We’re not going to assume anything here, but we’re pretty sure that if you’ve been keeping up with the Joneses, you have a computer and a bunch of free time on your hands. And, it’s not like we’re tracking your hits to our website or Facebook page or anything (Hi Jim), but we totally know that you like to sit and look at pictures of us sometimes. Maybe you even let your mind wander and try to imagine what was going on in some of the shots? A few of you may have even signed up for a class at the Learning Annex and are working on some short stories based on them. Well, step away from that there imagination, friends, because we are about to give you the true, behind-the scenes story…
Sabrina: All I can say is that this kid is everything I want to be. If I do a decent job with this life, perhaps I will be reincarnated as this kid. Check him out. He has some kind of onesie superhero costume going on, complete with a padded six-pack, a Freddie mask, a Zorro sword, and reasonable shoes. If he is not my hero, his mother sure is. The best thing? The thing you don’t know? This kid was growling when we took this picture. He had this low, consistent, wolf-growl going for about three minutes. We told him that this picture was of him “protecting” us, and he just knew what to do. You can’t make me stop loving this kid. Just try. Just you try. That kid will show up and karate chop you in the balls.
Katharine: Yah, I didn’t want to work with the kid at first. I mean, his mother was standing just out of frame. Such a Stage Mother too! Here she is enjoying a lovely sunny day when three freezing (it was early March) obviously crazy ladies come traipsing by and demand that they take her child. And she said yes! What a demanding diva! The boy? We’ve been dating for six months now.
Alex: All true. But this kind of stuff happens to us all the time: we were just minding our own Weewax, being fabulous in Brooklyn (as we do), when this pocket-sized Jason/ penguin/ Inigo Montoya approaches us, growling. We immediately recognized his high-Q potential and asked if we could pose seductively behind him. I was surprised that his Mom said yes so quickly! I was even more surprised when he said yes to a date with Katharine. When she gets out of jail we’re holding a little reunion at the Outback Steakhouse.
WHERE IS THE FOOD?
THAT’S NOT OUR FOOD, SILLY!
Sabrina: All I can say is that this pizza guy is everything I want to be. If I do a decent job with this life, perhaps I will be reincarnated as this pizza guy. I mean, are you kidding me?? Check him out. This sweet man was trying to deliver a pizza, and three crazy ladies in formal wear show up and assault him verbally. “What’s in that box?” they demand. “It smells like pizza!” they accuse. This Zen warrior is unfazed. His smile is like a butterfly on a raindrop, even when it appears that he has been screwed over by the nerdy guy who didn’t tip him and that strange women are trying to do prop improvisation with his bicycle . His heartbeat murmurs “all will be well,” and, as soon as his detachment kisses the face of the universe, the door immediately pops open and Professor Nerdington remembers to hand him a tip. The butterfly’s wings flutter gently in the wind as the pizza guy reaches over our mugging faces and takes his three dollars. The universe makes sense, especially when it doesn’t make sense, see?
Katharine: Typical New York City. No one blinks an eye at yet another photo shoot being done on top of their bicycle. Another day, another dollar that isn’t worth crazy people running up to you and posing with your transportation. The least we could have done is bridge the gap and hand the dude his tip. Did we? No! Because it would have ruined the shot. Dammit people, you have to understand that when opportunity knocks, only the strong and demented survive.
Alex: The guy in the hoodie is my biological father. I THOUGHT WE AGREED NOT TO USE THIS PICTURE!!
THE AUDITION: A Totally High-Tech Video Shoot
Sabrina: All I can say is that this director is everything I want to be. If I do a decent job with this life, perhaps I will be reincarnated as Lila. Check her out. She has turned a Broom into a BOOM with an exclamation point. And she is able to hold it steady as that hot guy unbuttons his shirt. That’s the way–uh huh, uh huh, I like it!!! Also, who was that hot guy? Did anyone get his number? Ring-a-ding! Soup’s on!!!
Katharine: This is an example of why I love being involved in video production. At no point did anyone sit and cry out “Why couldn’t we find a sound person?!” Ok, well maybe that one person asked. But she was a jerk. The rest of us decided to work as a team! When we realized we could not mic a stripping man, we got to problem solving. We put our heads together and looked at Lila for an answer. Lila, the ukulele playing super director, didn’t sit in her non-existent director’s chair and let everything fall apart. NO! At 4AM, her arm and the friggin broom were going to be the best sound capturer in the history of sound capturing! Hizzah!
Alex: Ah yes, this old chestnut. The old “tape a mic to a broom” sound-recording technique. It’s how I do all my audio surveillance, except that I cleverly disguise the broom handle in the sleeve of a veeeeeeery large trench coat (what? I used to be a Little Rascal we were always getting into hilarious scrapes!) I’m just glad those wacky adventures finally came in handy at the business end of a night shoot, when we were all out of bourbon and good ideas. Let’s hear it for American ingenuity!!
There it is. You’re welcome.
So, now, true believers, it’s YOUR TURN. Come up with a story for this shot and win a prize. You can’t win if you don’t enter! We’ll reveal the true story in next month’s BH blog, so, until then, keep stalking!
First of all,
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! (Sabrina falls down a shaft, screaming and thrashing as Russell Brand throws up on her childhood memories)
Okay, I’m sorry. It’s a Tuesday. It’s early. For me. That means before noon. Perhaps we are all a little slow today. Let me just make this clear to everyone.
Firstly, watch this:
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! IT BURNS!!!
I don’t know know why I draw the line here, but this is where I draw the line. Eighties remakes make me wonder why, but I never get too crazy over them. I had my eighties. You can’t take that away from me. Up until this point, I have been very good at just avoiding them. Karate Kid with Will Smith’s son? Okay. I’m never going to see it. A-Team? Whatever. Go ahead. Make it a musical while you’re at it. I won’t be there. Clash of the Titans? Fine. You know what? You got me. I watched that one. But it was on HBO, and my remote wasn’t working. Plus, it just gave me the opportunity to engage in one of my favorite activities, yelling at the TV while my husband looks uncomfortable.
So, why am I so mad when I walk past these Arthur posters on the subway?
Is it that I LOVE the original Arthur with Dudley Moore? No. I do not. I like that Christopher Cross song a lot. I remember my mom’s ex-boyfriend, the one with the jean jacket, singing it while he made grilled cheese sandwiches in the toaster oven. But other than that, it’s not the most well-constructed movie I have ever seen. Mostly, I just sit and yell at the screen. I question how Arthur knows that he loves Liza Minnelli after one shoplifting run-in at Nordstrom’s and one crappy date. I repeatedly say that I “can’t beeeeeeeeee-lieve” that she wants to marry an alcoholic with no life skills, a man who knocks at her door at three in the morning and parks on her front lawn. When the only conflict in the entire movie is magically resolved for no reason other than the need for a happy ending under the credits, I mumble something about my ass and go into the kitchen for a bowl of brownies. (That said, I do love me some John Gielgud. That man is a genius. And the fact that he makes an appearance as the butler’s ghost in Arthur 2? BRILLIANT!!! Yes, yes, and MORE yes. All that classical training FINALLY paid off, sir.)
So, is it that I HATE Russell Brand? No, I do not. I even read his book. Yes, THE WHOLE BOOK. Well, okay, MOST of the book. At least half of it anyway. And I’ve been known to sit through an hour of his stand up without changing the channel, promising everyone else in the room (AKA, my husband) that “it’s gonna get better.” I mean, I really liked him in that Paul Rudd movie, you know, the one with the surfer that was Paul Rudd, and some other guys did something with a girl or something. Brand seemed pretty convincing as the substance-abusing, narcissistic guy in really tight pants. SOLD.
So, why exactly am I so mad?
Because, COME ON!!!! COOOOOOOOOOOOOME ON. Really, Hollywood? Have you gotten THAT lazy? ARTHUR???? It wasn’t a movie in the first place. It was just Dudley Moore dinking around on a piano and coming up with jokes like:
LADY: Take my hand, Arthur.
ARTHUR: But that would leave you with one.
And that was fine. FINE!! Worth a remake? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Put it down!!!
I just like to imagine these writing rooms and pitch meetings. I don’t get it. Do writers just pick up a People magazine in the waiting room and wing it? Is EVERYBODY stoned?
“Um…let’s see here…well, it’s Goonies, see? But with Justin Bieber and Hilary Duff!! Or, um, wait, hold on. It’s, um…well, see…it’s The Toy, but with Jack Black!”
I give up. I turn this blog over to my husband to finish. I am going to look for brownies.
Oh…yes…well hello there. You must be Sabrina’s blog followers. I see. Well, she seems to have shuffled off to the kitchenette to find herself a little treat. Sweetums just loves her treats. Gosh, I suppose I should take this opportunity to thank you all for the unwavering support you provide for our family. With the money Sabrina has made from this blog, we have set aside a generous college fund for our five children. I had no idea bloggery was such a lucrative business. Heck, gang, I better skedaddle. Sweetums went and got her fist stuck in the peanut butter jar again. May God bless your journey. Toodle oo.
My husband’s said it before, and I’ll say it again and take credit for it: “George Burns looks like a chimp.”
I started off wanting to write about the fact that I have skipped turning into my mother and have directly passed into turning into my grandfather, but that just led me very quickly to the realization that old people look like monkeys, and that is way funnier than stories about me looking at fancy mobiles and bookshelves in a Martha Stewart magazine and yelling, “$2,500?? For what? Get me a piece of wood, a table saw and some green paint! I’ll make it for ten bucks!” WAY FUNNIER. (Although, a video of me trying to make a bookcase that looks like a tree would probably be a Youtube sensation, especially if I dressed up like a chimp who was dressed up like George Burns while doing it) Oh, say, while I’m off topic, there are some outtakes from a How-To series I did where I pretend to get electrocuted and do spit takes and fall down a lot. I was trying my best to bring a little Chevy Chase to about.com, but the producer was apparently more interested in teaching skills or some other kind of malarkey. I wish I had copies to post here, but the closest thing I can give you is a link to a video where I will teach you how to load a dishwasher. That’s right, you’ve been struggling all these years with those wine glasses when help is just a click away. Wait. Don’t watch that. It’s only funny if you know me and want to taunt me. Oh. I see. Okay then, carry on.
Anyway, back to the Burns. I mean, look:
Oh, and speaking of dressed up monkeys, whatever happened to Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp? Now that was a TV show! I dare you not to spend the rest of the day on Youtube watching his monkey-hijinks! How did American TV audiences give up on chimps so quickly? Did we run out of chimps? Too many chimps eating faces? What happened????
But I digress. Where was I? Oh, oh yes. GEORGE BURNS LOOKED LIKE A MONKEY!!! But it’s not just George. It’s all old men. ALL OF THEM. Here’s proof. It’s another old man who looks like a monkey:
And another one:
Case closed. Old men become monkeys. I just wish I had realized this in time for my eighth-grade science fair.
And what do old women become? I thought that all old people became monkeys, but further investigation (a GOOGLE search!) revealed that women turn into shrunken apples when they get old.
What now? Why is that fair? I’d rather be a monkey than a wrinkly apple!! Darn you, original sin! First we get periods, then we deal with childbirth, and our final reward is that we turn into apples?!?!? Is there someone in customer service I can talk to about this? 1-800-BAD-DEAL?
Jeez. This is really going to mess up all of my fancy “getting old” plans. I was really looking forward to looking like a monkey and yelling at waiters for not putting enough water in my tea cup. What do shrunken apples even do? I guess I could mumble or bake children into pies, but that doesn’t seem half as fun as shrieking and throwing my own poop. Maybe I could be the first ninety year-old woman to get a sex change?
Ah, hang on. Further investi-google searching has revealed that the answer isn’t so complicated. It’s as easy as going on ehow and stopping by Duane Reade!!! WHEEEE-HA!! Next stop: Monkeyfacetown.
Stay tuned for next month’s post: “Why is Pottery Barn stalking me? I only looked at Star Wars sheets that ONE time.”
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:
* * *
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.
* * * FIN * * *
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
Man, I like to sleep. A lot. Like, so much, that I should come up with some kind of condition that I have, other than laziness, to explain it. I will sleep fourteen hours a day if you let me.
I used “Mono” as an excuse for a while, after I had it my freshman year of college, but it’s been (I am) getting old. I might have to try that S.A.D. thing, or the chronic tired hooseywhatsee. For the past few months, I’ve excused my abandonment of any other goal by the fact that I have just given up caffeine.
It’s not my fault that I am still asleep at noon! You people are awake because you’re on DRUGS!! DRUGS!!!!!!! The lord hates drugs!!!!! Hates! Drugs! Lord! Zzzzzzzzzz….
That reminds me of a joke that I would tell, if I were a preacher:
Me: Knock knock.
A single voice emerges from the congregation.
Single voice: Who’s there?
There is silence. Finally, the voice speaks again, this time joined by a few other courageous people.
People: Jesus who?
Me: That’s what I thought.
Sabrina exits the church. The people are stunned.
Anyway. What was I saying? Sleep! My husband is the greatest because he doesn’t judge my need to sleep for nine to fifteen hours a day. In fact, he will get up at seven, go to work, come home at four, find me covered in cracker crumbs and sleeping on the couch in front of a Jennifer Aniston movie and say something like, “That’s great, honey! I’m glad you got some rest today! Do you need some vacuuming?” That’s my guy! (Please don’t tell him my Mono has worn off? Thanks!)
It’s one in the afternoon, and I just woke up from a dream about Booby Hatch. Yes, THE Booby Hatch. We were doing a show at a comedy club and everything went wrong. The music cues were off, we forgot the lyrics and choreography (yes, there was choreography at some point) to “Suck It,” and I forgot to bring my Hitler moustache. I distinctly remember Katharine yelling, “Where are the wigs??” and Alex singing some improvised lyrics and jumping off the stage like Kurt Cobain. Then, before we could even start our second sketch, all of the lights in the theater stopped working. When the lights had been fixed, the club management started the next act, which seemed to be a girl singing “Me and My Shadow” off-key, by herself. I asked Kath if they were going to let us finish our show, and she said, “I don’t think so. I think that’s it. We’re done.”
After that, I went to see a show at another comedy club. My friend Kevin was doing stand-up and making balloon animals. First he got heckled: “Enough with the jokes! More balloon animals! We gotta move this thing along! Deadlines!!” Then he was asked to leave.
What was this dream? A statement on the conditions of the comedy scene? A resignation letter from my soul?
Oh, subconscious, you have overstepped your bounds yet again. Let’s clear something up, Sport. I do not come to you (for nine to fourteen hours a day) to have you air your NPR opinions all over me. I come to you so that I can fly and talk to dead pets!! What are you doing? For your information, I prefer the dream I had the other night: I had a baby, and I was teaching it how to do tricks, like how to sit up and beg or roll over. Then the baby became a Weiner Dog and it bit the lipstick I was using as an incentive to make the baby/dog do tricks. Then I hugged the Weiner Dog and said, “Be careful. I’ve always wanted to hit a Weiner Dog.”
Now, that’s a dream!!! Only…well, not to complain, but I should have been a spy or something too. And Norm MacDonald should have been there with candy.
Am I alone on this? Look, our brains can make anything happen when we sleep. Anything. But instead of you being a judge at Hugh Jackman’s Weiner Dog parade or living in a blueberry muffin factory on the moon, you’ll be working in your office or riding on the subway or doing some other boring something that you just did and probably have to go do again when you wake up. What? WHAT??
COME ON!! I have to live this life–don’t make me dream about it! And lay off the statements and lessons! Most importantly, stop trying to heal my psychological wounds! Those wounds have created me and fuel my comedy writing! Back off! Enough, says I!! We want dogs with tiny legs and mutant abilities!! Hugh Jackman and candy!!
I’m serious. If this doesn’t start improving, I might have to forgo a few hours of sleep and start improving my life. COME ON!!!
Stay tuned for next month’s blog, titled “You know what I hate? Everything.”