This ‘SNL’ skit helped make my career

Arnold Schwarzenegger was pumped up to learn he’d inspired “Saturday Night Live” stars Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon what would become one of the late night comedy show’s most notable sketches.

“Master of Disguise” star Carvey, 68, and “Weeds” alum Nealon, 69, had a recurring skit on the late night series back in the late 1980s, focused on two enthusiastic Austrian bodybuilders named Hans and Franz — alluding to Schwarzenegger’s nationality and iconic muscular physique.

The former governor of California, 76, revealed recently his appreciation for the sketches — and how they helped American viewers become accustomed to his thick accent.

Schwarzenegger spoke with Carvey and co-host David Spade on a recent installment of the duo’s Fly on the Wall podcast, where he called the classic “SNL” bits “heaven.”

“You have to understand that when I first wanted to get into acting, one of the first things they said was, ‘This won’t work,’” the “Terminator” star recalled.

Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon in their famous Hans and Franz “SNL” sketch in 1987.
Courtesy Everett Collection

“No one in America has ever made it that had an accent. No one could be a leading man or anything like this. It’s really tough,” he sighed.

He went on: “People want to hear someone talk like John Wayne, like Clint Eastwood or Al Pacino, those were the guys.”

The father of five added: “Then I realized that I had to make the accent something, not to hide it, but to actually make something of it.”

He continued to note that the Hans and Franz skit came along and “legitimized” his dialect, because “now there was someone that took the subject of [an] accent and had a good time with it.”

Schwarzenegger hails from Austria and has made his fortune by being a bodybuilder in America.
Getty Images for Fane

“Not to make fun of it, but to actually entertain people with it. I always said from that point on, it became much more accepted, the whole thing and really became much easier for me,” Schwarzenegger said.

Nealon and Carvey were on their first comedy tour in 1987, where they came up with the idea for the skit.

The sketch first popped up on the 13th season premiere of “SNL.”

When the “Wayne’s World” star left the show in 1993, the characters were officially retired. However, the following year when Carvey was a guest host, Hans and Franz appeared on the segment “Weekend Update.”

A Hans and Franz film was even optioned in the early ’90s, with Schwarzenegger was set to produce. But the flick stayed in development hell and never came to fruition.

Schwarzenegger made a guest appearance in the skit alongside Carvey, Nealon and Danny DeVito in 1988.
©NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection

Earlier this month, Schwarzenegger had also spoke about the Hans and Franz parodies on the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast.

He asked the talk show host, 60, about the trashed movie and encouraged O’Brien to make it.

Schwarzenegger also spoke about a previous episode of O’Brien’s show that he found hilarious, with O’Brien, Carvey and Nealon acting out scenes from the unmade movie script.

“It was so funny,” Schwarzenegger said. “There’s no comedy movie, to be honest with you, that I have laughed that much [at] than just listening to you. It was fantastic. It was so well written and I hope they do it. I really hope they do it. You still can do it.”


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