A Cock and Bull Story

On a recent AAR broadcast, Al Franken and his longtime friend and former partner Tom Davis performed a sketch on creation theory. Franken played Pat Robertson, the host of the TV show PTL/TGIF. Davis played an elder of the Cheyenne Nation, who was on the show to discuss his efforts to promote including creation theory in the tribal schools’ curricula.

After the opening pleasantries, the dialog went something like this.

Robertson. I’m glad to see that you’ll be teaching about God in your schools.

Elder. God? No Mahota. (|:|) Mahota the all-spirit who lived in the void.

(|:||) Mahota wanted to fill the void. So Mahota created the water and filled the void with the waters, and he created many creatures to populate the waters.

(|:|||) Now Mahota wanted a place to stand. So Mahota summoned all the swiftest of his flying creatures and bade them to fly swiftly and far and to find a suitable place for Him to stand. They all returned, one-at-a-time and said, “Mahota, I flew far searched many places. Yet I couldn’t find any place for you to stand.

(|:||||) After all the swiftly flying creatures of the water had returned, little loon, who was not swift, swam up to Mahota and said “Mahota, I heard what yo said the the swiftly flying creatures and dove deep in the waters and brought you something in my bill that you might use to build a place to stand. Little loon then dropped a ball of mud from his bill into Mahota’s hand. Mahota pondered on little loon’s gift for a time and then said, “Little loon, as a reward for your cleverness, from this time your flesh will forever taste of mud so that you will be prey to none of my other creature.”

(|:|||||) Mahota then summoned grandmother turtle and smeared the mud on her back. And now Mahota had a suitable place to stand.

[There were several interruptions to the elder’s narrative because of disputes over the exact sequence of the creation and over whether Mahota created man from his own rib or God created Eve from Adam’s rib. And now my two favorite exchanges.]

Robertson. What a cock and bull story.

Elder. Cock and Bull. (Short pause) Cock and Bull is Blackfoot. I’m Cheyenne

Robertson. That’s a long winded tale.

Elder. That was the annotated version. When I tell it around the council fire, it takes nearly six hours.

[The interview ended on a note of disharmony.]

1. The spelling of the All Spirit’s name approximates what I remember hearing. No problem—he understands my good intentions and respect.
2. I originally capitalized reference to the All Spirit in the manner of the Christians. But, reflecting on the elder’s tone of voice, I realized that the All Spirit must be kind as well as wise and that the Cheyenne People are comfortable in their relationship with him.
3. The full hand painted version of the Collected Tales of the Cheyenne People is currently on museum tour. A schedule is available at http://tales.cheyenne.org/tour/schedule/. The collection is now annotated with precise dates, which are based on the famous twelve-moons calculations executed by the revered, pre-enlightenment medicine man James Also-Knows-Other’s-Tales. (Conversion to our CE/BCE system is exquisitely complex. Sun will soon begin testing the necessary objects, scheduled for inclusion in the next major release of Java.)


No wonder they called radio the theater of the mind. In the early 60s Bob and Ray built a routine around that idea. (Opening sound effects—door closing, then footfalls echoing in an empty mind.) Those were the days.

3 thoughts on “A Cock and Bull Story

  1. Um…
    To the best of my knowledge, Pat Robertson never hosted PTL.  He’s a CBN/700Club host, however.

    In addition to the regular PTL hosts (Tammy Faye and her wife/husband), the only other guest host of noteable fame would have been Jerry Falwell, during the PTL’s later, trial-days.

    (Details, i know.  Sorry.  That whole “know thy enemy” crap—again.  Sorry!)

  2. Yeah, I loved that bit too. One of the (many) thing I love about Franken (and Davis) is that appreciation for the greats of comedy, like Bob and Ray. “With us today…” That simple phrase was a springboard for some great stuff.

      As Tom Davis said, some of “you young people will want to go check out the Broadcast Museum,” which got a big laugh from Al.

      “…And goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”

  3. there is not a nickels worth of difference between either party, like night and day, the right needs the left as the left needs the right.  That is how they justify their exsistence, that’s how they eat, and eat well they do, with you and I paying the bill.  The solution is to do away with those programs which contribute to social dependency and place the money into education.  An educated electorate is the only way that democracy can work. As an example, look at how many functioning democracies there are in thrird world countries where the illiteracy rate is around 80%.  End welfare except for the disabled, use the money to create the finest educational system in the world, that’s right the world, and you’ll see a turn around in all aspects of our social life.  How is it that we can justify continuing educating other peoples children, while we neglect our own.  Why is it that we have to bring in the educated from some other country, while our children get to park their cars?  We have a third world government because we have a third world educational system.  Join me in changing the polictical system here in Michigan.  Support the revolution.

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