“Well, we’ve had a quite a year, haven’t we?” the Church Lady remarks to a Jessica Hahn facsimile. “What shall I call you? Could it be, oh, I don’t know, trollop? Whore?” You can say the same for the Church Lady. Not that she’s a trollop—heaven forfend—but she’s had quite a year. Satan has been on the upswing this year, stamping sin all over the front pages. By chronicling those misdeeds on Saturday Night Live, the Church Lady—the Sunday schoolmarm of our nightmares, the Wicked Wit of the Midwest, the prissy prune who lets no peccadillo go un-pecked—has become the satirical scourge of our fallen times. “The Church Lady just happened to have perfect timing,” SNL’s Dana Carvey, 32, says of his alter ego. “The fiascos and scandals this year have given fuel to her fire.”
Actually, anyone who appears on Church Chat, SNL’s talk-show-within-a-show, is fair game for her castigating flame. Wearing her old-fogey clothes, her voice screeching with sexual repression, cutting guests to the quick with her catchphrase “Well, isn’t that special,” the Church Lady has proved that her scorn is catholic. She’s skewered the likes of Sean Penn, Si-gourney Weaver, Dennis Hopper and a faux Jim and Tammy this year, often scolding the women for disporting with their “breasts all askew” and the men for displaying their “bulbous groin regions.” In the future, Carvey says he’d like to pit the Church Lady against Liz Taylor (“We like ourselves with our bosoms pressed together for the explicit view of the chestal area, don’t we, Lizzie?”). Or Mick Jagger (“Well, we’re going solo now, aren’t we, and abandoning our friends? I guess Keith Richards can work at a 7-Eleven”). But it doesn’t matter who enters the Church Lady’s lair—she’ll take on all comers and wind up dancing superior. As 1987 affirmed, the Church Lady is on a holy roll.