Hey y’all, September is less than a week away, and that means it’s time for national sketch writing month! The plan: write a sketch every day of September. Short, long, good or bad, just get it done.
I can’t recommend it highly enough. Doing naskewrimo last year helped me work out my own comedic identity (pretentious!), my understanding of writing concepts (helpful!), and gave me an opportunity to practice, practice, practice (Carnegie Hall!). Plus, it totally gets you laid (lies!).
Also! I will be posting on naskewrimo’s official blog. As I understand it, I’m supposed to post general advice (not qualified!). I’ll be posting sections from the course I made for my writers at Thursday Nite Live, which is designed for people who can’t take classes at one of the major comedy theaters but are still interested in sketch (presumptuous!). We’ll see what pans out.
Get to writing, everybody! Good luck! Let’s laugh all the way to October! (that last sentence is the titular line from my holocaust screen play from the German perspective, Laughing to October)
That in that Christmas song, the one that goes, “I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus/underneath the mistletoe last night,” Santa Claus is supposed to be the kid’s father dressed up. Which makes the line “What a treat it would have been/if daddy had only seen/momma kissing Santa Claus last night” quite a bit more charming.
I have, for the past fifteen years of my short life, thought that the song was an upsetting story about a kid’s mom cheating on her husband with Santa Claus. I always thought, huh, it’s weird that we’re celebrating this with song.
Looks like it's time for my UNASKED FOR OPINION ABOUT IMPROV POST DEL CLOSE MARATHON 13
Hey everyone, I’m about to wrap up my DCM a little early, and I figured that means it’s time to open my big fat mouth and talk forever even though you were just trying to be nice when you asked me what I think about the marathon. I AM IMPOSING MYSELF!
So, two things came up often enough that they stuck with me. First of all, saying ‘fuck’ doesn’t suffice as an emotional reaction. Congratulations—you have recognized that your character would react to whatever is going. But saying ‘fuck’ is so painfully generic. You have an incredible vocabulary at your disposal, as well as an expressive face and body, the entire stage space, and the support of 1-8 other improvisers (depends on your group). Use it! Don’t just say fuck! Start crying! Drop to the ground! Try spending a few weeks where you, the improviser, won’t allow yourself to curse. It’ll feel weird at first, but you’ll force yourself to emote more—and emotions are powerful in improv.
Secondly, way too many groups did gay bits. You didn’t have to be obnoxiously oversensitive (i.e., me) to pick up on this. Groups of all levels—New York indie teams, house teams from nearly every major theater, weird groups from foreign lands and beyond—went right ahead and played the ‘gay’ games. ‘Who is (secretly) gay?’ is one that I’m bored to death about. Look, it’s just gossipy. It has no depth and can’t form the center of a meaningful conversation, let alone a game. Move on. ‘I’m super gay’ is also one that bores me. Plus, it’s offensive. I’m warning you, everyone, if you ever play ‘super gay’ in a scene, I’m doing a walk on as ‘super black’ just to show you how stupid and offensive you’re being. If you want to be a gay man who’s fiercer than Tyra, fine. That’s cool. That’s a strong character choice. It’s not your game. No one I know has ever said something like, say, “I haven’t had this much fun since I sucked a cock!” (actual quote from a show). You have entered caricature land, and just cause you might rouse a laugh doesn’t mean you’re being funny or smart.
The other thing I wish people would care about—not something I noticed all the time, but worth mentioning—is having fun on stage. I worked a day shift, and a lot of those groups were out of towners who put way too much pressure on themselves. They came dressed in suits. They debated each other even on their warm ups, then they debated each other on stage. They set themselves up but then felt too cool or too afraid to follow through. Disappointing. Have fun with what you’ve created! You’re smart and funny. That’s why someone gave you stage time. Now be an irreverent dick. If you’re playing a racist southern belle at a cotillion, you better demonstrate that you are racist, a southern belle, and at a cotillion. I don’t care how ingenious your set-up is. It’s not as exciting as the pay off.
Anyway, I have to run. I’ll come back with positives from the marathon, but as we all know, I’ve got to focus on the negative first. (Someone needs therapy!) (Or a big juicy dick!) (I typed this up as a super gay character.)
—Most conversations start off like this: “I was doing lunch with Marcy—” “Marcy LeBrau, from Sony Pictures?” “No, Marcy Dominique, from MGM.” “Oh, love her. She’s lovely.” “Well, she’s put some weight on. So I said to her, Marcy, you know, I’ve got a great personal trainer.”
—They have drive-thru rhinoplasty.
—They sell giant buds of marijuana like they sell hot dogs in New York. Out of a cart, and probably contaminated.
—There are lots of dinner parties, all of which are themed.
—There are diners that no one actually goes to. They are paid for with government money and completely staffed by rejected actresses who “coulda been a somebody,” as they would say.
—People sleep in their tanning beds.
—Everyone’s hair is perfect all the time.
—It is never below 75 degrees.
—The city keeps an emergency supply of avacados in case of guacamole famine.
—There is a dark, smoky room, where a collection of old men thumb through 80s Americana and decide what gets remade.