Father Guido Sarducci

Father Guido Sarducci

Father Guido Sarducci is a fictional character made famous by American comedian Don Novello. Sarducci, a chain-smoking priest with tinted eyeglasses, works in the United States as gossip columnist and rock critic for the Vatican newspaper "L'Osservatore Romano".

Novello created the character in 1973, after he purchased the outfit (consisting of big floppy black hat, white clerical collar, and a long, red-trimmed black coat with cape) for $7.50 at a St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop. The character was featured in 1970s cartoons by underground cartoonists Dave Sheridan and Fred Schrier, appearing in person in the early 1970s on "Laugh In" and later in 1975 Smothers Brothers' TV show. His most prominent appearance was on "Saturday Night Live" in the late 1970s, during which time Novello was also a writer for the show. In the late 1970s, Father Guido Sarducci was featured on radio commercials for High Times Magazine where he offered to perform blessings for a fee.

On his first appearance on "Saturday Night Live", a skit called "How to Pay for Your Sins" on a 1978 episode hosted by Richard Dreyfuss, he was on crutches from an injury suffered during a dress rehearsal sketch about hockey players. Most of his appearances on "SNL" have been on Weekend Update, including one where he reported that "The take at the shrines in Italy has gone down" which he suggested correcting by creating "Shrinemobiles" and thus taking the shrines to where the people were, but he has appeared in three cold openings in the 1979–1980 season (on episodes hosted by Teri Garr, Elliot Gould, and Rodney Dangerfield), two commercial parodies ("MX-5 Tampons" on the 1981–1982 Christmas episode hosted by Bill Murray and "Bocce Ball My Way" on the last episode of the 1985–1986 season hosted by Anjelica Huston and Billy Martin), and two monologues on the 1985–1986 season (the first hosted by Madonna in a pretaped sketch showing Madonna's wedding to Sean Penn (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) and the second on the Christmas episode of the 1985–1986 season hosted by Garr as Sarducci's alter ego, Pope Maurice). Sarducci also hosted "SNL" during the mid-1980s (when Dick Ebersol was executive producer) and cameoed during two 1990s episodes, most notably on a Weekend Update segment where he reports on Pope John Paul II's missing wallet. Father Guido Sarducci has 31 appearances on "SNL", the most of any of the recurring characters.

In 1981 Novello made newspaper headlines when he visited Vatican City wearing the Father Guido Sarducci costume to do a photo shoot for "TIME" magazine. After taking pictures in an area where photography was prohibited, he and his photographer, Paul Solomon, were arrested by the Swiss Guards and Novello was charged with "impersonating a priest". Although the guards attempted to confiscate the film from the shoot, Solomon managed to hand them the wrong film. The charges were later dropped. In the early 1980s, Novello was featured in ads promoting candidates for the priesthood. He listed one advantage of being a priest as getting first pick at the annual parish garage sale.

During the 1980s and 1990s Sarducci appeared on other television shows, including "Fridays", "Married... with Children", "Blossom", "It's Garry Shandling's Show", and "Square Pegs". In 1984, he appeared in a music video for the Jefferson Starship song "No Way Out." In 1995, he appeared as a priest trying to perform an exorcism in the movie "Casper". The same movie featured a cameo by fellow "SNL" alumnus Dan Aykroyd as Ghostbuster Ray Stantz.

The character also appeared on the Handsome Boy Modeling School albums "So... How's Your Girl?" and "White People", telling biographical stories of the life of a professional male model in the latter. Novello also released two comedy albums as Sarducci: "Breakfast in Heaven" and "Live at St. Douglas Convent."
Strong Bad dressed as the character for the 2006 Homestar Runner Halloween special "Happy Hallow-day". He also appeared on the MSNBC show "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on March 19, 2005 discussing "The Da Vinci Code" and his DaVinci Code Decoder Ring.

His appearances on SNL inspired the name of a successful restaurant in the center of Montpelier, Vermont called Sarducci's, and another in Citrus Heights, California called Sarducci's Italian Cuisine.

Recently Father Guido Sarducci was present at the First Annual "Geno Roast" at the Aqua Turf in Southington, Connecticut. He gave the prayer of invocation and roasted the UConn Huskies women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma. He also made a guest appearance on the April 30, 2005 broadcast of NPR and Chicago Public Radio's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me..." news quiz, commenting on the ascension of Pope Benedict XVI.

ee also

* Recurring Saturday Night Live characters and sketches
* Saturday Night Live characters appearing on Weekend Update
* Don Novello

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