Because hey, why not, I thought I’d start posting some of my old/never performed/never to be performed again sketches online, with commentary about them. And I will call it, “Sketch Time Machine!” And it will be good. Hopefully.
Year Written: June, 2003
Goddammit I hate this sketch. I’ve previously stated that I don’t mind – and in fact, like, puns – but sometimes it’s just too much. I wrote this sketch, which is the most tortured puns about the subway system possible, based entirely on a phrase I always think of when I hear, “Stand clear of the closing doors.” And I honestly can’t remember at this point, but I believe I just read this because I wanted to have something to read at a meeting that night.
And then everybody voted it into a show.
Actually, that’s not totally accurate. They saw how uncomfortable it made me to do, and thought it would be funny to do this terrible sketch in a show, with the humor coming from us clearly hating on the sketch on stage. And I’ll tell you what: the sketch went over very poorly.
Now, normally, at that point we would pull the sketch from a show, or at the outset, do it one more time. We did this fucking sketch six goddamn times. Because every time I would suggest, “Hey, why don’t we pull this awful sketch from the show, instead of making everybody feel awkward, and hating themselves, mainly me,” someone – usually Stefan – would say, “No, no, let’s leave it in, it’s fine.” They’d say that in a tone where they knew it wasn’t fine, but everybody would laugh, and we’d move on. And the more I protested, the funnier it became to leave it in the show.
I still think of performing this sketch in my darkest moments. Shudder.
- We performed this sketch on our knees, with shoes in front of us, so we “looked” like dwarves.
- Also, every line was delivered as slow and purposefully as possible, directly to the audience. Because it was “funnier” that way.
- The last line is delivered as loud, and as angry as possible.
- Remember, I like puns, and I don’t like this sketch. And I wrote it. Guh.
Here’s the sketch:
A short story by Alexander Zalben
CHARACTERS: Dwarf 1, Dwarf 2, Man
Two dwarves are onstage.
So just to make sure, it’s a one-bedroom condo, $1000 a month maintenance?
Okay, I’ll sign the contract then. This is very exciting.
(MAN walks in, stands right next to them.)
Hey! Stand clear of the closing dwarves.
(MAN leans on one of them.)
So just sign there and—Hey! Don’t lean on the dwarves while his brain is in motion.
(He picks up one of DWARF 1.)
PLEASE, do not hold the dwarves, sir.
(He puts him down. Man 2 enters.)
I am from Croatia!
Aw jeez, let’s get out of here.
(MAN 1 picks up DWARF 1)
Sir, if you keep holding the brain dwarf, we won’t be able to leave the Croatian.
(Dwarf 1 falls unconscious.)
I’m sorry, this brain is no longer in service.
You’ll have to walk to another Croatian.
In Croatia, we have no subways.
What are you talking about?