Friday, March 7, 2008

A Political Runner

Topical humor in sketch revues can be risky. It relies on the audience being familiar with the subject and, being based on a current event, you run the risk of the heat of the topic being old news quickly. If you are a stand-up or working on a show that burns through a lot of material, topical humor is a great resource. Things never stop happening and, just like life, stupidity persists. There's always something to target. Works well for blogs, too.

Making sure the audience is aware of the subject is tricky. Sometimes you just have to trust that they are as aware as you are. And you'll find out rather quickly if they are not. One way to get around this is to let them know what you are poking a stick at. The Daily Show has a great format for this. Here's the news item and, now that we're all on the same page, we're going to brutally make fun of it.

What really got my goat up - my goat, apparently, has been lazing about for weeks - was Hillary's fear-mongering ad that likely gave her the edge in Texas and, gulp, my home state, Ohio.

If you are not familiar, the ad shows various children asleep while a phone rings in the background. Concerned parents check in on their kids while an ominous narrator talks about the phone ringing at 3am at the White House and who do you want to answer the phone? Someone with experience? Someone who already knows the world leaders? Someone who has been tested? Then it cuts to Hillary picking up a phone. Apparently, she was already up, because at 3am, she's in business attire and wearing her "serious" glasses.

Imagine the same ad, but instead of cutting to Hillary picking up at the end, I offer three different scenarios.


Narrator: (sfx: phone ringing) It's 3am at the White House. Who do you want to answer the phone?

(Cut to Hillary in bed picking up phone on the nightstand)

BILL: (on phone) Hill, it's me, Bill. I'm at the back door.
HILLARY: What time is it?
BILL: The door's locked. Come let me in.
HILLARY: Where are your keys?
BILL: I lost them.
HILLARY: You lost them?
BILL: Yah. Must have been in my pants.
HILLARY: Your pants?
BILL: Oh, yah, lost them, too.
HILLARY: Be right there.
(Person in bed next to Hillary rolls over. It's Karl Rove.)
KARL: Who is it?
HILLARY: Don't worry about it, Karl. Just go back to bed.



Narrator: (sfx: phone ringing) It's 3am at the White House. Who do you want to answer the phone?

(Cut to Obama in bed picking up phone on the nightstand.)

OBAMA: Hello?.. Oh, hi.... No. No problem. I was up...Really...I see..
MICHELLE:(rolls over) Who is it, Baby?
OBAMA: (Covering phone) It's Delaware.
MICHELLE: What do they want?
OBAMA: They're just feeling lonely.
MICHELLE: Do they know what time it is?
OBAMA: (whispers)They're crying...Don't worry, honey, I won't be long. (She rolls back over to go to sleep. He returns to the phone.)...I think you're a very fine state...uh-hunh...Everybody likes you...I like you...uh-hunh...The new highway does not make you look fat...

(fade out)

I tried to think of a third one for John McCain, but all I could think of was him in front of a full length mirror drunk in his underwear practicing tai chi as the phone keeps ringing.


Yesterday, I asked...

"The Seattle Biomedical Research Institute will pay volunteers as much as $4,000 to contract what?"

50% said "bubonic plague"
- Not to be confused with the Ebonic plague, for which I dare not make a joke.

Another 50% said "a variety of STDs"
- A cocktail, if you will. And that's not salt around the rim.

No one thought it was "mono"

The correct answer, left unpicked, was "malaria"

According to the Associated Press, the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute will pay volunteers as much as $4,000 to be bitten by mosquitoes infected with malaria. Scientists say no lives are in danger because the volunteers can be cured. The institute is testing which vaccines work fastest. The head of the program, Dr. Patrick Duffy, says volunteers will spend several nights under medical supervision in a hotel.

Hmmm, four grand, a few nights in a hotel. You only have to endure some nausea and vomiting along with fatigue and sweats. In other words, SPRING BREAK!!!


Anonymous said...


These variations of the 3am phone call are HI-LARIOUS!

Thanks for the laugh!
Mary Jo

Old Ned said...

Joe --

Great runners!

For McCain, how about him taking a 3am call from George W, who's phoning from a high stakes poker game (with several of his rich, Republican cronies), to remind McCain that the only reason why he endorsed him in the first place was in return for his promise to make the Bush tax cuts (for the wealthy) permanent?

McCain might demure, on the grounds that the country is headed into a depression, George W could get belligerent, and then the two of them could have a big fight in which their true feelings (going back to the bitter 2000 race)come out.

Or is that too pointed?

Brett and Anthony said...

McCain doing tai chi in the mirror? What in the F' is wrong with that?