This skit is a parody of the 1961 musical ‘West Side Story’. This is actually the second in a series of “Why are you singing?” sketches Norm participated in, the first one being a take off on the musical ‘Evita’. However, it’s widely recognized that this is the funnier of the two.
Only about half the characters are given real names, so I’ve used the actor’s names in the dialogue.
List of Characters:
Cobra's Gang Leader: Norm MacDonald
Cobra Members: Robert Downey Jr. (Host), Darrell Hammond, Chris Kattan , Will Ferrell, Colin Quin, Mark McKinney, and Jim Breuer.
Street Kid: Cheri Oteri
Panther's Gang Leader: Tim Meadows
Added to site: September 12, 2002.
The West Side Story Sketch - November 16th, 1996
[A street gang is playing craps on the stoop of a house]
Downey: Snake eyes! Eh?!
Hammond: No, you cheated! You cheated me!
Downey: I did not!
[Downey and Hammond start to fight]
Hammond: Yes you did!
Norm: Hey, hey, hey! Knock it off! [Norm breaks it up] Remember: you’re both Cobras!
Hammond: Yeah, we’re both Cobras.
Downey: Yeah, we gotta stick together.
[Downey gets up and walks up front, music plays, and he starts to sing]
Downey: You’re a Cobra, boy. And don’t you forget it. ‘Cause when you’re in trouble, you won’t have to sweat it. You’re a Cobra, boyyyyy…ya!
[Downey goes back to the craps game while Norm stares in amazement]
Downey: All right so, ah, let’s see…
Norm: What the hell was that!?
Downey: What? What was what?
Norm: You just sang!
Downey: Oh yeah. I did, didn’t I?
[Chris Kattan (Johnny) runs in from off stage]
Kattan: Hey guys, the heat’s on!
[The Cobras all gather around Kattan]
Norm: What’s up Johnny?
Kattan: The Panthers, they got Rocko. They messed ‘im up real bad!
Norm: That’s it, we Cobras are gonna fight back. We’re gonna hit ‘em with all we got!
A Few Cobras: Yeah. You bet. Right.
[Music starts playing and Downey begins to sing again]
Downey: We’re gonna hit ‘em with all we got. And as Cobras, we’ve got a lot!
Ferrell: [Joining in] We’re fast and we’re strong and we’re tough. We’ll teach them the meaning of rough!
Downey and Ferrell: ‘Cause we’re the Cobras, so you better look ouuuuuuu…ut!
[Their song ends as Norm is baffled once again]
Downey and Ferrell: What?
Norm: How’d you come up with a song so fast?
Downey: I don’t know, it just- just came to me. What do I-
Norm: Just came to you? What- what, it was perfect. It was like you rehearsed it, or something.
Downey: Aww… thank you.
Norm: Ok look, here’s what we’re gonna do. You go over to-
Ferrell: Hey, hey, hey, hey…
Ferrell: Did you really like it?
Ferrell: The song.
Norm: Did I really like it? Yeah yeah, I liked it. Hey- hey, I like another song too. You know- you know this one, it’s called, ah, “While you were singing, I got stabbed in the head by a Puerto Rican!”
Ferrell: [To Downey] Do you know that one?
Downey: No, I don’t know.
Norm: Aww, shut up! Look, here’s the plan. Get over here guys. The Panthers hang around 34th and Main. They’re pretty juiced by midnight, and that’s when we strike.
A Few Cobras: Right.
[Music begins playing again, this time with the entire crowd, except Norm, joining in]
Cobras: That’s when we strike, we’re gonna hit ‘em at night!
Cobras: And when the Cobras are done, there won’t be a one left standing!
Cobras: So look out Panthers, because we’re the Cobraaaaa…s!
[The Cobras finish off their routine by throwing up their arms, waving their hands, and hissing]
Norm: Woah, woah, woah! What the hell is this? [Mimicks gesture] What are you doing?
Colin: We’re being Cobras.
Norm: Aw, look… That’s it, that’s it. What is up with you guys?
McKinney: What? He started singing, then he started singing, then he started singing, then he started singing, so I started singing. It happens!
Norm: No, it does not happen! This was clearly choreographed!
Hammond: Well, you know, he was dancing, and I- I- I saw what his legs were doing, I kinda copied it, like this…
[Hammond does a few leg kicks. The rest of the crowd then copies him]
[A street kid (Cheri Oteri) runs in]
Oteri: Guys, guys! [Notices the gang doing leg kicks]
Norm: Don’t ask. It’s…
Oteri: The Panthers, the Panthers are comin’ to get ya! Ahhh! Yeah! I- I saw ‘em down the street!
Norm: Ok, now listen up. Here’s the plan: we’re gonna ambush the Panthers. And here’s how we’re gonna do it. Johnny, go over there. Big Jake you get over here. The rest of you, hide behind me. [Everyone but Norm and Oteri take their hiding spots]
Oteri: Oooooo! What should I do?!
Norm: What should you do? Beat it!
Oteri: Awwww! [runs off]
[The Panthers arrive, lead by Tim Meadows]
Meadows: Well, well, well. What do we have here? It looks like a little Cobra all on his own.
Meadows: Hey you don’t look so tough without your boys.
Panthers: That’s right!
Meadows: Hey Panthers, it’s time to stomp some Cobra.
Norm: Oh yeah…
[Music plays as Chris Katan jumps out from behind the trashcans doing dance moves]
Norm: Ohh noooo… that’s not good. … Ok, ah… Big Jake!
[The music starts up again as Will Ferril jumps from off stage doing dance moves]
Norm: Oh God, this isn’t working out!
[The rest of the Cobras come out dancing in unison, occasionally doing the ‘Cobra Dance Move’]
Norm: No! What the hell are you doing?
Colin: We’re being Cobras!
Meadows: What are you? You call that being a Cobra? Boys, show them what it means to be a Panther.
[The Panthers begin to sing and dance now]
Panthers: Panthers… meoowww!
Cobras: Cobras… sssss!
Panthers: Panthers… meoowww!
Cobras: Cobras… sssss!
[Norm gets caught in between the two dancing groups and pushes them away in order to get off stage. The crowd of Panthers and Cobras pair up and dance with each other.]