The Jerk

Synopsis: Navin is an idiot. He grew up in Mississippi as adopted son of a black family but on his 18th birthday he feels he wants to discover the rest of the world and sets out to St. Louis. There everyone exploits his naivety, but then a simple invention brings him a fortune.
Genre: Comedy
Director(s): Carl Reiner
Production: Universal Pictures
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
94 min

I am not a bum.

I'm a jerk.

I once had wealth...


...and the love of a beautiful woman.

Now l only have two things... friends...

...and... thermos.

My story?


It was never easy for me.

I was born a poor black child.

I remember the days...

...sitting on the porch with my family...

...singing and dancing...

...down in Mississippi.

-"Oh, lordy

-"Pick a bale of cotton

-"Oh, lordy

-"Pick a bale a day

-"Oh, lordy

-"Pick a bale of cotton

-"Oh, lordy

-"Pick a bale a day

-"Gonna jump down, turn around

-"Pick a bale of cotton

-"Gonna jump down, turn around

-"Pick a bale a day

-"Jump down, turn around

-"Pick a bale of cotton

-"Jump down, turn around

-"Pick a bale a day

-"Me and my buddy gonna

-"Pick a bale of cotton

-"Me and my buddy gonna

-"Pick a bale a day

-"Me and my buddy gonna

-"Pick a bale of cotton

-"Me and my buddy gonna

-"Pick a bale a day

-"Oh, lordy

-"Pick a bale of cotton

-"Oh, lordy

-"Pick a bale a day

-"Oh, lordy

-"Pick a bale of cotton

-"Oh, lordy

-"Pick a bale a day

-"Gonna get on my knees

-"Pick a bale of cotton

-"Gonna get on my knees

-"Pick a bale a day

-"Gonna move all around

-"Pick a bale of cotton

-"Gonna move all around

-"Pick a bale a day

-"You want a barebacked man

-"Pick a bale of cotton

-"You want a barebacked man

-"Pick a bale a day

-"Jump down, turn around

-"Pick a bale of cotton

-"Jump down, turn around

-"Pick a bale a day"

Boy, l hope everybody's good and hungry.

-I know l am.

-And l'm ready for that.

Here's corn bread.

Collard greens.

And l cooked up those hog maws you like.

Mother, dear,

ain't we forgetting something?

No, l'm not. Today is Navin's birthday.

Happy birthday!.

It's Navin's birthday!.

And l cooked you up your favorite meal.

Tuna fish salad on white bread

with mayonnaise...

...a Tab and a couple of Twinkies.

-Here, darling.

-Mom, thanks.

You're gonna like that sh*t, man.

I got you a present.

-Gee, Elvira.

-I made it myself.

We got you something, too. A half bottle

of lilac vegetal. It's from both of us.

I drew you this picture.


-Thank you.

I want you to have my Zippo.

Dad, you had this since the war.


Thanks, everybody.

God bless us...



Will you pass me the potatoes

and the collard greens?

-Navin, darling.

-I'm sorry l spoiled the party, Mom.

You didn't spoil the party.

I brought you a Twinkie.

I'm not hungry right now.

Feeling different again?

It's like l don't fit in.

It's like l don't belong here.

It's your birthday, and it's time you knew.

You're not our natural-born child.

I'm not?

You were left on our doorstep...

...but we raised you

like you were one of us.

You mean l'm going to stay this color?

I'd love you if you were the color

of a baboon's ass. Come here.

Navin, l wrapped your sandwich

in cellophane, just like you like it.

You want to come in and sing some blues?

No, thanks, Taj.

There's something about those songs.

They depress me.

Come here, darling.

That's it, darling.

You're getting the rhythm. See?

And that concludes

this Sunday night Gospel Hour... from the

Four Square Gospel Church... the Divine Salvation

in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Reverend Willard Willman, Pastor.

And now, music throughout the night.

Music in a mellow mood.


-What happened?


-What happened?

Don't touch that radio!. Don't touch it!.

Turn it up!. Turn it up!.

I've never heard music like this before!.

It speaks to me!. Taj!. Dad!.

This is unbelievable. Now watch.


Well, if this is out there,

think how much more is out there!.

This is the kind of music that tells me

to go out there and be somebody!.

-But Navin--

-Let him go.

Now that you're going out into the world...

...there's something you should know.

-You see that?


That's sh*t.

And this is Shinola.



Son, you're gonna be all right.

Now, what town

are you gonna try for first?

I thought l'd go to St. Louis 'cause

that's where that radio show was from.

And remember,

the Lord loves a working man.

-"Lord loves a working man."

-And son...

...don't never, ever trust Whitey.

"Don't trust Whitey. Lord loves

a working man, don't trust Whitey."



Pierre. Come here.

Don't you forget to grow up now.

-Good luck, brother.

-Send me a picture postcard.

Okay, let the boy go.


-We got work to do.

And l hope you find

whatever it is you're looking for.

I will, Ma. I know it's out there.

It's out there, all right. If you catch it,

see a doctor and get rid of it.

-"See a doctor and get rid of it."

-Good luck.

"Lord loves a working man.

Don't trust Whitey.

"See a doctor and get rid of it."

Bye, Grandma!.

I sure do miss Navin.

Is he ever coming back?

Take away his place setting.

It's making us too goddamn sad.

I wonder if he's doing all right?

Navin!. How you doing?

Don't worry about me.

I think l see a car coming.

No, wait. It's a truck!.


...take care of our little boy.

-I'm hitchhiking.

-How far you going?

St. Louis. How far are you going?

To the end of this fence.


I'm Navin Johnson. What's your name, sir?

-Here we are.


Thanks for the company.

I hope l can repay you someday.

Well, what is it, boy? Are you lost?

Do you want to play? ls it trouble?


Is it an accident?

A drowning?

Rate this script:4.0 / 1 vote

Steve Martin

Stephen Glenn Martin (born August 14, 1945) is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, playwright, author, and musician. Martin came to public notice in the 1960s as a writer for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and later as a frequent guest on The Tonight Show. In the 1970s, Martin performed his offbeat, absurdist comedy routines before packed houses on national tours. Since the 1980s, having branched away from comedy, Martin has become a successful actor, as well as an author, playwright, pianist, and banjo player, eventually earning him an Emmy, Grammy, and American Comedy awards, among other honors. In 2004, Comedy Central ranked Martin at sixth place in a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comics. He was awarded an Honorary Academy Award at the Academy's 5th Annual Governors Awards in 2013.While he has played banjo since an early age, and included music in his comedy routines from the beginning of his professional career, he has increasingly dedicated his career to music since the 2000s, acting less and spending much of his professional life playing banjo, recording, and touring with various bluegrass acts, including Earl Scruggs, with whom he won a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 2002. He released his first solo music album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, in 2009, for which he won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Jerk" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 17 Jun 2024. <>.

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