Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Comic Material - short skits

See also 9 ideas and Premises and more-potentially-comic-material

Call centre skit #3

A man is eating a  hurried breakfast at a small breakfast table. he rises, kisses his wife on the cheek when she enters, what's on your agenda? I'm going to phone the callcentre and get the account sorted out....
she dials, gets the irritating optus music that they haven't changed for years and years, interrupted regularly by messages such as "the call centre is experiencing usually high volumes, we appreciate your patience and will be with you as soon as possible" she puts it on speaker and does the dishes, she hangs up the washing, sits down with coffee and does some stuff on her computer,
cmon she says, I need to go out
she does an exercise routine / stretches / runs on a treadmill/
mows the lawn...looks atthe clock it says noon, she has to go out.
reluctantly she hangs up, heads out to the car, sitting in the car, hesitates , then dials a no.on mobile and gets the same music through the blue tooth. She drops off a parcel, meets with a business associate, explains she's een holding for hours so would friend mind if she just leaves phone on, does some shopping, goes to the post office, picks up kids, gets home. its no 3pm. walks the dog, come s home agin it s 4pm she reluctantly ends the call. Brings in the washing , makes supper, dials the number again, supervises some homework, husband comes home, mends a button, asks her husband to be on phone duty while she showers,gets out of the shower, yawns, watches the news, they get into bed, husband falls asleep, the phone is still playing its music, she falls asleep with light still on, the phone falls from her hand to the floor.
 "hello, this is raphael, how may I be of excellent service to you today"

Call centre skit #2

A man is bought into an investigation / torture room by two burly guards. He is handcuffed and has a sack on his head. They roughly hurl him to the floor, and exit, slamming the door. He lies there groaning. We cut to

Two agents are discussing what to do with the victim:
should we give him the water treatment?
Nah, he's too tough for that
Should we give him the shock therapy....
might work, but we'v been told by the boys upstairs not to leave any marks...
so then its the...?
I'm afraid so...poor bastard

CUT back to

one of the agents enters the torture room. he removs the hood,almost gently, and the hancuffs.
Right then, you're free to go.
The man struggles up heads for the door.
There's just one small thing before you leave us. We need you to change this phone for us. Its the wrong model. We ordered a Galaxy 8000 and they sent us a Galaxy 800. Here's the toll free number. Good luck.

he leaves: the man dials, gets an indian accent, they ask security questions, he gets put on hold piped music, stage lights on him go own but piped music plays in background albeit softer, we cut to numerous other skits, we return to him, he's till on hold, clearly much time has passed (for eg. he has a beard), he's still holding, someone answers with a phillipino accent, they ask him the same security questions, what was your first school? what was the name of the street of your first house? he has to spell out the answers, they spell it wrong...  its like starting from the beginning, once he's explaind they tell him thy'll just put him on hold, new terribly irritating pipd music that just goes on and on...he's slumped in, plase, don't put me on hold, please stay with me

the two agen/scientists observe him through a key hole, detached, dispassionately

poor bastard, he'll crack soon etc etc

car skit, man return to partking bay at 1h55 in a 2hr bay, ranger is there with a stopwatch waiting,
"beat you to it mate"
but his car won't start.
the ranger wants to fine him
you can see the bloody car won't start
The bay in front of him becomes available
Help me push her then
the two men push the car into the next bay
I got lucky that time eh?

Not only can I not pull the rabit out of the hat, I've mislaid the rabit

Women comes into vet:
he's listless, been depressed, doesn't take any joy in anything anymore, just lies around the house hardly moving, not eating, hardly drinks, he's half blind and arthritic...
Vet: well it sounds like the end of the road, (filling up a syringe) do you want to be in the room when...
she: no if its all the same to you I'd rather not..
he: I understand...Johannes could you please..
. the women exits
the door opens, Johannes wheels in an old guy slumped in his wheelchair.

anyways little old lady, little old man, and little old dog limp their way into vet. The old couple hold hands - lots of cutaways of beautiful old, gnarled athritic hands. Sometimes one had goes down to pat the little dog - a daschund say, in a little winter coat - whose leg trembles uncontrollably. (Perhaps this parallels a tremor in the old man's leg)

eventually they get to see the vet. The old lady does the speaking. he's gone off his food. He can hardly walk. athritis everywhere. the termor's getting worse. We've both discusssed it and we think its best. With each point she makes we cut from her to her husband, who nods in agreement. Are you sure, the vet says. We're sure, she answers. Again the old man nods his assent. With a long sigh/groan he sits himself down. Rests his chin on his walking stick or walker - head to heavy to carry. There are tears in his eyes. there are tears in her eyes. the dogs eyes are also rheumy.

Should I piut him on the table so that you can say goodbye more easily, asks the vet. The couple nod. The vet scoops the daschund up and gently places him on the table. The old man struggles up again, holds onto the metal table for support, bends down to kiss the dog. The vet tells them he'll be back in a moment. The couple look long and deep into each other's eyes. the vet wheels a drip (iv) in on a long metal stand. We cut to their hands which are tightly squuzing each other. then they gently soften and release each other.

I'm sorry says the old lady, I can't. I'll wait outside. You're sure it'll be painless?
Just like falling asleep says the vet
he'll be fine.
She looks at the old man and the dog.
Thank you for everything, she says, and slowly shuffles out the door. We leave with her, as the vet fills a syringe with pentobarbital. The door closes on the old man, now sitting again, and the little dog, as the vet wheels the iv stand between the two.

the old woman stands in the waiting area, staring blankly at bags of dogfood and a wall chart about intestinal parasites. The minute hand of the clock on the wall shifts. the owner of a cat in a crate soothes the cat. The surgery door opens and the vet emerges.
He went peacefully, says the vet, do you want to see him one more time?
The old lady shakes her head. I think we'll just go home....I need to lie down.
Of course says the vet. Will you two get home ok?
The old lad y nods.
All right says the vet.
He goes back into the surgery and after a moment re emerges with the daschund on its lead. the final shot is of the old women and daschund tottering along the pavement (sidewalk) together, making their way home.


the dialogue between vet and old lady could set it up as darkly humerous, depending on the ailmenst she lists for eg "he's incontinent. he's half deaf. he farts all the time. hardly functions.bangs into things. his teeth are rotten and his breath is foul...

also the reveal could be handled differently for eg, she goes back into the surgery where both the old man and dog are motionless, the old man slumped over his walker, the dog motionless on the metal table. we could pan from one to the other, and back again...both seem lifeless, cutaway to the vet's comforting hand on her arm, "i can arrange the burial" says the vet, she nods, o/s we hear a snore, pan back to the dog whose chest rises a millimetre.... then cut to her and dog heading home

I often joke to Viv, when my body is feeling decrepit, that she should take me to the vet and have me put down....this is a kind of extension of that. Anyway it makes me smile...a somewhat grim and self deprecating smile, but also a recognition that man and beast share the same fate....and on that  note I recommend a very poignant story of Herman Charles Bosman's called Unto Dust

When I drive I scan the road repeatedly
for cyclists
people turning right from the wrong lane
attractive women with large breasts

When all seems dark and grey
there's always coffee
Black screen, sound of bubbling water

VO: what guy doesn't dream of his own harem. Of being the only man, surrounded by lucscious women all ready to serve and do his bidding
slit on screen, bits of bodies, giggles, splashing he lies there, its too good to be true, CU as he slowly rubs his eyes, keep the fantrasy going for a while longer, and then ...
Huge sheilas, boiled red sheilas, meaty 110 kilo sheilas, freckled obese sheilas, train mechanic sheilas on steroids, have occupied the Jacuzzi and someone is going to suffer

Rabbi tries to get his English speaking congregants to do a call and response prayer with him:
"Please repeat each line after me."
He starts off with relatively simple lines, but eventually the words get more unintelligible, alien to the English ear, and unpronouncable. He looks at them
Come on people - you can do better than that (perhaps there is a faint hint of antagonism between rabbi and his congregation)
eventually it ends in a chaotic shambles, with loyal congregants doing their best to chime in the odd syllable whenever they can....
Version 2:
The rabbi is actually giving them a bunch of insults in Hebrew, for example
"you're all a bunch of pompous dickheads"
"if I didn't need the salary I would be out of here like a shot" etc etc

The congregants revenge:
The rabbi has to read out all the names of the deceased before mourner's kaddish. He is given a list of increasingly complicated and unpronouncable names, for example:

HERSZ Simon- Bratherswaite Sendrover
etc etc etc.

Do a short film on the absurdities of suburban congregational life.

Song for call centres" "It'll be just like starting over"

Each person you speak to seems to work desperately alone, or for a different company - as if each company employee exists in a separate universe. Good stand up material. See also

Short story: "panic attacks are a pain in the bumb."

Poster of women in dress shop holding up mirror for female customer so she can examine her posterior: "Prepare to meet thy end"

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