Saturday, August 21

If I Had A Deutschmark For Every Corpse

I know, I know, another friggin' Sketch post. But, it's all I have right now.

So, last night's audience for Sketch 22 was our biggest yet. We had to stand back stage because they took our chairs to give to paying customers. I gotta say it feels real nice to be part of this show.

Yesterday, driving to the show, I was going over my lines. Specifically, the lines I speak at the end of the show. It's a monologue that is supposed to tie the show together somewhat, before we all burst into the big finale song number. I don't know if the monologue works, artistically, but it is what it is. The last couple of shows, the monologue was getting a bit rote.

So, as I was driving to the show, going over my lines to see if I could find different inflections in words or whatever, to freshen it up, I began to do them in a different voice. Those who have seen me do improv know the first 'different voice' I'll go to is my infamous German Nazi Interrogator, pinched and high-pitched voice. (In improv shows, it was always an unwritten challenge between Matt and myself who would be the first to get to do the German Voice.) So, in the car, I began doing the lines in that voice.

It felt good. Real good. So I decided I'd perform the lines like that during the show that night. Of course, I wouldn't tell anyone I was going to do it. I hoped to throw the rest of the cast off guard and get them to laugh.

As soon as I decided I'd do it, I chickened out. Nah, it wouldn't be fair to spring this on them. I wouldn't be able to keep the voice up for the whole monologue. It might ruin the ending of the show. It was too indulgent.... On the other hand, I might get the guys to laugh on stage. It would at least veer the scene in an interesting direction. What to do? I probably changed my mind a dozen times...

...right up to the moment when I was about to start speaking that monologue. Even as I drew in my breath to say the first word, I was unsure if I'd do it. Leading up to it, I was nervous and my heart was beating fast as I kept trying to talk myself into doing it. Breath in...the word (the word is "Sometimes...") comes out... it sounds German to I commit to it and do the monologue in a ridiculous German accent.

Matt and Andrew are the first to laugh. Matt's head goes down into his chest, Andrew turns his back to the audience. I laugh a bit at them laughing, but regain my composure. I believe I get Josh to laugh a couple of times, by changing the lines to something more apropos to what a German would say. Graham, though, is a tough nut to crack, I can see. He wavered a couple of times, but I can't definitively say whether I got him to laugh, to break character. If I pushed the issue, I'm sure I could have gotten him. But just at the moment when I could toss my best pitch to him, I softballed him. I let him off the hook.

Of course, I didn't consider that, if I started the monologue as the German, I'd have to end the scene as the German, too. And that included the big finale song that ends the show. I toughed it through, though, and sang the song with that ridiculous German accent. I'm sure the audience was befuddled.

So, now, with only three shows left, I'm afraid I've opened Pandora's Box. The Corpsing Glove has been slapped against the faces of my fellow actors and the game, I'm sure, is on. Now it'll be a mug-fest, an avalanche of accents, a litany of new lines, all meant to get the others to laugh. Unfortunately for me, I've shot my wad.

How about this boys: First to laugh on stage buys the culprit's eggrolls after the show?


Jason said...

I'll tell you Rob. You had us cracking up at the back with that. My thought was...."what's he doing??" and the second thought was "oh my god...the finishing song!".
I wouldn't have worried about the audience though. That night was one of the best for laughter and with the other guys beginning to crack up, laughter is contagious.
It worked

Nils said...

I'm always of two minds on the corpsing thing. In the early days of SNL, there was a firm rule: corpsing - or intentionally causing others to corpse - was frowned upon, in fact, treated with contempt. They referred to it as "Carol Burnetting", for obvious reasons: if you watch the old Carol Burnett shows, sometimes the corpsing is clearly real, but sometimes ... well, not-so-much. And that's just pandering.
But .. dammit, it's so funny when it just ... happens. SO funny. I wish I'd have been there to see it.
Sounds like a great weekend coming up. With any luck, I'll get tickets to see the improv smackdown ... Sketch 22 is still the funniest show I saw in Charlottetown this year.

Jeff said...

Rob - as stated, when it's genuine (and not too insidey) it's killer. The beauty of live is that anything can happen. As a full time audience member, I watch & anticipate it.
We were at last Thursday's show (8/19), and it was great. I laughed my ass right off. The video bits were soooo well done. Impressive.
You did the Cass Rhynes lawyer joke, I thought it was good.
Where can I view the words to the Anne rap, it was excellent, but I had trouble hearing everything? Graham is great.
Only trouble is now I have to find a new ass......
Congrats to all on a great show.

Rob said...

Thanks, Jeff, for the congrats.
We are anticipating that we continue as a group, throughout the winter at least to another summer run next year. If that's the case, we'll likely get a website up and running that may have things like those lyrics on it.

Nils said...

Yeah, meant to say - the lyrics were hard to follow, and I wasn't sure if it was acoustics, delivery ... or (and I don't discount this one little bit) the possibility my ears may not be as attuned to rap as some peoples' ...
I'd love to see the lyrics somewhere (even, um, here), because those that I did catch were clever - and everything else in the show is so goddamned funny ...

barb mckenna said...

oh my god!
I saw the show last night for the first time.
As they say in the media business, its a show with "legs".
You boys are going places! If it was comedy Olympics, you'd be Beach Volleyball.
Just so you know, I was with a "come from away" and he thought Rob and Matt were the most talented guys he had seen in a very long time!

Rob said...

Thanks Barb. I like the beach volleyball comparison. Also, it's great to be validated by people from away.

barb said...

well tonight i'm bringing my brother the flagger. I'd bring my other brother but he's still in the Hollow.