In light of Jim Carrey getting grief about his impression of the late Charlton Heston in a sketch mocking gun owners, it’s worth noting that nobody made fun of Heston better . . . than Heston himself.
Shortly after the Brady Bill was passed, Charlton Heston appeared on Saturday Night Live, in a fake ad for “the National Rifle Association Five Day Loaner Program.” (You may have to watch an ad from Hulu before the sketch begins.)
While you’re waiting for your gun, the criminals are stealing theirs, and running amok! That’s why the National Rifle Association is proud to introduce our answer to the Brady Bill blues: the NRA Five-Day Loaner. That’s right! We will lend you a handgun for five business days while the authorities complete your background checks!
As he holds up the .44 Magnum, the Chyron helpfully explains, “WOULD BLOW YOUR HEAD CLEAN OFF.”
It is utterly amazing, in that Heston joyfully plays with the stereotype of the gun nut who sees all guns of all types as “perfect for home protection.” And yet, he closes the sketch with, “You may be asking, ‘Is this legal?’ Well, they have the Brady Bill; we have the Bill of Rights, so come on down.” The SNL studio audience applauds and cheers.
I’ve never seen this sketch in any of the SNL reruns or “Best of” specials. I only discovered it a few months ago looking around Hulu, and my friend Cam, host of NRA News’s “Cam and Company,” said he had never seen it or heard it discussed by the NRA folks either.
I wonder how the world would react if Wayne LaPierre or Tom Selleck did a sketch like this today.