This one was actually performed a few times, and it usually went well, mainly because it's short. It began as a much longer version, but my writing teacher suggested I go in a slightly different (and shorter and better) direction.
In many ways I prefer the long version, but it's an example of a sketch that looks really great as I'm writing it (and perhaps as you're reading it), but when you rehearse it, it just doesn't work. The timing doesn't come through, and it drags in spots you weren't expecting.
But that's the difference between writing that's meant to be read and writing that's meant to be performed. Not every piece of writing works in both formats. I always wonder whether my novels, if I were ever to finish any of them, would be entertaining to read aloud if I were fortunate to hold a book reading/signing.
But before I'll ever know that, I'd have to actually complete a novel first. I know I just wrote that; I'm just emphasizing the fact that I have a number of unfinished novels.
So enjoy the finished version, and snap into a Slim Jim for our deceased ring hero. May you finally enjoy the company of Elizabeth, Macho Man.
INT. A STUDIO -- DAY An ACTOR is onstage, holding a script. DIRECTOR (O.S.) And...action! ACTOR Oh, excuse me. I don't mean to be a nuisance. The DIRECTOR emerges. DIRECTOR What's up? ACTOR Here in the script I say the word "pull." I believe the word "rip" would be stronger. DIRECTOR (mulling this) I see that. ACTOR So could we make the change? DIRECTOR Absolutely. ACTOR Great. The DIRECTOR starts to walk offstage when: ACTOR (CONT) Oh. I'm being a real pest here... DIRECTOR No, no, please. ACTOR We say the word "throat" twice. Redundant, don't you think? DIRECTOR I'm glad you caught that. ACTOR I was thinking: first time, "throat"; second time, "windpipe." DIRECTOR (admiringly) "Windpipe." That works. Plus you'll have-- ACTOR --alliteration with the word "whipped." DIRECTOR "Whipped windpipe." Yes. ACTOR Great. I'm ready to go. DIRECTOR All right, everyone! Places! He walks offstage. DIRECTOR (O.S.) And...action! ACTOR (crazed and bloodcurdling) Tonight at Wrestlemania I'm gonna rip out your throat and shove it down your whipped windpipe! Whooo!
INT. TELEVISION STUDIO -- DAY A mean professional wrestler, KING MAYHEM, addresses the camera. He is holding a folding chair in a menacing fashion. He speaks angrily, in the manner of a villainous character. MAYHEM This Saturday night at Wrestlepalooza, I, King Mayhem, will defeat Mister Goodbody and claim his championship belt. His millions of pathetic fans will weep uncontrollably as I stomp their hero all over the ring. And after I take your title belt, I'm gonna make you bow... to the mayhem! And then...and then... (his tone changes to something more gentle and polite) I'm sorry. I can't do this. A DIRECTOR walks on stage. DIRECTOR What's wrong? MAYHEM This copy...it doesn't feel right. DIRECTOR You liked it when we showed you the draft. MAYHEM On paper it looked fine, but it's different when you read it out loud. DIRECTOR Seems OK when you read it. MAYHEM Isn't it a little heavy on the exposition? Everybody knows that we're meeting at Wrestlepalooza. I think it takes too long to get to the heart of what I'm trying to say. DIRECTOR Sigh. Fine. (Calls to someone off stage.) Let's try the other copy! The DIRECTOR leaves. KING MAYHEM takes a moment to get into his character, as if he were preparing to play Hamlet. MAYHEM (intimidating voice) Mister Goodbody! Do you enjoy wearing that championship belt? Well, enjoy it while you can! Because in three days I'm gonna enjoy tearing it off your lifeless body when I'm through crushing your measly existence. And you, and all your pathetic fans, are gonna have to bow...to the mayhem! (gentle voice) I don't know... The DIRECTOR reemerges. DIRECTOR (encouraging) It was good! MAYHEM Come on. I say "enjoy" in three consecutive sentences. I sound like an idiot. DIRECTOR It's a...a motif. MAYHEM A motif? A motif is based on a recurring image or theme, not just repeating the same word three times. DIRECTOR We can fix that. We'll say "like" instead of the first "enjoy," and, uh, "relish" on the third "enjoy." MAYHEM Hmm. I like that. And I have a question about my catchphrase. DIRECTOR You mean... (as a wrestler would say it) "Bow...to the mayhem!" MAYHEM Yes. Do I really want people to bow? If I'm "King Mayhem," I'd want something more referential, like genuflecting. DIRECTOR "Genuflect...to the mayhem"? MAYHEM What do you think? DIRECTOR Doesn't exactly roll of the tongue. MAYHEM Yeah. I guess you're right. That was dumb. KING MAYHEM lets out a long SIGH. DIRECTOR What's wrong? MAYHEM I just feel so stupid. Messing up the lines, idiotically tampering with my catchphrase... DIRECTOR You are NOT stupid. MAYHEM Sigh. I don't know anymore... DIRECTOR Hey! When we all went out to dinner after Grapplemania 7, who helped The Detonator choose the correct wine with his duck a l'orange? MAYHEM I did. DIRECTOR And who helped El Gigante Gringo study to pass his citizenship exam? MAYHEM I did. DIRECTOR You see? You're just feeling a little blocked. We all get that way sometimes. Tell you what. Why don't you improvise this one. MAYHEM Really? Are you sure? DIRECTOR Yes. Use your instincts, and I'm sure we'll do fine. MAYHEM OK. I'll try. The DIRECTOR leaves. KING MAYHEM really focuses this time. MAYHEM (really into it now) A new reign is dawning this Saturday night! Madison Square Garden will witness a coronation of destruction as I, King Mayhem, am crowned heavyweight champion! And there's nothing that Mister Goodbody can do to resist. You cannot change repel the tides of history in the making! Mister Goodbody will enter a champion, but will leave a casualty. I will take your pride, your championship belt, and your fans! And when I pin you and emerge victorious, you, Mister Goodbody, along with the thousands at the Garden and the millions of fans at home, will bow...TO THE MAYHEM! The DIRECTOR reemerges. DIRECTOR That was brilliant! MAYHEM I feel great! My acting teacher would be so proud of me. I found my motivation, and all my choices were real! I wasn't just some mindless neanderthal, some one-dimensional cardboard character. I was a living, breathing human with honest emotions! DIRECTOR It was fantastic. But are you sure you don't want to do another take? MAYHEM No way. I put it all out there. I'd never be able to match it. DIRECTOR Ah. The problem is, the camera was out of tape during that last take. Can you do it just one more time? MAYEM lifts the chair over his head, ROARS, then slams it on the director's head. THE END