My friend Todd and I now live in various alleyways in New York City, performing in comedy clubs as a sketch duo. This morning, upon waking, we went to McDonald’s for a breakfast meeting.
ME: I think our comedy troupe should change its name.
TODD: What’s wrong with Silly Putty?
ME: We need something with edge. What about Silly String?
TODD: What about just... Silly?
ME: Like Madonna or Cher. Just the one name. I like it.
TODD: Like Steve.
ME: Steve who?
TODD: Steve McQueen.
ME: He was always Steve McQueen.
TODD: Not if you were close to him, or married to him.
I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath, then re-opened them as I exhaled.
ME: I think our sketches should also have more edge.
TODD: What if we performed with nothing on?
ME: What are you suggesting?
TODD: Something suggestive.
ME: Too provocative.
TODD: But unprecedented.
I stood, slamming my Egg McMuffin against the table.
ME: I’m out.
TODD: Listen to me.
Todd clutched my wrist.
TODD: This is serious here. This is our future.
ME: I’m just performing for cash. I don’t give a crap about my future.
TODD: Sit down, please. I agree that we should have more edge. Hear me out. I’ve already come up with my own strategies to make our troupe a success. To make our shows even better.
ME: All right.
I sat back down.
TODD: First thing, apart from performing nude...
ME: Which I am so against by the way...
TODD: I know that. I know that. I know that because you almost quit just now.
ME: As long as it’s clear.
TODD: Crystal clear.
ME: All right - so what are your other changes?
TODD: Only one of us performs nude.
I shot back up.
ME: I’m out.
I slammed my broken-apart Egg McMuffin against the table.
TODD: This is serious.
ME: I am not getting naked. I have a little something I like to call integrity.
TODD: So do I but we need to fill those seats. We need to give people something they want to see.
ME: I will not pander to the audience.
TODD: Well said. Please sit down.
All the McDonald’s customers were staring at us.
ME: And enough with me being naked. All you want is for me to be naked.
TODD: Mea culpa. I’m a married straight man. I’m just trying to give the world what they’d pay big, big bucks to see. Mea culpa. Please Eric... please sit down.
I sat back down, and attempted to piece together my Egg McMuffin.
ME: What else do you have on that list?
TODD: I think this should really be a one-man show.
I was shocked. What was Todd getting at?
TODD: We keep all our sketches the same but to be edgier, just the one person plays both roles in every sketch. And that person is you.
ME: Keep going... I like where you're going with this.
TODD: When the audience sees your right side profile, you say your lines, and when they see your left side profile, you say my lines. You’re two people, but only one actor.
ME: I love it.
TODD: And then, one more change, and this needs to work to pull it together.
ME: I'll do anything.
TODD: You have to be naked.