was threatened by a real person with that name; when the earlier LaBounta "Nerd" sketches were re-run on repeat SNL broadcasts, the audio was re-edited so that Todd's last name was not heard.

Guest stars included Michael Palin, who played Mr. Brighton, Lisa's piano teacher with an uncontrollable libido, in two sketches; Buck Henry as Todd's father, Marshall; and Steve Martin as Todd's rival Chas the Spaz.[citation needed]

In 1979, the series producers came up with a sketch in the series titled "Nerds' Nativity". Intended to be aired three days before Christmas Day, the sketch was a source of friction between the show's producer, Lorne Michaels, and NBC's standards department; the standards department contended that it was inappropriate to spoof the nativity of Jesus; the producer countered that in fact the sketch was spoofing nativity plays. In the end, the sketch was broadcast, although with some of the dialogue cut, resulting in viewers sending letters of complaint to the program.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mansour 2005a, pp. 417
  2. ^ a b c Schuster, Nance & Fherenbach 1992, pp. 146
  3. ^ Mansour 2005b, pp. 340
  4. ^ Freedman 2008, pp. 50
  • Freedman, Leonard (2008). The offensive art: political satire and its censorship around the world from Beerbohm to Borat. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-35600-1.
  • Schuster, Hal; Nance, Scott; Fherenbach, Kurt (1992). SNL!: the world of Saturday night live. Pioneer Books. ISBN 978-1-55698-322-1.
  • Mansour, David (2005a). "Saturday Night Live Nerds". From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Andrews McMeel Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7407-5118-9.
  • Mansour, David (2005b). "Noogie". From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Andrews McMeel Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7407-5118-9.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hill, Doug; Weingrad, Jeff (1986). Saturday night: a backstage history of Saturday night live. Beech Tree Books. pp. 168–170. ISBN 978-0-688-05099-3.
  • Arthur M. Sackler Foundation (1985). "Saturday Night Live". American film. 11. American Film Institute. pp. 29, 59.