On September 11th, 2001, something happened that changed Amerideserve to life forever. It was a momentous day whose affect was so profound, widespreview and also long-lasting that Amerideserve to history can usetotally be split right into 2 categories: pre and also write-up.

You are watching: Turtley enough for the turtle club

Everyone knows wbelow they were once this historic event arisen. It is burned indelibly into the social memory, in our collective consciousness as Americans as a day that will certainly live in infamy, to paraphrase FDR’s words around another inwell known attack, this time on Pearl Harbor.

I’m speaking, of course, around exactly how Dana Carvey, a comedy terrorist of sorts in his complete ignore for the rules of propriety and single-minded hunger to make world laugh, and his gifted collaborators introduced a devastatingly successful, complete frontal assault on our collective funny bone by filming, on September 11th, 2001, the legendary Turtle Club sequence in the great Dana Carvey’s 2002 classical Master of Disguise.

The civilization was never before the exact same. To today, simply stating the words, “Turtle! Turtle! Turtle!” In a gratingly unorganic manner is enough to provoke Pavlovian shivers of delight from me and also my fellow Pistachio Nuts, as I just chose Master of Disguise super-fans are known.

To be a true Pistachio Nut, and not a pretender hopping on the bandwagon because it’s cool is to forever be asking yourself, and then answering truthfully, “Am I not turtley enough for the Turtle Club?”


That is the question Pistachio supplies to angrily and righteously confront a Turtle Club doorguy played by Brandon Molale, a towering previous footsphere player you could understand from such roles as Spilgrimage Club Bouncer in City of Lies, Beefy Patient in Grey’s Anatomy and also Nosemuch less Troglodyte in Bone Tomahawk once he confronts Pistachio and sidekick Jennifer Parker (Jennifer Esposito) and inquires, “Can I aid you? Are you a member of the Turtle Club?”

Before they enter the Turtle Club, Esposito, that does a very convincing project of seeming embarrassed down to her bones to be viewed and also linked through a guy who looks and acts favor Carvey’s iconic character Pistacho Disguiesy does, tells her overly enthusiastic compatriot, “I don ’t suppose to keep harping, however the name the Turtle Club, you recognize, is just a name. I think you’re taking it a small also literally.”

The great point about this line is that it artlessly spells out the premise of what’s to come. Pistachio is taking the name of the Turtle Club means as well seriously in that he thinks that it implies that in order to belong, to fit in, to literally be a member of the club you should look choose a turtle, act like a turtle, and possibly be a turtle too in in enhancement to communicating how a turtle presumably would certainly if it gained the gift of speech yet preserved the very same level of sub-human intelligence.


It would be like if I tried to crash a Cub Scouts meeting as an adult wearing a homemade bear costume made out of a bear rug I picked up at a thrift save and augmented through razor-sharp home-made “bear” clegislations and also teeth and also then howled choose I imagined a gull-grown grizzly bear could growl and also intended to fit in at Cub Scout meetings by dressing and acting that means.

I’m pretty certain I’d get swarm dead pretty easily if I were to attempt a stunt prefer that, deservedly so. I similarly suspect that if you were to display up at the Friar’s Club in Los Angeles without a membership or invitation yet were dressed in Monk’s robes and also chanting softly you would certainly be given the old heave-ho.

Pistachio mumble-stutters, “turtle, turtle” over the course of the scene in a viscerally unnerving alien whimper as if doing so increases his turtle significance in an appealing and also not disturbing and deeply counter-fertile manner.


It’d be like if I were an alien pretfinishing to be a humale being—which Pistachio definitely appears to more than the course of the film, and to increase my authenticity I constantly mumbled, “Human! Human! Human being person here!” In the exact same sing-song cadence as the Yip-Yip aliens from Severy same Street and supposed passerby to be all, “Hey, cool! Another huguy being! Almeans excellent to run into one more among those! Nopoint much better or even more natural than seeing one more huguy, non-alien just hanging out, mumbling about what species it belongs to!”

“He’s dreamt of this area considering that he was a boy. Do you think we might go in for a moment? We’ll be out in 5 minutes. Please?” Jennifer implores flirtatiously, using her beauty and also the complete force of her womanly charms to convince a guy who must know much better to let what shows up to be a mentally ill mutated turtle-man that keeps mumbling “turtle” into the club when his ONE JOB requires keeping the Pistacho Disguiseys of the civilization out.

Even prior to he enters the club, he is the facility of attention. Everyone understandably seems to be wondering what the fuck is going on via the mutated turtle-guy via his hideously deformed back squeezed uncomfortably right into a green suit making unsettling eye contact with strangers and also blurting through inexplicable but deeply unsettling hostility, “Turtle! Not turtle. TURTLE! Not turtle” as if going through the crowd to determine, on a patron-by-patron basis, whether or not they’re humans like everyone since the beginning of time, or people who are likewise, on some inexplicable but intense level also weird turtle-huguy hybrids like the fly in The Fly however you recognize, disturbing.


Pistachio keeps blurting out the word “turtle” throughout the scene for no discernible factor. It’s as if the word is a safety blanket, the only thing that have the right to possibly acquire his mind off the unspeakable horrors of the terrorist assaults of 9/11 that must have actually hit the Saturday Night Live breakout star incredibly cshed to home. So Carvey, though the character of Pistachio, keeps returning to them over and over aobtain, as if he cannot assist himself, as if the only point that makes feeling in a human being gone mad involves compulsively mumbling the word “turtle” as world look in via understandable horror and also confusion.

There’s clunky narrative work-related going on in the scene. It’s establiburned that Devlin Bowguy, the flatulent poor male Brent Spiner breathes life right into via his artisattempt is a member of the Turtle Club.

Jennifer purringly asks for the villain’s attend to or phone number, his contact information as it were, and if there’s one top quality the majority of villains share is that they don’t want to be also accessible, specifically to their nemeses.

At that suggest the weird, overpowering however Implicit aggression of Pistachio’s demented turtle regime becomes explicit. Due to the fact that if there’s one point turtles are famous for, it’s fucking world up. Seriously, you perform NOT desire to mess through a turtle. There is, after all, the story of the tortoise and also the hare, which ends through the hare acquiring bconsumed to death by an extremely angry turtle.


“What if HARM found its method to you? Dreadful, damaging, TERRIBLE harm!?!” Pistacho threa10s in a weirdly milquetoast fashion, fidgeting in a manner that’s expected to be intimidating. “Would that change your mind? Perhaps it’s time to go right into my shell.”

“Shell time coming!” Pistachio guarantees as his bald, bespectacled head, which looks tiny in compariboy to his huge human-sized turtle shell starts to retract earlier into his body through the a lot of legendary outsized suit considering that David Byrne in Soptimal Making Sense, a film whose title also defines the reasoning behind this specific set-item.

Pistachio’s shaved head looks prefer the head of a penis. His massive turtle shell-suit, meanwhile, looks choose a diseased scrotum, which, merged, gives him a disturbingly phallic look and also vibe.

Pistachio makes weird, grunting, growling, sub-verbal angry turtle noises as Jennifer tries to restrain him from going off, from the devastation of “Shell time.”

Pistacho walks ameans through Jennifer, at which allude a cocky businessmale, a genuine Chad kind, ask Jennifer, “Hey baby, have the right to I buy you a drink, and also maybe some POND water for your frifinish.”

At first Pistachio prehas a tendency to be amsupplied, yet the businessman’s cruel barb brings out the maniac in Pistachio. Tright here are two sides to Pistachio: The maniac and the enforcer. We’ve seen the enforcer throughout the film, an angry, turtle-choose guy of violence bristling over via insystematic aggression in the direction of everyone he meets.

The snob’s insult sets off something ugly and also personal and also cruel in Pistachio. He retracts his head ago into his gigantic turtle torso-shell-body. The men foolishly come over to investigate, at which suggest Pistachio’s turtle head pops out. He then bites off a man’s nose, then spits it back out so smoothly and also quickly that it re-attaches to his face instantly.

Then, bereason we have actually gone into a human being of pure madness where logic has no power and chaos reigns, Pistachio spins approximately on the ground on the large turtle-shell choose apparatus inside his outsized green suit.

And then, friends, it’s over. The totality sequence lasts a mere 147 secs but that’s all Carvey and his partners needed to make a scene so singularly insane, so deeply nonsensical, so wrong in every way that it deserves to be singled out and examined closely the very same method we might execute a deep, scholastic dive into a scene from Citizen Kane or Touch of Evil.

On 9/11, Dana Carvey said what we were all feeling as soon as he shelp, “Turtle.” Then he just kept saying it because he was prefer the majority of of us on that most momentous and also tragic of days: overwhelmed. Confprovided. Scared. Unsure of what had just taken place and also what the undoubtedly far-getting to after-effects might be. Desperately in require of consolation and also comfort in a people seemingly careening right into madness. Wearing a bizarre turtle-guy costume and mumbling the word “turtle” compulsively and also senselessly.

So while background was made in a really dark method on September 11th, 2001 it was made in a life-affirmingly stupid method as well. The astonishingly, eminently re-watchable idiocy of the Turtle Club scene in Master of Disguise stands as a critical rebuke to the awful solemnity and seriousness of the social minute that birthed it, to the idea that we would certainly never before laugh aget, that irony was dead and also we would have to be earcolony forevereven more or we would be dishonoring the memories of the dead.

By filming that scene as planned, Carvey was informing Osama Bin Laden and his entirety disreputable lot that not just would we laugh aacquire despite 9/11, yet we’d laugh at stupider, even more juvenile, even more insultingly idiotic nonsense than ever before before, and we would certainly never feel guilty for laughing. Not also a tiny little.

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And you recognize what? We’ve retained that promised. We’ve continued to be dumb and also superficial and that, ultimately, is exactly how we’ve endured, individually and also as a society.

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