Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked

Comedy

June 7, 2007

A Dadaist's Take on SketchFest

SketchFest troupes team up to write a scene featuring tickle fights, Marcy Playground, and cranberry orange scones.

Keith Huang

To preview this year's SketchFest NYC, Gelf decided to flip the script a bit and allow some of the performers to take a stab at writing a scene on their own. The rules were simple: Leave your indelible thumbprints on a script-in-progress and pass it on to the next troupe. Here's what we got.

Script contributors include Bryan Shukoff of TROOP!, Nate Kushner of A Week of Kindness, Alex Goldberg of Fearsome, Dusty Warren of All-American Push-Up Party, Brianne Halverson of Party Central USA, Becky Poole of MEAT, and Marion Oberle of Karla.

Party Central USA
"We were never that close. You have us confused with someone else."

Party Central USA

FADE IN:

INT. CAFE—AFTERNOON

We are inside an unnamed, nondescript cafe that offers no indication of any particular city, state, or nation. Two men sit stage left at a small table. A tape recorder is placed between them. ALEX, a co-producer for a national sketch comedy festival, sits cross-legged and holds a cup of coffee. KEITH, a reporter, sits across from ALEX and holds a spiral notebook. His coffee is placed before him on the table beside the tape recorder. Behind a counter at stage right there are as many as 12 baristas standing around looking bored. There are no other customers seated in the cafe.

Barista MIKE STILL emerges from the men’s room. He's drying his hands on his apron.

MIKE STILL

What the hell happened, Nate? This place was jumping a minute ago.

NATE KUSHNER

Yeah, it was. See that guy on the left? I think he might be some kind of sketch comedian, because he started talking shop, and everybody else stampeded out of here with their hands over their ears.

MIKE STILL

Sketch comedians talking shop? I should have stayed in the bathroom. Who's the other guy?

NATE KUSHNER

I don’t know. I think he’s from Golf Magazine.

MIKE STILL

What do golfers care about improv?

Nate Kushner of A Week of Kindness

Nate Kushner of A Week of Kindness

NATE KUSHNER

No, dude. It’s sketch.

MIKE STILL

Same thing, dude.

Meanwhile, at the table:

ALEX

Now, where do you get your ideas from?

KEITH

Same place as you.

They both shrug. Alex goes to write, realizes he can’t because he is pen-less. Keith remembers to write down Alex’s mind-blowing question and then finds himself confused.

ALEX

Hey, have you tried this?

KEITH

What? What are you talking about?

ALEX

May I?

KEITH

I still don’t know what you’re talking about.

Alex picks up Keith’s tape recorder and gingerly dips it into his coffee.

ALEX

Huh!?! S’good. S’delicious.

Keith stares at him for a beat.

KEITH

No. I … haven’t tried that.

ALEX

Really? All the kids are trying it.

KEITH

Kids? What kids?

The kids (ALEX G., CHRIS, and KATHERINE) enter. They are rough-and-tumble street urchins, dirty, fierce, and hungry. Alex carries a chimney brush. Their dog SHAYNA follows behind.

CHRIS

Might you have a tasty tape recorder on which for us to dine?

KATHERINE

We haven’t eaten in a fortnight.

ALEX G.

That’s like two weeks!

KATHERINE

Don’t make us eat our dog.

Shayna protests, a la Scooby Doo.

MIKE

Scram, Kids! Get out of here!

ALEX Z.

Yeah, you’re a disgrace!

The 13 baristas, like the National Guard, push forward and attempt to force the kids out of the café.

KEITH

Wait just a second! I know these kids. Didn’t you kids used to be…

CHRIS, KATHERINE, ALEX

A figment of your imagination?

KEITH

No, that’s not what I was…

CHRIS, KATHERINE, ALEX

A steam boat?

KEITH

No. I wasn’t…

CHRIS

Oh, I got it! Didn’t we used to be someone who wanted to amount to something?

KEITH

No.

KATHERINE

Or, didn’t we used to be the kind of people who only talked about books they actually read?

KEITH

No.

ALEX G.

Or, didn’t we used to be the kind of friends who could not talk for months but once we finally saw each other it’s like no time had passed?

KEITH

Yessssssss!

KATHERINE

No. We were never that close. You have us confused with someone else.

ALEX G.

We are Fearsome!

ALEX Z.

Get out of here!

Becky Poole of MEAT

Becky Poole of MEAT

One of the baristas rips her hat off. It is BECKY from MEAT

BECKY

Alex, dammit! Leave ‘em alone! Come in, you guys. Here, have an espresso. Hi, puppy. Have a cranberry orange scone. That's a good girl. You wannnaplaytheguitar? You wannaplaytheguitar?

The dog and Becky roll around playing for a little bit. Becky rises after petting Shayna. Alex and Becky stare at each other stubbornly.

BECKY

Alex, please. This has gone on long enough. You can’t be mad at Fearsome forever.

ALEX

But I liked it back then. It just hurts so much.

Three other baristas take off their hats to reveal the other ladies of MEAT.

BIZ

We miss ‘em too, Alex.

REGGAN

With a lot of our hearts.

LIVIA

But your anger needs to stop. We can’t keep following you around trying to make sure you don’t emotionally…

BIZ

or physically…

Fearsome (sorta)

Fearsome (sorta)

LIVIA

…hurt Fearsome.

REGGAN

It really eats up our rehearsal time.

BECKY

And look at ‘em! They’re so cute!

BIZ

Whaddya say, Alex? Open up.

ALEX Z.

(ripping shirt off)

NEVER!!!!

BIZ:

(Rips off shirt to reveal a super hero costume).

I am SHEEEEEELAAAAC!!!

A battle begins.

BIZ

Tickle fight!!!

Biz tickles Alex. He sounds hella girlie. The lead singer of Marcy Playground enters.

LEAD SINGER OF MARCY PLAYGROUND

Hey, guys, remember caring about me?

ALL

…nope

LEAD SINGER OF MARCY PLAYGROUND

Do you WANT to?

CHRIS

Do we want to remember caring about you?

LEAD SINGER OF MARCY PLAYGROUND

Yeah.

BIZ

I don’t think we ever did.

REGGAN

We never did.

LEAD SINGER OF MARCY PLAYGROUND

“I smell sex and…canDY. Here.”

BECKY

Stop. Please…stop.

KATHERINE

We hate that you’re here

LEAD SINGER OF MARCY PLAYGROUND

OK, then maybe you’ll care about ME!

LSOMP rips off mask to reveal he is really DUSTY from All American Push Up Party

ALL

Nope.

DUSTY (crying and running out of café)

I hate you guys!

ALL

Yay!

BIZ

Now, where were we?

Meanwhile, in the backroom of the café two policemen sit sleeping. In the front of the store, a menacing man enters wearing a ski mask. He approaches a woman sipping orange jazz tea. She is engrossed in her book, Mitch Albom’s Tuesday with Morrie, while listening to James Blunt’s “Beautiful” on her iPod.

MUGGER (brandishing stick)

Gimme your paperback and iPod!

JEANNETTE

A stick?

MUGGER

It’s a club!

JEANNETTE

That’s not a club. A club is thick. That’s more like a twig or a dowel.

MUGGER

Hand over the stuff! (brandishes stick again)

JEANNETTE

Yeah, I don’t think so. I gotta tell ya, I like my chances.

MUGGER

Let’s dance! (pounces)

Mugger attacks Jeannette. They tussle. Jeannette comes away with the Mugger’s wallet and the stick. She grabs her iPod and book and walks out of the café.

MUGGER

Wait! My dowel…

Keith Huang

Keith is a comedy nerd.







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Article by Keith Huang

Keith is a comedy nerd.

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