Friday, January 16, 2009

So, Let Me Ask You, Too...

The past week in a half I have been talking to quite a few people about taking on a project that would greatly affect my life and this blog over the next year. So, it's only natural that I ask you to weigh in.

You may have heard of Suzan-Lori Parks and her "365 Days/365 Plays," performed by theater companies around the country in 2006-2007 and written in 2002-2003.

Well, the plan is to blatantly steal her idea and apply it to sketch comedy. I would write 365 sketches in one year starting Monday. The game plan, that is not at all set in stone, is that they would be produced next year, somehow, in a collaboration between Sketchfest and Chicago Improv Festival. But, like I said, that part is not set in stone. Still in early talks. There's no commitment or obligation on anyone's part. Regardless, I would try to find a vehicle for getting the sketches produced preferably by multiple comedy groups from around the world. The attraction of CIF and Sketchfest, is that it would all happen in some concentrated burst right here in Chicago.

But the question that bugs me, as it did with Suzan-Lori Parks, is "Why?" It's kind of a David Blaine stunt for a comedy writer. I don't care that you crapped out a play a day while hopping on one foot. What I care about, as an audience member, is being engaged and entertained. With 365 comedy sketches, they ain't all going to be gems. My hope, at the very least, is that they are all interesting.

There is certainly a challenge to me as a writer to produce so much material. I would need to tap into some deep creative rivers that I don't even know I have. That part interests me. I also worry that at the end of the year, I never want to write a comedy sketch ever again. I doubt that would happen, though. I love it too much.

It would affect this blog because that's pretty much all I would be writing for a year. And I would use this space to post a new scene every night to document the project. So, I do like the transparency of the project, too. You'd be on the journey with me, should you continue to check in during the year.

So, please let me know what you think. I have been teetering on the edge for over a week now and I need someone to either push me hard on the back or grab me by the belt.


(I am performing with the Improvised Shakespeare Company at iO at 8pm, so, really, that's the show you should be seeing!)


COOL TABLE - North Theater

- South Theater


I think you have a safe bet on any of the three options. Cool Table's been around about four years in Chicago and has some good folks involved. Approximately Three Peters is from Toronto where they are doing quite well. Brave New Workshop is from Minneapolis and has been around since 1958. They are that part of the country's answer to Second City. I would be likely to check out the Peters or BNW just because they're not from around these parts.


PANGEA 3000 - North Theater


- West Theater

I haven't seen any of these. I would lean towards Pangea 3000 because they claim to be comprised of writers and contributors to The Onion. The Imponderables is another Canadian import that looks to be on the same level at Three Peters. Party Central is from New York and would be my last resort only because their bio says "There will, however, be no references to poop, farts, robots or Hitler." In other words, they wouldn't want me to do 365 sketches because, baby, it's all going to be gaseous Robot Hitler scenes.


- South Theater


Ruby Lake is in the north theater and I have absolutely no opinion on them. Mere Fluff features two very talented comedians. Last Call Cleveland has been around awhile and has done strong work. They would be my first option.


BRI-KO - South Theater

Not at all familiar with the other two shows. The show to see i n my book is Bri-Ko. Simple, silent, funny.

The ticket info for Sketchfest, click HERE.


Yesterday, I asked...

"A Sri-Lankan company has come up with a new way to make treeless paper out of what?"

No one, NO ONE, said "rubber," "limestone," or "coconuts"

100% got it right with "elephant poop"
- why else would I ask if it
wasn't "elephant poop"?

According to, there’s a new line of eco-paper available, and for once, the term’s not an oxymoron. It’s from the Sri-Lankan based company Mr. Ellie Pooh, and yes, the paper really is made out of elephant poop. Why Harvest Elephant Poop for Paper in Sri Lanka? To save elephants, of course. It turns out that a tenth of the mere 40,000 Asian elephants worldwide live in Sri Lanka, where they’re killed due to their interference with agriculture. There’s no major ivory trade, and Sri Lankans don’t eat elephant meat, so the sole factor that elephants are being exterminated is because they’re a nuisance. If you think the whole idea of paper-from-elephant-poop seems to be a desperate effort—think again. An adult elephant creates 500 pounds of dung a day, making it a very reliable, very renewable resource.

And I can't think of anything better on which to write 365 sketches.

I wonder if they're hiring.