Thursday, September 29, 2011

SHOCKtober Fest!*

*This title in no way relates to the following post.

Guys, I am so sorry it's been forever since I posted. There's been so much going on--much of it ripe for bloggery--but I've been so busy that sitting down and writing it all out has been impossible. Now, of course, it's been 2 weeks and there's no way I can condense it all. But let's give it the ol'-liberal-arts-college try, shall we?

I. am. reeling.
I just finished the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy and I can't even cope. I actually re-read the last three pages twice before finally closing the book. It was simply so intense I couldn't let it be over. A tightly wrought political thriller for the tween set has somehow turned my world upside down. Katniss Everdeen is further proof that you don't have to be black to be a strong black woman.

I am still shaken and stirred, with a twist of lime in me. Suzanne Collins took my breath away, Top Gun style. I've decided to add her to my list of (s)heroes.

I'm heading to LA, guys! Los Angeles! The city of angels and demons and most of the cast of Angels & Demons. I'm going to a voiceover event produced by my VO coach in New York. I'm not one for 48-hour jet-sets, but my mom thinks I need to invest in my dreams, which means attending this event, so I will do so. I have no idea what to expect.

LA is cool, but I couldn't live here. I did, however, meet a pretty blacktress from Texas who moved here to become a star. She was very domineering, which I really didn't mind all that much. I think the best part of our forced closeness was her gory, detailed account of her stalker attack a year ago. Of course, it was really terrifying and upsetting, but my first thought, as she explained that her Colgate smile was actually porcelain (because her stalker attacked her and knocked her teeth out), was "Oh my god, you had a stalker? That is so A-list. Have you sent a treatment to Lifetime (television for women)?"

The highlight of my trip was meeting hotel employee Tre Fabrice, who moved to LA three years ago "for the fashion." When I asked where he moved from, he revealed that he was a Detroit native.

I immediately began singing T-Baby's anthem.
"Nah, I'm mad at that," he said as he stretched out on the lobby couch (why wasn't he working?). "Everybody been makin' fun of me for that."

I asked him if he'd read any of my cousin's hood tales and he said no. I linked him up to Amazon and he was quite taken with the synopsis of his latest page-turner. After giving him my cousin's info--he wanted to contact him about being involved in a non-profit he's starting (I kid you not)--he urged me to stay in New York City. I told him he didn't have to worry.

LA is so intense with the healthiness. My friend and I went to a diner and even the diner was on Atkins. I asked for a glass of milk to go with my "7-grain pancakes," and the waiter goes, "Would you like soy milk, almond, milk, rice milk, hemp--"
I want milk milk, Los Angeles! Give me some skim stuff out of an animal I can find on a farm!

Don't get me wrong, y'all--I'm not against vegetarians and vegans, and I do believe animals have feelings. I just cannot stand a high-and-mighty non-meat eater acting like they can't wait to spend their 75th birthday jumping on my bloated belly like it's a trampoline. Just cause you don't eat meat doesn't make you a life-winner. How can it be okay to turn a bean into a nugget??? Everyone was so into their substitutes. And those bitches LOVE. TO. JUICE.
You know, drink a mixture of vegetables and fruits as a meal.
Speaking of juicing, they also love using nouns as verbs--juice. summer. veg. UGH.

That about sums it up, I guess. There's more I'd love to share, but ever since the blog became an un-safe space (needing to defend and explain every turn of phrase and humor-motivated generalization, etc), I'll just cut to the present......which brings us to today.

Last night I did a set at Broadway Comedy Club and it might have been one of my worst stage moments ever. I ate it so hard last night.
That’s comedy speak for “getting no laughs and having no jokes hit”—taken from the idea of “eating shit.”

Being on stage was painful. I felt like Carrie at the prom—except, in this case, I wanted them to laugh and they wouldn’t. Those bright stage lights may have well been pig’s blood, as they soaked me in a sticky liquid of shame and self-loathing that I still can’t get off.

Carrie, there’s no amount of Dove body wash that’ll get that scent out of your hair. After all, Dove is for real women, and you’re clearly a shell of yourself.

As I stood on stage, staring into the faces of white people who didn’t know who Harriet Tubman was or why “Caucasia” is a funny word, I had no way of winning them back. This was a set for TV and I wasn’t supposed to address the audience—meaning, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU GUYS?!” wasn’t gonna fly for the cameras. It was just really hard because I’d killed it (comedy speak for “slaying the audience with one’s rapier wit) the night before at Therapy, one of Hell’s Kitchen’s best gay bars. I mean, applause breaks and everything. I felt like I was at home.
Honestly, y’all, it was a straight-up Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List moment.

I know exactly how she feels.

Tonight I'm doing a set at another club, this time with family and friends in attendance. Not just mamadukes but also some of her coworkers, which makes me really nervous. I mean, it’s one thing to fail, but to embarrass my mom in front of her friends….let’s just say I better bring it on all or nothing like the love-child of Gabrielle Union and Hayden Panetierre.

I'm sorry I've been gone so long--I won't do it again.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Now More Than Ever

Is how much I need to blog.

I just got back from round 1 of the dentist (remember how I have to put my teeth on layaway?) and my mouth is still numb. I can’t really talk, which you know is tantamount to oppression. I think the dentist gave me a bit too much novacaine, cause it’s over 3 hours later and I’m still feeling like Two-Faced. I guess I only have myself to blame, though—when he asked if I was allergic to anything, I said “just pain.” He’s a fun, Ken Jeong type of guy, so I can’t hate on him.

I am, however, hoping that my steady work even in the face of dental pain will be duly noted among my colleagues so that after my next long lunch, I can return with my head held high.

I’ve been slack in the blog world, mostly because I’m just a broke-down blacktress. And as my mother always said, “Laugh, and the whole world laughs with you. Cry, and no one will ever want to be your friend.” So, you know, I’m trying to zip my lip with the negativity. But I do want to draw your attention to some ch-ch-ch-changes:

So, it seems that the reason no one calls me is because they’re getting all the info on the internets. With that in mind, I’ve decided to do some cross-promotion on the blog. To the right (to the right, everything you own in the box to the right!) you’ll find a list of upcoming shows where I will be providing laughter to what I hope is an audience of likeminded freedom writers. You should totally come!

I had to remove a few names from my blogroll, folks. It’s not that I don’t love them, it’s that they don’t love the internet! Their blogs have ceased. I have, however, added a funny blog of random writings called Gutes Beispiel. You should read it. But not while you’re high—it’ll make your head explode.

A friend of mine recently left for a monthlong sojourn to Sweden and she came to the ultimate Sojourner for advice on navigating Caucasia. As someone who has been inside the belly of the beast and lived to tell, I was more than happy to impart some wisdom gleaned over several solo odysseys. Below is an excerpt from my email to her. Perhaps it will serve you well on your next international journey.

Caucasia Cheat Sheet
dictated but not read

Random "Facts":

  • Swedes are kind, but curt. No dilly-dallying, no small talk in the shoppes--they'll say hi, they'll answer a question if you ask it, but they don't come up every 2 minutes, asking if you need help with stuff (which I LOVE).
  • It's cold and dark--get up and at 'em early to do your thing before a tween vampire turns you into her lover.
  • They don't really sell OTC things we're used to getting. So bring your Advil cold & sinus, cranberry supplements, and Nyquil.
  • Sometimes the letter "K" is pronounced "Sh". So, you know, the signs advertising a "KOK" aren't as funny as we'd like them to be.
  • There are no brown people, really. So fully expect to see:
White people with dreadlocks (guh)
People in blackface (not all the time, but, you know, it's not unheard of to attend a jungle-themed party and dress like "natives," including makeup.)

To make sure you don't end up in a pit of despair, I suggest bringing:
  • A few of your favorite DVDs (or download to your comp)--maybe it was just Australia, but I had a hard time getting Netflix and Hulu out of the US, and even some YouTubes don't play when I was in Europe. Also, DVDs are coded by regions--a Swedish DVD won't play in your laptop. In those early days of jetlag and overwhelmed-ness, nothing takes the edge off like a couple seasons of Arrested Development.
  • Cheat sheet of vocab words. It sounds silly, but having a list of foods really helped me when I was in Sweden, Paris, and Germany. Going to the grocery store or a restaurant, I didn't have such an intense breakdown because I knew which one was cake (kaka) and which one was pie (paj)--and I could order from a menu (many will be translated, though) without being scared a fish head would show up on my plate.
  • I'd bring a towel, just so you have one that's yours. Of course, I always bring a washcloth, but being Caucasian yourself, perhaps that doesn't apply here.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Pop Quiz:
Which of the following things happened to a blacktress this week?
a. The intern hid the tin of Kit Kats from me yesterday afternoon because--and I fuckin' quote--“You were doing so well, eating an apple and all. I didn’t want to tempt you and you’d already had enough.”
b. I missed not one but TWO chances to showcase my skills to the NBC network’s head of talent diversity.
c. I received a phone call from someone telling me that, “Wednesday’s a big day. I’m coming out of the closet to the community… as a singer-songwriter.”
d. I discovered that the Duane Reade pharmacy cashier knows me by face. Clearly, I’m getting too many meds.
e. All of the above.

I’ve been feeling very un-gifted and black lately. Last night was particularly rough, as I performed in a Gaysian’s hilarious sketch version of “A Raisin in the Sun” as part of an NBC showcase. Of course, it's always fun to perform, but here I was as the best, brightest, and brownest in the comedy community were showcased, and I was serving as mere blackup in an Asian man’s production. Of course, he ended up winning the showcase, cause he’s hilar, but I had the biggest—or smallest?—pity party for myself last night. It involved cereal, staring at ice cream in the freezer, and watching 30 Rock. I had flashb(l)acks to middle school, as I realized how much I was out of the black kid loop yet again. I hadn't even known about the auditions, let alone the showcase, until the Gaysian asked me to reprise my role as the Ruth to his Walter Lee.

It was fun and all, but I couldn't help but feel like this precious baby animal (h/t Michael, the man who brought us Big Freedia):

This delicate, half-blind red seal has been shunned from his colony because of his color.
Look at him, standing on the rocky shore as his black brethren mix and mingle in the distance. I'm gonna send him a copy of this book:

I mean, look at these eyes. How can you not want to be his friend?

Hey guys! What's up?!
Oh, you like fish? I like it, too. Hahahhaa.
We have so much in common.
Can I come to the ocean depths with you?
Let's be friends?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Riding the Elevator in a Post-Racial America

Conversation on an Elevator
The time is 4 minutes ago. I'm on the elevator heading back up to my office after grabbing some organic fruits at Trader Joe's. It's me and a white-bearded Caucasian fellow who works on the 4th floor.

Me [on the phone with a friend]: All right, girl, I gotta get back up to the plantation. I'll see you Saturday. Bye! [I hang up.]
Man [smiling to himself, looking straight ahead. then, in a sing-song voice]: Pickin' some cotton, pickin some cotton'.
Me: Mmm-hmmm. Always toiling.
The elevator opens on 4.
Man: Have a good day.
He exits.

I have to find out what happens on the 4th floor.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Workplace Dynamics in a Post-Racial America

Guys, my boss won’t stop calling me “Ebony Beyond" and it's getting annoying.

Wait, have I not told you about this?

So, last week he was in a friendly mood and we were discussing drag names. [By “discussing,” I mean he was standing by my desk (cheating out, of course) but talking loudly enough that the whole office could hear him.] We went on a tangent about Bette Davis, during which I said, “If I was a drag queen, I’d totally be Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, all haggard and tragic and living in the past.” To this, massa replied, “No, your drag name would be Ebony Beyond,” before walking back down to his office.
(You know a former drag queen always knows to exit on a laugh line.)

It was funny at the time and maybe even amazing. I felt as though I’d been knighted, a la Judy Dench. We had a laugh about it the next day, and that was that.
Or so I thought.

Two days later, Massa began addressing me as “Ebony Beyond” in all email correspondence. At worst, it's a serious HR violation and I could sue the company for enough money to fund my dreams; at best, it's awkward. Here are some examples.* All of them have been copied and pasted directly, with no editing.:
I got to work (late) this morning and had this email waiting for me:
Hey Ebony---Do you have contact info handy for [so-and-so]?

[When I assured him I'd be able to get some information from an contributor, even though the contrib was being difficult, he gave the following reply.]
Ok---if anybody can reign ‘em in its Ebony Beyond Belief

And this one just takes the cake. The matter-of-factness with which he calls me Ebony and uses text-message language is just out of control.:
Ebony--- think we are covered—thanks though for jumping in. BTW are you thinking to revisit some of these artists in the subsequent issues—they seen deserving of additional coverage—esp the one you sent yesterday—omg hipster wc—who would have thunk it!

Um, did my massa write “omg” in business-related correspondence? I swear, this is the same one who will give you dagger eyes if you disagree with him in public. I feel like I work for Demi Lovato. I need to call up Obama at the UN and tell him what's going on--he'd have me sitting on a settlement in no time.

I guess I should be glad I have a nickname because it means I'm in massa's good graces. I got to work 2 hours late this morning because of a--you guessed it--doctor's appointment. I've been having back spasms and extreme pain that was so bad that I couldn't sleep at all on Monday night. And I don't mean "I didn't sleep at all" in a I-slept-but-tossed-and-turned-and-woke-up-a-few-times way. I mean I straight-up laid still on an incline and tried to stop the pain from shooting down my arm as I watched 1995 hit film Masterminds (Vincent Kartheiser's best work) and a portion of Terminator 3 (it just made my back hurt even more). It even hurt to lay down. Y'all, when it hurts to be lazy, you know something up!

At this morning's appointment I learned that my back muscles are so hard they're practically calcified. When the doctor touched my shoulders, she actually jumped back a bit and furrowed her brow, like she was in a scene from Aliens and a creature was gonna pop out. Good news: I got muscle relaxants. Bad news: I'll never leave the house again.

*I never thought I’d see the day when I’d search for “Ebony” in my Outlook inbox.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Friday Mash-up Post

Hey friends!

How are you going? Please excuse my lack of bloggery--trust me, it hurts me more than it hurts you. I'm all out of whack and speaking in Aussie slang because I have two gals from Sydneytown staying with me. It's kinda surreal to come home and find two people I haven't seen in more than 2 years getting dolled up in my bathroom. Although guests are stressful, these are two women I adore. One is the daughter of my Aussie mum, and her roommate, Prue, is my ex-wife. (We were facebook-married for quite a time, but being a real-life lesbian, Prue found our status to be a real clit-block.) Our love, however, never waned.

A shared love of Pink (the singer, not the Victoria's Secret clothing line), vodka-cokes, and karaoke led to many a long night on their balcony.

It was she who lent me the first book in the Twilight series. I am forever in her debt.

I'm so happy they're here, but you guys know how I need time to openly sob and eat ice cream in my underwear at the end of a long day. Having visitors means I'm in 24/7 stress-mode. I came home to find that they'd used the countertop sponge to wash the dishes and I had to say a serenity prayer. I had a dream last night that they didn't know how to turn off the stove and left the gas on and we almost died.

Did I mention that I'd auditioned for this last week? Well, anyway, yeah. I left feeling awkward and was supposed to have been notified by 9/12, but when I didn't hear back, I forgot about it. You can imagine my joy when Martin (my new favorite gay) called me up and told me that I'm going in on Tuesday!

I think I'm just really nervous about the showcase tonight cause my mom is coming. But I've been working on a new opener based on my African ancestry that's been getting some good responses. (I'm hoping the 30 Rock rep casts me as Toofer's sister who thinks he's as much of a blowhard as everyone else.)

I think I'm also being cray cray because I haven't had private time with Jewboo in over a week! Guys, I'm straight-up longing, 19th-century style. It's gotten to the point where I'm keeping a picture of us on my bedside table. Is he in Brooklyn or Afghanistan--either way, I am holding on to memories. It's hard when you're both working by day and trying to have dreams by night. Yesterday, all I ate was a probiotic yogurt and a trader joe's café latte in a can! I'm sitting at my desk, eating a lunch of grapes and....GRAPES! That's it, y'all.

Oh, before I go, I must share this inappropriately angry email I got from a reader of my magazine:

I must complain about the adhesive you use to attach mailing labels to the covers of ---- magazine. I subscribe to several magazines. All have labels which peel off easily and leave no residue. I tried pulling the labels off the Summer and Fall issues of ---- and was left with areas of a sticky substance which I could not remove. I tried removing the gum with rubber cement thinner which resulted only in removing the ink on the cover. I had to cut the corner off the issue to get rid of the gumminess. This, of course, was counterproductive as the reason for removing the label in the first place was to see the artwork in full. How about changing your technique so we all can enjoy the artwork.

Really, lady? Really? Our mailing-label technique???? How about you end sentences with the proper punctuation and go take your frustration out on the kids who never return your calls? Here's my drafted reply:

Dear [Judith Light],

I am very sorry to hear that you're having such trouble with our mailing labels. Perhaps you should purchase the magazine on the newsstands or not have an address. You seem like a scrappy, pugnacious woman who could fend for herself on the streets--maybe even become some sort of gang leader. I mean,
rubber cement thinner for a mailing label? Judith, your talents are wasted on reading our magazine. I have attached a jpeg of the painting as it appeared on the cover--no corners cut at all!

Hope this helps. Thank you for your continued interest in our publication.



I would like to end this post with a little video--you know, cause it's Fri-day, Fri-day, Fri-ee-i-ee-i-day. How's about an awesome fake trailer?! Manic pixie dreamgirls drive me cray!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blacktresses & The Blues

**I started writing this post on Friday. Today is Tuesday. That should give you a sense of where I'm at.**

Guys, I am so dead tired. Don’t you ever wake up and have one of those days where it’s like, “Yeah, I could totally kill myself right now and it wouldn’t even be a big deal.”?

No? Just me? Well, anyway, that’s where I’m at.

I hung out with my mom last night and, as always, it was a mixed bag—a dash of hope, humbling gratitude, a bit of self-loathing, gut-wrenching frustration, and a feeling of powerlessness that makes a gal eat bread pudding for breakfast—natch. We had dinner with my voice over coach and it was straight out of Waiting to Exhale. They got along swimmingly, which I’d expected, but also banded together to point out several of my shortcomings.

You know, like how I don’t “invest in myself.”
And how I “dress like someone who doesn’t care.”
And how I “don’t focus on what really matters”
Oh yeah—and how I need to purchase some really good wigs and hair pieces if I want to be seen as a professional on stage and in auditions.

I feel like a character in a Carson McCullers novel.

Of course, it always helps to keep it in perspective. After all, I could be little Paisley here:

When questioned, her mother didn’t really get all the hoopla. “Well, at this pageant there was an option to do celebrity-wear,” the mom said. “And we thought about what we could wear with her being a brunette, and Julia Roberts is my favorite actress of all time. I thought it was real cute to do Julia. She’s 3. If she was 10 I never would have considered this. But as young as she is I thought it was very comical.”

With that in mind, I’m trying to shake off mom’s words, but the timing couldn’t really be worse—this Sunday is round 1 of NBC’s StandUp for Diversity auditions, where oppressed comics can finally get their reparations.

Last year, I didn’t even make it past the first round.
I was beaten by an 11-year-old boy with braces and rubber bands who talked about putting vodka in his cereal.

Needless to say, I’m nervous. And I only have 60 seconds to prove myself. If I win them over, I get to go on to the second round, which allows me 2 whole minutes to bring the pain. If I pass that I get to be on the showcase the following night.

I know, I mustn’t count my chickens. But it could be fun.
If only I could find a way to be hilarious in 60 seconds and stop thinking about how my natural hair makes me look like, “Whoopi Goldberg, not caring, wearing a moo-moo.”

I'm gonna go get a pedicure and re-watch "Good Hair."

Blacktress out!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Seriously, Guys, Never Forget.

Today, 9/12/2011, marks the five-year anniversary of Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds.

In the interim, he has attempted to establish himself as a real actor, and although Alpha Dog was certainly no Crossroads, I'd like him to remember which side his bread is buttered...on.

After a true day of remembrance, we must NEVER FORGET that the man has one of the finest falsettos since Minnie Riperton and dance moves that put Bieber to shame.

Justin, lovin' you is easy cause YOU SING AND DANCE.

Look, Justin, I know the death of Michael Jackson must have been hard--it was a dark time for all of us. Perhaps you just felt like the pressure was really on once your idol was RIP. But you mustn't hide your rhythmic light under a bushel. You owe it to us to do what you're good at--singing and dancing.

Justin, you need to dance like EVERYBODY is watching. Because we are. We are watching and waiting for you to stop pretending you invented Napster. You brought sexy back but it went away again. FIND IT, JUSTIN. FIND IT AND BRING IT TO ME.

To strengthen my plea, I'd like to show a video released last week that I have been dying to post. Although it may seem like I'm behind the times, one of my friends featured in the video sent it to me the moment it hit the information superhighway. I wanted to wait until the day of remembrance to post it. If you haven't seen it, enjoy.

Justin, if you're reading and watching, please hear this humble plea. Don't hold it against them for using one black person for a nano-second. Their intentions are true.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

You Can Find Me in Da (Country) Club

*******Breaking Blacktress News******

October 22, I’ll be heading to New Hampshire to do a show with 5 Funny Females--and I’ll be making more money than I’ll have to spend getting there!

I'll also have a 20-minute set--plenty of time to do my best blackting and comedic stylings. It's very exciting but also a touch nerve-wracking—the show is in New Hampshire, y’all. At a country club.

Yes, a country club.

You know a blacktress gets uneasy when traveling through the Caucasian countryside, but when I’m on a veritable Northern plantation—and so recently after the release of The Help, no less—it becomes even more touch and go. What if they force me to teach them what it means to really love, or how to sing with emotion? I immediately reached out to the other NYC comic who's booked, asking if we could carpool. She's from Boston and knows how to traverse these lands. (I've found that, when traveling into unknown parts of Caucasia, it helps to bring your own blondtourage to help with translation and such.)

The lineup includes a lesbian, an Asian woman, and a blacktress, so I’m not exactly expecting the RNC, but seeing as it’s at a country club and people are spending $55 for dinner and a show, I can’t really count my chickens.

I should probably keep a lid on the whole “gentrifying the vag” thing, though.

This is really good news after the start to a rough week. Tuesday I went to the dentist for a cleaning, only to find out that I have not one, not two, but four cavities!!! And this, after the hygienist tells me the cost of my cleaning and exam is double what they said it was (she got her facts wrong). WTF?!

I floss diligently—even in a blackout! (I’ve seen evidence of my strict oral hygiene the next morning, floss strewn about like yarn ravaged by kittens.) How did this happen?

I guess trying to dodge orthodontic bills by making my retainer out of Laffy Taffy wasn’t as smart as I thought.

The cavities themselves don’t stress me out as much as the cost of them. The doc says it’ll be $200 - $300 for each filling.
Remember how last week I was depressed about not being able to fund my dreams? Well, now, I can’t even fund my own oral health!

The only way I can swing this is to do one filling per month until I’m all done.
Y’all, I am basically putting my teeth on layaway!

Um, did I or did I not get a degree? Do I or do I not direct the editorial for a national magazine? (ok, it’s probably only read by 12 people, but still—you can find it in any bookstore that hasn’t gone bankrupt!)

Add to this the bills from my near-terminal-illness, and I’m actually going to have to file Chapter 11. Or, like, Chapter 9—close to bankruptcy, but not quite.

Okay, I know I’m, like, 40 years behind, but what the hell is the point of insurance? I don’t think I should have to pay for any services unless they find
and treat whatever it is ails me. I mean, if I get into your radioactive tube and you don’t find anything, then why should I give you half my paycheck? If I get in your radioactive tube and you find cancer or a tumor and can’t actually cure me, why should my surviving relatives pay you? I mean, clearly, you’ve failed them. It’s just like camping—why go outside and pretend to be poor? United Healthcare, why must I pay you for: (1) making me think I’m going to die; (2) accepting a doctor’s suggestion that she do a minimally invasive and simple test [that actually costs hundreds of dollars.]; (3) telling me that I’m actually in good health, or in a state that no one can really do anything about? It seems that I’m right where I left off, only with a damn neti pot and some supplements.

Ok, that’s enough from me. The money from this gig can go to half a filling!
How are you guys? Leave a comment with a word or phrase, and I’ll use it to write today’s sketch—seriously!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's like a Choose Your Own Adventure blog!

Hey guys,

So, inspired by the one comment and several gchat messages, I have fleshed out the Chris Hansen sketch. I think it captures Hansen's essence--what do you think?

"A Lunch Date With Chris Hansen"

[NATE--a 40-something man who looks like a middle-school chemistry teacher in the 1980s--sits at a café table, looking at his watch. He sends a text on his phone and closes it.

A YOUNG FEMALE SERVER approaches. She wears her hair in a ponytail and is all smiles.]

Waitress: Hello, sir, how are you this afternoon? Can I get you anything to drink while you’re... waiting for someone?
Nate: Yes, I'm meeting a friend. I’ll take some tap water.
Waitress: Okay. Could I by any chance interest you in some of our homemade lemonade?
Nate: No, thanks. Water will be fine.
Waitress: All right, then. [she exits]
Waitress [offstage]: I'll be right out! I just have to change first!
Nate: What?

[CHRIS HANSEN enters, in his signature button-down-and-blazer combo. He holds several sheets of paper in his hand. NATE rises to greet him.]

Nate: Hey Chris. Long time, no see, huh? [He leans in to give him a hug.]
Chris [stiff]: Hey there, good to see you.
Nate: Sit down, man--you're making me anxious. The waitress will be back in a second.
Chris: Yeah, I saw her. She’s cute, huh?
Nate: Um, I don’t know. I guess.
Chris: Do you know who I am?
Nate: Yes…I’ve known you since college.
Chris: Great, then you know why I’m here.
Nate: To eat lunch?
Chris: Let me read one of your emails.
Nate: Oh god, Chris, are you fucking serious?
Chris [reading in his wonderful staccato]: “Hey, Chris, can’t wait to catch up. Let’s grab a bite at Dominic’s around 1ish on Thursday. – Nate” Now, what did you mean by that?

Nate: Um…that I wanted to get together.
Chris: So when I wrote back, "Great." what did you think I meant by that?
Nate: That it was great?
Chris: Did you or did you not just send me a text message moments ago, saying, "I'm starved. Are you stuck in traffic?"
Nate: Yes
Chris: Are you always this demanding with your lunch companions?
Nate: I wouldn't call it "demanding," but no, I'm not--
Chris: So, this is the first time? I find that a bit hard to believe.
[Nate says nothing.]
Chris: Did you know think you were communicating with a 14-year-old girl?
Nate: No! I have limited time for lunch, and I wanted to make sure we were on, that's all.

[Cut to CHRIS HANSEN IN THE 'DATELINE' STUDIO, surrounded by television screens. He looks at an unknown person.]

Chris: Here's this adult male...I mean, he's nearly 50 years old. And he's texting me. To "hurry up" when I haven’t seen him in six years. Six years. A chance encounter. At a reunion. And he's nagging me. As though he's entitled to me. That’s just inappropriate, any way you look at it.

[Cut back to the restaurant interior.]

Chris: one-ish.
Nate: Yeah--
Chris: one-ish.
Nate: Yes.
Chris: You will agree that "one-ish" was the predetermined time?
Nate: Yes.
Chris: You want to try again?
Nate: What? What do you mean, 'try again?' I said yes.
Chris: Well, I have the transcript right here.
Nate: Jesus Christ, Hansen! Chill out, you're off the clock!
Chris: This morning, at 9:07 am, I wrote, "I'll be running a bit late. Let's make it 1:30 just to be safe."
Nate: What are you talking about? I never got an email.
Chris: You sure?
Nate: Yes
Chris: You want to try again?

[Nate pulls out his smartphone, scrolling furiously through his email. He hands it to Chris Hansen.]

Nate: Look for yourself. Go ahead, check the trash folder. You didn't send it.

[Chris Hansen looks through the phone. He takes out his own phone and scrolls through it. He shows a flicker of embarrassment.]

Chris: It would seem that the message I thought I'd sent was actually simply a draft.

[Cut back to CHRIS HANSEN IN THE 'DATELINE' STUDIO, surrounded by television screens. He looks at an unknown person.]

Sometimes, you just can't catch 'em all. But we're not going to let that stop us at "Dateline."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

National Sketch/Blog/Monologue Writing Month-- Or, as I like to call it, Time to Get It Together

Happy Tuesday!

God, isn’t it great when you don’t have to be on the plantation five whole days?

I don’t even know what to blog about. My head’s in a fog and I’m waiting for my coffee to take effect. I think what I’ll do is share some of my works in progress.

So, September is National Sketch Writing Month, which challenges the gifted-yet-unmotivated to write 30 sketches in 30 days. I’m not really a sketch writer, but I've decided to co-opt this idea in order to start writing that solo show I’ve been talking about—and get back on track with the blog posts.
Unfortunately, today is the 6th and I’ve only written one sketch, which doesn’t bode well for my attempts to live my dreams, but I’m not gonna give up yet!

Here are some of the ideas I’m working on. Let me know your thoughts. Whatever gets the most positive response will be tomorrow’s post.

The Sista Wife
Logline: Regine marries into a polygamist family and teaches her fellow sister wives how to be strong black women. (already in progress)

Sad Girl Goes to Prom
Logline: We see Sad Girl standing in front of her mirror, giving herself a pep talk before heading out to her high school prom without a date.

The Dead of Night
Logline: We see what would have happened to Bella Swan if she and Edward had broken up or if she’d just aged like a regular human.
Logline: A lone woman shows up to a rally and gets the address wrong. No one’s there and she loses her mind. “Why does no one like me???”

Chris Hansen in His Daily Life
Logline: We see Chris Hansen meeting up with a friend for lunch. He shows up late and follows the same protocol as he would if he were catching a predator.

For example:
[Nate--40-something, kinda overweight White guy--sits at a café table, looking at his watch. A young female waiter approaches.]

Waitress: Hello. Can I get you anything to drink while you’re waiting?
Nate: Um, sure. I’ll take some tap water.
Waitress: Okay. Could I interest you in some of our homemade lemonade?
Nate: No, thanks. Water will be fine.
Waitress: All right, then. [she exits]
Waitress [off stage]: I'll be right out. I'm just going to change.
Nate: What?
[Chris Hansen enters.]
Nate: Hey Chris. [He rises to give Chris a hug.]
Chris [stiffens, not wanting to be touched.]: Hello. Are you ready to eat?
Nate: Sure—just gotta get the menus first. The waitress will be back in a second.
Chris: Yeah, I saw her. She’s cute, huh?
Nate: Um, I don’t know. I guess.
Chris: Do you know who I am?
Nate: Yes….I’ve known you since college.
Chris: Great, then you know why I’m here.
Nate: To eat lunch?
Chris: Let me read one of your emails.
Nate: Oh god, Chris, come on.
Chris [reading]: “Hey, Chris, can’t wait to catch up. Let’s grab a bite at Dominic’s at 1pm on Thursday. – Nate” Now, what did you mean by that?
Nate: Um….that I wanted to get together.

And so on and so forth…

Hope you had a good weekend!