Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t just like the 80s Saturday Night Live “Hans and Franz” sketches lampooning him at his peak. They pumped him up. Despite comedians Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon mercilessly skewering the action star in the running segment, Schwarzenegger revealed in a recent interview that they helped his image.
In the sketch, Carvey and Nealon play brawny Austrian bodybuilders, reminiscent of Schwarzenegger. They use padding to create the illusion of muscles, wearing drab gray sweatsuits and weight belts, all while speaking with over-the-top Austrian accents. The set features life-sized cutouts of Schwarzenegger during his competitive years, adding to the oiled-up ambiance.
The sketch is accompanied by introductory and ending music that playfully incorporates mock Austrian yodeling. So you might understand how Arnold could take offense.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Says Hanz and Franz Made His Accent Easier to Accept
However, as Entertainment Weekly pointed out, there has been a growing buzz around the topic of Hans and Franz. Schwarzenegger even touched on these sketches during his appearance on Conan O’Brien’s podcast. Naturally, when he made a guest appearance on Carvey and David Spade’s Fly on the Wall podcast, the topic had to be brought up and discussed.
“To me, it was heaven,” Schwarzenegger explained on the show. “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.’ 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. People want to hear someone talk like John Wayne, like Clint Eastwood or Al Pacino, those were the guys.”
However, ever the entrepreneur, Arnold Schwarzenegger saw potential in his unique accent. “Then I realized that I had to make the accent something, not to hide it, but to actually make something of it. But then out of nowhere, without me controlling it, [Hans and Franz] came along. And they legitimized it, because now there was someone that took the subject of [an] accent and had a good time with it. 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.”
Dana Carvey Recalls When He Knew Schwarzenegger Approved of the Sketch
The trio also discussed when Schwarzenegger invited Hans and Franz to join him at the White House for the Great American Workout. However, Carvey first learned Schwarzenegger’s true feelings about their sketch during his appearance on SNL.
“We didn’t know how you were going to react,” Carvey recalled. “They said Arnold’s waiting down the hall… So, Kevin [Nealon] and I are a little nervous. We went in, and you’re in some chair, and you lean back, and you go, ‘How do I do the accent again, fellas?’ Then we knew you loved it.”
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