Jump to content

Sprockets (Saturday Night Live)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Title card from Saturday Night Live's Sprockets, with the title superimposed over the flash of a nuclear explosion
Mike Myers as Dieter

Sprockets was a recurring comedy sketch from the NBC television series Saturday Night Live, created by and starring comedian Mike Myers as a fictional West German television talk show. The sketch parodied German art culture in the 1980s.



The sketch parodied German stereotypes, especially those pertaining to German seriousness, efficiency, and precision. Originally created for the Toronto company of the Second City comedy troupe, Myers later imported the character to television for the Canadian sketch comedy show It's Only Rock & Roll and the American sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live.

Myers played "Dieter", a bored, disaffected West German expressionist and minimalist who interviewed celebrities in whom he was demonstrably barely interested. He invariably sought to bring the discussion around to his "limited" monkey, Klaus, seated on a platform atop a miniature column. Myers has stated he based the character on a waiter he encountered, working at The Cameron House in Toronto,[1] as well as German musician Klaus Nomi[2] (after whom said monkey was named). Appearing effeminate (in his 1997 return as host Myers introduced his lover Helmut, played by Will Ferrell), Myers' "Dieter" costume consisted of black tights with a matching turtleneck sweater, round wire-rimmed glasses, and slicked-back hair.

On several occasions, the sketch featured a section titled Germany's Most Disturbing Home Videos. This showcased such scenes as an old man's head spinning around; a fat man, clad only in a diaper, cavorting in a lawn sprinkler; a man throwing up after being kicked in the genitals; the seemingly-lifeless body of a tramp whose face is covered with ants; and a man's trousers falling down in public, while he and his girlfriend are viewing an art gallery (the man is wearing a thong). The sketch typically ended with Myers declaring, "Now's the time on Sprockets when we dance!" and performing a jerky, robotic dance with several male stagehands who were similarly dressed in black tights and turtlenecks.

The theme song for the sketch was Kraftwerk's 1986 song "Electric Café" from a 33 RPM LP record which was sped up by playing it back at 45 RPM.[3][4]

Some later sketches featured Dieter outside of his talk show environment starring in parodies of game shows, TV dance parties, and art films.

Quotations from Dieter

  • "Your presence intimidates me to the point of humiliation. Would you care to strike me?"
  • "That film/poem looks at me while I'm naked, and calls its friends."
  • "I feel emotionally obliterated."
  • "That poem/film pulls down my pants and makes fun of me. But not in a malicious way."
  • "You have disturbed me almost to the point of insanity...There. I am insane now."
  • "I am filled with anticipation/remorse, and it is most delicious."
  • "Touch my monkey."
  • "I'm as happy as a little girl."

List of SNL episodes featuring Dieter

Karl-Heinz Shalke (Kyle MacLachlan) obliges Dieter's request to "touch my monkey".

All appearances were in the form of Sprockets shows, except where indicated.

Cancelled film adaptation


The sketch was to be used as the basis for a feature-length film titled Dieter's Day, which was to be directed by production designer Bo Welch (of both Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands fame) in his directorial debut and to star Myers alongside Will Ferrell, David Hasselhoff and Jack Black, but the project was cancelled in June 2000 after Myers became dissatisfied with his own script.[8] Less than a week after Myers informed Universal Pictures of his decision, the studio sued Myers for their $3.8 million spent in pre-production costs.[8] One month later, Myers was hit with a second lawsuit, this time from Imagine Entertainment, which claimed that "He [Myers] claimed he had not approved the screenplay. Who wrote the screenplay--Myers," Imagine claims Myers backed out after it and Universal agreed to his demands for more pay and millions of dollars were spent in pre-production. "This was not the first time Myers engaged in such conduct," the suit contended. "He has followed a pattern and practice of breaking his promises, betraying the trust of others and causing serious damage to those with whom he deals through selfish, egomaniacal and irresponsible conduct." The Imagine lawsuit sought more than $30 million in actual damages plus punitive damages.[9] Myers subsequently countersued both parties[10] and both lawsuits were later settled out of court, whereupon Myers and Welch agreed to make another film with both Universal and Imagine as replacement for the Dieter film; that film became The Cat in the Hat, which was directed by Welch, starred Myers as the titular character, and was released three years later in 2003.[11][12][13][14]

See also



  1. ^ "Profiles of Mike Myers and Julia Roberts". CNN. 2002-08-03. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  2. ^ "Episode 518 - Mike Myers". WTF with Marc Maron. 2014-07-28. Retrieved 2014-07-31.
  3. ^ Gregor, Neil; Irvine, Thomas (2019). Dreams of Germany: Musical Imaginaries From the Concert Hall to the Dance Floor. Berghahn Books. p. 281. ISBN 9781789200331.
  4. ^ Weber, Stephanie (February 24, 2011). "Riding the Trans-Europe Express". Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  5. ^ "Sprockets 1989-04-15". Saturday Night Live Transcripts. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  6. ^ "Sprockets 1989-09-30". Saturday Night Live Transcripts. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  7. ^ "Sprockets 1990-09-29". Saturday Night Live Transcripts. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  8. ^ a b "A Done Dieter". Entertainment Weekly. 2000-06-16. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  9. ^ "Myers Slapped With Second Lawsuit". ABC News. 2001-07-07.
  10. ^ "Mike Myers to Countersue in Film Dispute", ABC News (July 7, 2001).
  11. ^ "Myers, studio settle 'Dieter' lawsuit", Chicago Sun-Times (August 11, 2000).
  12. ^ "Myers settles Dieter dispute". BBC News. BBC. August 11, 2000. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  13. ^ Cosgrove-Mather, Bootie (March 7, 2002). "The Cat In The Hat Is Phat". CBS News. CBS. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  14. ^ Evans, Bradford (October 9, 2013). "'Dieter': The Surprisingly Funny Mike Myers Movie That Never Was". Vulture. New York Media, LLC. Retrieved 2018-04-08.