The Church Lady was a recurring character in a series of sketches on the American television show Saturday Night Live from 1986 to 1990, with later appearances in 1996 and 2000. She also appeared on The Dana Carvey Show in March 1996, reading a Top Ten List, "New Titles for Princess Diana."
Created and played by Dana Carvey, The Church Lady is an elderly woman named “Enid Strict”, who is the uptight, smug and pious host of her own talk show, Church Chat. Enid is a spoof of “holier-than-thou” Christian churchgoers. On her show (which only lasts the duration of the sketch itself) she has multiple guests, usually celebrities of the time played by other cast members of SNL or by the actual celebrities themselves (usually whoever is guest-hosting that week's SNL episode, appearing as themselves), who appear to be interviewed by her. However, the interviews are only a guise for her to call the celebrity guests out on their various alleged sins (which are often publicly known news events of the day). They initially receive sarcastic praises from her, until the interview eventually degrades into a tirade against their apparent lack of piety and their secular lifestyles, culminating with her judgmental admonishments and damnation. She often takes others to task for following the desires of their “naughty parts”.
Carvey said he based the character on women he knew from his church growing up, who would keep track of his and others' attendance.
The character became immediately recognizable and made numerous appearances on SNL (even after Carvey's departure from the show as a regular cast member), but she was never incorporated into a feature length film, as many of SNL's other recurring characters were. She is known for always wearing a purple dress, a sweater, visible knee-high stockings, and a pair of cat's eye horn-rimmed glasses. She was known for the catchphrase, “Well, isn't that SPE-CIAL?!”, "How con-VEEN-ient!", and “Could it be…SATAN?” (in later years, the latter would always end with a haunting echo). When sufficiently satisfied with herself, she would mug for the camera, while twitching the corners of her mouth from one side to the other for an indefinite length of time. She also gave advice in response to letters she ostensibly received. Furthermore, whenever she felt that she had demonstrated her superiority, she would do her "Superior dance" in which she would rhythmically strut to organ music (played by an organist named Pearl) in front of her alleged inferiors.
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