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Sketch Time Machine: The Obvious Mysteries

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: 2002

I’ve always had a soft spot for these sketches. They’ve never been performed on stage, though they were up for several Elephant Larry shows. I think the main reason is probably that they just aren’t “big” enough. I couldn’t imagine doing these on stage and people dying laughing. They’re just cute, rather than uproarious or hilarious. I still like the idea, though, and feel that maybe there’s some way of doing them, maybe starting from scratch? I dunknow, I’m sleepy, leave me alone.

Notes:

  • The Detective is completely deadpan. I don’t know what I compared him to back then, but now, he’s basically Abed from Community.
  • One of the other big problems with this sketch, I think, was my central performance of The Detective. Back then, we would always cast ourselves in the main part in the sketch, and then cast everyone else around us. I did this, despite never feeling totally comfortable in the roll. Maybe that’s what kept killing it? Nah, I think I’m right that they’re just not huge laughers.
  • I do like the third part, though. It’s saaaad.
  • For those of you no familiar with trilogies, these would be spaced throughout the show, not all in a row like this.
  • When I was in college, you would always write in the byline, “A sketch by…” So the other guys in my group started giving themselves nicknames instead, like: By Alex “Joke About Sketch” Zalben. That happened after I had already graduated college, so I never felt comfortable with it. Instead, I put a (possibly) non sequitur, first thing that came to mind, in my byline. It’s a weird affectation. Deal with it.

Here’s the sketch(es):

THE DETECTIVE AND THE CASE OF THE CRUMBLING COOKIE 

A chocolate chip by Alexander Zalben

Characters: Announcer, 1-3, Detective, Scottie

                         ANNOUNCER

London, 1963!

          (Scream from offstage. Three people

enter. One of them is covered in

cookie crumbs.)

                         1

Somebody has eaten all of our cookies!

                         2

But who?

                         3

(Through cookies) I don’t know.

                         1

Don’t worry, I called… The Detective!

          (Enter Detective, to James Bond sting.)

                         3

I’m so full of cookies.

                         Detective

He did it.

          (James Bond sting. 1 faints.)

                         3

I did eat all of the cookies.

                         2

Thank you, Detective, but how did you know?

                         Detective

He said he was full of cookies. So I thought, well, he probably ate the cookies.

          (Enter Scottie, a Scotland Yard policeman.)

                         Scottie

Good work, Detective. Looks like we arrived just in time. You’re going away for a long time, Cookie Crook.

                         Detective

Cookie Crook? More like… cookie robber!

          (They all laugh. James Bond sting.)

THE DETECTIVE AND THE CASE OF THE DINNER SLAUGHTER 

A dish best served rare by Alexander Zalben

Characters: Announcer, 1-2, Detective, Scottie

                         ANNOUNCER

London, 1964!

          (Two people and the Detective are at a table.)

                         1

Thank you for coming over for dinner… Detective.

          (James Bond sting.)

                         2

Yes, it’s an honor to have a detective of your stature in our home.

          (Lights go out. Scream. Lights back, 2 is dead.)

                         1

Good lord! Somebody has killed my wife!

                         Detective

You did it.

          (James Bond sting.)

                         1

Curse you, Detective! How did you know?

                         Detective

We’re the only people here, and I certainly didn’t do it.

                         1

I should have never invited you over for dinner!

                         Scottie

Good work, Detective. Looks like we got here just in time. You’re going away for a long time, you murderer.

                         Detective

Murderer? More like… Killer-er!

          (They all laugh. James Bond sting.)

THE DETECTIVE AND THE CASE OF THE SELF-REFLEXIVE ENDING 

An inverted cube by Alexander Zalben

Characters: Announcer, Detective, Scottie

                         ANNOUNCER

London, 1965!

          (Scottie and Detective are drinking coffee.)

                         SCOTTIE

We’ve certainly solved some interesting cases in our time, Detective.

          (Detective stabs Scottie several times.)

                         DETECTIVE

I did it. Wait, but how did I know? Because I saw myself do it, just now. Oh. Good work, Detective. Looks like I got me just in time. I’m going away for a long time, Detective. Detective? More like, defective! (Pause. Then, sadly) I killed my only friend.

          (Sting.)

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