If you’ve seen Booby Hatch on stage, in a questionable internet video, or at a potluck dinner you’ve probably wondered the same thing: “Wow…how’d you…come up with that?” The answer is complicated. But mostly it involves the four pillars of good sketch comedy: writing, re-writing, improvisation and vodka. We come up with fresh material by stretching our minds and dunking our hands into uncharted waters hoping to find a floater of fabulosity. In this post, you the reader can listen in as we plumb the depths of our own creative methods with the plunger of TMI:
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INTERIOR: A plastic pink playhouse in the wilds of Central Park. Twilight.
Alex: Is this the part where we tell the nice people how the magic happens? Hmmm, ok. Hand me the tape recorder. (Fumbles with the buttons) So clothes are important. My writing wardrobe of choice is pajama pants, a Playtex 18 Hour Bra, and a foil beanie (it keeps the voices quiet.) If I’m writing alone, Bob Ross is on the TV and there’s a family-size martini nearby. (Actually, that’s probably true if I’m writing with Kath and Sabrina too.) I come to the table with a notebook of random ideas scribbled down while drunk on the subway or bored at funerals – you know, comedy GOLD! I recite my ideas out loud in French and if they’re not immediately greeted by a standing ovation, I storm off to pout in the bathroom for at least six hours, leaving broken lamps and (emotionally) shattered pets in my wake. Once the other ladies coax me out with Oreos soaked in wine, the sun has set and we fall asleep in a kitten pile. There, we mind-meld and write a sketch. Fun Fact: the idea for The Audition came from a sex dream we all had while watching Fame.
Sabrina: It’s true. Another Fun Fact: Booby Hatch was formed because Kath, Alex and I discovered we have joint sex-dreams, and we either had to form a sketch group to deal with the awkwardness or never speak again. Personally, my comedy juice is orange soda. And I know what you’re thinking, but you are WRONG, because you are thinking of one of those cheap, over-the-counter orange sodas like “Crush” or “Shazoo”–one of those neon orange deals that cures hangovers or strips the paint off of your imaginary car–and I am RIGHT, because I’m talking expensive, organic orange soda. It’s Nom de Rue’s “God’s Sunrise” and it costs $900 an ounce. I drink that stuff until the funny just bubbles out of me. Organic orange soda seems to kill subjectivity. We don’t need to ask ourselves “Is this funny?” because the answer is always yes. Do all the people who listen to “Suck It” on their iPods know that the “G” in the “props to the G” line refers to Robert Goulet? You bet they do. Is a Bea Arthur reference still funny if Bea died after we wrote the sketch? FUNNIER. Her ghost told us so in a sex dream. This soda is so great, it got me kicked out of the Eagle Scouts.
Alex: I had no idea you were an Eagle Scout.
Katharine: Right? And to think, my Girl Scout ass changed clothes in front of her, him, her. I’m so confused now…
Sabrina: I’m not sure that actually happened, Kath. I think that was sex dream #234. Remember? The one with all the Thin Mints? I kept yelling “Get a Hat!”? I think we filed that one under “Winky Funkerbeans.”
Alex: Yeah, that was the dream that won us the Honorable Mention at the Beaded Shag Amateur Burlesque Contest. Kath sure was flexib—(Kath wrestles the tape recorder from Alex.)
Katharine: I come to our writing sessions with notes and plans and the ability to throw it all away. Swallowing my pride is how I contribute to Booby Hatch. That and amazing poop/vomit jokes. There was this great sketch we did where we went to Narnia through a wardrobe to perform our rap ‘Suck It’ for all the woodland creatures! On our return home, we jumped up in joy from having such a wonderful adventure and I threw up on the floor. It was funny, trust me. And we filmed it in only five takes! Five times I kept warm creamed corn in my mouth, to do a spit take that we never ended up using. That is what I bring to Booby Hatch. A masochistic desire to F myself in the B.
Alex: The ‘F’ is for Fudgsicle, right?
Katharine: Yes. And the “B” is for balls.
A bear (in chaps and a Frankie Say Relax t-shirt) bursts into the playhouse and eats them.
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So, as you can see a lot of effort and brainjuice (mixed with vodka) goes into the brilliance that you eventually watch on the computer while shelling peas or taking a crap. Sweat, tears and whole lotta Bloody Mary mix. And not all ideas make it from the page to the soundstage (hands off Busta – that rhyme is copyright-protected!!) Believe it or not, many ideas borne of Stoli and pillow fights can seem…less funny the morning after. Some even bring on a kind of “comedy blackout” where we read the garbled notes the following morning and have NO idea what we meant. Some of those gems are pasted below – maybe you can explain them?
- Pee Purée
- ‘Print is Dead’ the musical
- Empaňadas at the last supper
- Small Wonder: Slavery of a White Girl
- Immigration Comedy Hour
- Night Court with Puppets
- Wii Kegels
- The lesser known Disciple, John the Cheapskate bringer of Tupperware.
- The demure G spot
- Need to rehearse a murder? There’s an App for that.
- Schundler’s Lust