AUDIENCE CHANTING IN UNISON: "Is...This...A...Coincindence?!?!"
ANNOUNCER: And now, here's the host of our show, Mister Chris!!!
MISTER CHRIS takes the stage.
Mr. Chris: Thank you ladies and gentlemen! Please, sit down. Thank you. Before we start, I need to collect myself, and my thoughts because this could get a little effing dark...so, let's enjoy a number by Ms. Ann Reinking, our Spokesmodel and her friends...!
Ann and Company take the stage:
Mr. Chris: And now let's welcome our first celebrity guest judge...and boy can she judge! Ms. Teena Fay!
TEENA FAY* comes out on stage to WILD APPLAUSE and sits at a panel desk.
Mr. Chris: Welcome Teena, it's so nice to have you here!
Teena: Isn't it? (Laughs)
Teena: Well, I was going to do a gig for Mateus Rose; but they balled me so low with their offer, I ankled. I decided to start up my own rose joint: Teena Fay Rose; but friggin' Kylie Minogue beat me to the punch. But I do have a line of Ouzo dropping in December: Teena's Fayouzo.
Mr. Chris: No, you "fayouzo!"
Teena: Excuse me?
Mr. Chris: That's fabulous, isn't it audience?
Mr. Chris: Our second judge needs no introduction; everyone put your hands together for the hologram of Walt Disney!!!
WALT DISNEY'S HOLOGRAM steps out from behind a curtain and sits in the seat next to Teena.
UNCLE WALT: Hello TV Land. Hello Mr. Chris!
Uncle Walt: Just figuring out my headspace...
Mr. Chris: Fantastic! And now, our third judge. You know her as that dearest of Mommies, de-facto President of Pepsi-Co. and Old School Queen of the Silver Screen: Ms. Joan Crawford!
WILD APPLAUSE (WA)
Joan takes the stage in grand style, wearing a large hat and sits next to Walt at the panel desk.
Mr. Chris: Thanks for being here Joan. And I see you brought a bottle of Pepsi Cola with you...
Joan: Yes, of course, and I've had a vending machine installed in the lobby: FREE PEPSI for everyone! (She makes a grand sweeping gesture as the AUDIENCE stampedes en masse to the lobby...)
Teena: How do you play this game anyways? I mean, are there prizes? Where are the contestants?
Mr. Chris: Well, you see the audience, they have to determine if what I show you behind doors number one, two and three are coincidences or not...
Teena: And then?
Mr. Chris: And then, we ask you judges what you think...
Teena: And then?
Mr. Chris: Then we figure out if I've been ripped-off or not...
Teena: So, this is all about you?
Mr. Chris: Well--
Teena: So, you're the contestant. And the host. Isn't that a conflict of interest?
Mr. Chris: (Nervous) All the proceeds go to charity! You can pick the charity Teena!
Teena: Fine. How about UCOP?
Joan: What is that Ms. Fay?
Teena: "The Underprivileged Celebrity Offspring Project."
Joan: Never heard of it...
Uncle Walt: Me neither...
Teena: It's for the children of celebrities who feel they're trapped in the shadow of their famous parent. It can take a real emotional toll. The emotional health of celebrity children is in grave--
Joan: Ha! I've never heard such a load of bullshit in my life.
Mr. Chris: Fine, let's just go with that. Now, if the lovely Ann Reinking will open door number one, we can see what's behind it...
Ann dances over to a large door with a big 1 on it and pulls it open. On a display stand is a porkpie hat:
Mr. Chris: No, she's right there...Uncle Walt and Joan are holograms...
Uncle Walt: Actually Chris, I'm an astral projection, coming to you from a cryo-chamber below "The Pirates of the Caribbean" ride in Florida!
Joan: I'm actually a Hollygram, get it?
Teena: We get it, Joan. So is Ann a hologram?
Mr. Chris: No. She's alive.
Teena: Well, that's impossible.
Mr. Chris: You really don't play well with others, do you? Look, this is my show. And if I say Ann is alive, then she is.
Teena: (Under her breath) This guy's delusional...
Joan: Oh, let him cling to his dreams, Ms. Fay. It's all he has.
Uncle Walt: He just needs to wish upon a star. Then his dreams will come true!
Joan: Then he can wish upon me. Go ahead Chris, wish upon me!
Teena: Can we get on with this? What does the hat have to do with anything?
Mr. Chris: (Uncertain) Well, as you know, Mr. Steve Martin stars on The Murderers Have Left the Building. He wears a porkpie on the show...
Mr. Chris: Ann, show us what's behind door number 2!
Ann dances over to door number 2, opens it, and reveals an A/V stand with a lap-top on it. She dances as she wheels out the stand. She does a Fosse pose and holds it.
Mr. Chris: Okay Ann, you can hit play!
Ann does a Fosse hand flick over the keyboard and a Youtube video comes to life...
Mr. Chris: A video of the second act of a play I staged in 2014, entitled The Son'll Come Out Tomorrow.
Mr. Chris: As you can see, at the 56 second mark I come on stage wearing a porkpie hat...
Joan: It looks quite fetching on you Chris!
Mr. Chris: (Blushing) Oh, go on!
Teena: It looks fetching on anyone. Are you saying that Steve Martin got the idea of wearing a porkpie from you?
Mr. Chris: You said it, I didn't.
Uncle Walt: I used to wear a porkpie, Chris...they're not exactly rare. They go in and out of fashion; but they're always in style!
Walt: I had a whole closet full of hats!
Joan: You should have come out of it, Walt.
Walt: I could spend days in my closet!
Joan: And you did!
Mr. Chris: Let's look at the 34.50 mark of the video...
Teena sighs. Ann presses play.
Mr. Chris: As you can see, at this point in the play, there's a joke about a boy being tracked down by the thread of his unravelling sweater--
Uncle Walt: That gag is as old Methuselah's grand-pappy!
Mr. Chris: Well, the season two finale of "Murderers" featured a whole bit about unravelling and sweaters...
Joan: You're reaching Christopher...
Teena: Try "grasping"; like at straws...
Mr. Chris: Okay Ann, show them what's behind door number 3!
Ann sachets over to door number three, opens it and reveals a large photograph on an easel:
Teena: It's the finale episode of Season 2 of Murderers. That's Martin Short, Steve Martin and Selena Gomez.
Joan: Never heard of them. What are they doing?
Mr. Chris: They're acting like they're in slow motion...complete with dialogue...
Teena: I know, I was in the scene. And again: "So?"
Mr. Chris: Let's look at the video, starting at the 16 minute, 35 second mark...
Teena: Let's not and say we did.
Ann hits play on the laptop, and a scene ensues of three actors, enacting a fight in slow motion, complete with dialogue. Mr. Chris throws his shoulders back in triumph.
Teena: And this proves...?
Mr. Chris: I think it's pretty self-evident.
Uncle Walt: Surely that gag's been done somewhere, by someone.
Mr. Chris: Probably...I'm having some vague memory of a Looney Tune; but still--
Teena: Are you actually putting forth the argument that some of the biggest people in comedy at some of the biggest companies in Hollywood watched your tatty little video of your piddly little play that you staged in some janky, Podunk, back-ass-water burg and stole ideas from it?
Mr. Chris (defiantly) Yes. Yes Teena, I am saying that.
Teena: Well, good-luck to you pal.
Uncle Walt: The fine executives and entertainers in the fine city of Hollywood would never stoop to such tactics. I must say I agree with Ms. Fay.
Mr. Chris: Knew I could count on you Uncle Walt...
Joan: I don't know. Third door's the charm. And you're one to talk Walt, as you blithely pranced through fairy-land and plundered the work of The Brother's Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Perrault. You didn't have to pay a single penny; they were all dead!
Uncle Walt: (Sneezes) It's cold in here!
Mr. Chris: The studio?
Uncle Walt: No, my ice box--
Mr. Chris (Sadly) I care...
Joan: So do I Chris. I care.
Mr. Chris: You do?
Ann: I care Chris!
Teena: Barf! Where's the fire-exit? (She stands to leave and looks off-stage and points) Oh, look, your audience is back!
Joan: Oh don't listen to her Chris. She's never had her picture on a bubble-gum card. Tell you what...let's all go out to eat at your favorite place, my treat!
Chris: (Mumbles) The Copper Penny...
Joan: That sounds familiar...
Chris: It's a coffee-shop in Burbank.
Joan: Oh, yes! I recall slumming there a couple of times when I was at Warners!
Joan: Why there Chris?
Mr. Chris: It was cozy. It was comforting. I felt relaxed there...
Ann: I think they tore it down in the 90's. It's an office building now...
Joan: Now Ann, this is Chris's show. If the Copper Penny is where he wants to go, then that's where we're going!
Ann: The Avocado Burger looks terrific and since I'm not watching my weight anymore...
Joan: When in Rome. How about you Chris?
Mr. Chris: The Hot Turkey Sandwich with onion rings and potato salad.
Joan: Decadent! How about you Walt?
Uncle Walt: Well, I can't eat, so it's coffee and cigarettes for me!
Joan: You know Ann, I was a dancer myself...
Joan: That's how I got my start! And Chris, would you turn that glum little frown upside down? Nobody likes a sad-sack.
Mr. Chris: I'm trying...
Joan: You know, I've seen some shit go down in Tinseltown; let me tell you! One time I was in a pitch meeting with Irving G. Thalberg and a young writer, who was unravelling an amazing photoplay outline and he got so excited, he dropped dead of a heart attack. Well, Mr. Thalberg pried that script out of that poor boy's hands so fast, they were still warm and he put his own name on it. He swore me to secrecy; but then I swore him to star me in it and he really had no choice, as I had a lot of juicy dirt on his bitch wife Myrna Loy and what she'd been getting up to down at Ciro's...
Mr. Chris: Wasn't Thalberg married to Norma Shearer?
Joan: That twat! You're right, Chris. But Myrna was no picnic. She'd smile in your face when she stabbed you in the back. They all would! So, anyways, I said to him: "Mr. Thalberg, it would behoove you to..."
Uncle Walt starts whistling "Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho" as the scene is drown out in the restaurant background noise...
CFR AUGUST 27, 2022