Four , 1-2-3-4, Original Monologues
written by Templeton Moss
(A 26-year-old sportswriter for a major news program. He is dating the show's co anchor. On the eve of a big expanded edition of his show, he is in his apartment with his sister, Mona, when the phone rings.)
Zach: (the phone rings. Zach lunges for it) Hello? Jesse? ItísÖoh. Hi, Phil. Yeah, I know, big day tomorrow. Yeah, Iíll be in. Bye. (hangs up; turns to Mona) I just thought it might be Jesse. I just thought...(beat) We had a thing this morning. We were off today so we had brunch. She took the opportunity to tell me that she had received a job offer for Good Morning, AmericaÖI don't know why I said it. Maybe I was jealous that she got the offer. Maybe I'm just generally jealous of the, the I don't know, prestige attached to her job or whatever. I said she shouldn't take it. I said they'd probably just treat her like a TV-monkey. Make her up, dress her up, give her copy and tell her when to smile. I guess she thinks I meant that I think that about her. Understandably, she left in a huff. That isnít what it's about at all. I know who she really is; I know she's not just another pretty face. I mean, she is a pretty face, let's not kid ourselves. But I know she's...she's...wonderful. Wonderful enough that I don't want to lose her to ABC.
(Six years old, Molly's best friend is the imaginary one to whom she is speaking. Her father is living on the opposite coast of the country and her mother is at work.)
Molly: We could play a game if you like. I have all kinds of games. We could play checkers, except I'm missing some of the red ones. So I've been using Barbie's sun hat. It's hard to use when you need to king somebody though. Or we can play Candy Land, but only if I get to be red. No, I like red; I only want to play if I can be red. Okay, then. We'll play something else. We could play tag. Did you ever pay tag? That's where you chase the other person and you have to touch 'em so that they're it instead. We could play with Barbie and...no, we canít do that. Itís sunny out today, and Barbie's sun hat's a checker. We could play with her in the shade, but Mommy told me to stay inside anyway. No, that won't do. Mommy said she'd be gone most of the day. I have videos if you'd rather watch something. There's The Little Mermaid, where she wants to be a human cause she's in love with Prince Eric so the witch gives her legs for her voice. And then there's a wedding on the ship, and Ursula turns into a big monster and...oh, you wanted to play a game. I guess Barbie can go without her sunhat today. It'll be okay...No, I...I donít like hide and seek. Daddy used to ask if I wanted to play hide and seek and I'd say no, I didn't. When you're the hider you run away from everyone and try to find a special place where you can stay for a long time without being found. And you're all alone. And when you're the seeker, there are people around you, and when you close your eyes and when you open them theyíre all gone and you're all alone. And Daddy said what about if you find them? And I said I never find people. I only lose them. (pause) Okay, you can be red just this one time. But I get to go first!
(He's led a pretty amazing life. Until a few years ago, he was a major player at a major corporation. They wanted him to retire (He is almost eighty) and his son Liam placed him in a retirement home. Now, on a regular visit and over a gift of cookies, Gregory says what's been on his mind for a while.)
Gregory: Did I ask for your help? Did I ever ask for help from anyone? I don't think I ever did. I don't recall asking anyone's help about anything. I never complained, that I can recall. I never asked for someone to ease my burden. I remember it pretty well, but then again how would I know about what goes on in my own head? Iím "old" and "worn down" aren't I? Going senile on you. You'd know better than me, you read all those books. Maybe you and your young vibrant mind can enlighten me on one or two salient details. For example if you could tell me the date, the time, the exact moment that I said "Please, Liam, I need help," I'd consider that very useful. So when, Liam, did I say "Help me, son?" Because I'm too old to live alone, too old to work, and too old to wear suits and shoes with laces. I guess that when my poor old brain was rotting into a Swiss cheese like form, I allowed one or two little nuggets to slip out, because here I am, at 4pm on a Thursday sitting in a recliner, wearing slippers and gazing out of a window. Yes, I must've said these things to you Liam, because to the best of my feeble knowledge, this is the time when I usually would be sitting behind my desk, in a suit and matching tie, leafing through memos. So yeah, I guess I said these things to you. So let me just say this while I still remember what I want to say...I'm sorry. I'm sorry I said those things and made myself such a terrible burden on you and poor Eleanor. (beat) Thanks for the cookies.
(Max is an old Jewish man who was one of the last old-time comedy stars. He's been in the business for decades and he's being paid a visit by his grandson, who also fancies himself a comedian.)
Max: You do not know funny! You don't! This is what I am telling you! You are not listening to me, but I am telling you just the same. (he tries to interrupt) No! You are not listening! All you do is talk, you need to shut your moth for a second and let me explain these things to you. You just don't know what funny is. Funny is silence just as much as it is sound. Do you understand? You don't! You young kids. You have your inner-net and your Dee-Vee and you don't know, you have no idea, that people used to go to the vaudeville houses and see Burns and Allen and see Ted Healey and see Jack Benny and that was what funny was! What, did I not teach you these things? If I did not I will say that I have failed as a father! You saw, did you see the-the Restaurant Sketch? The one me and Murray used to do? We did it on the Tonight Show with Carson one time. You saw it? You know it? You know why it's funny? You don't! You don't know anything! You just keep talking and don't let me explain! You need to close your mouth and let me tell you why the Restaurant Sketch was funny. You know why the Restaurant Sketch was funny? (long pause) Neither do I. I never knew why it was funny. He wrote it, I just said it. But that's why it was funny! Because we never knew what we were laughing at. And the audience didn't know it either, so they couldn't tell us and that made them laugh harder! And that's what funny is! Funny is uncertainty, it's vague. It's not knowing that two plus two is four and saying maybe it can be something else. 5 maybe, a bag of potatoes if you want. That was why the Restaurant Sketch was funny. Because it just was, that's all. And I'm telling you right now, that bit never failed to kill 'em. It never missed. Never did. (trails off)
Kudos and much thanks go to Templeton Moss (funny how that works) for these monologues, it is very much appreciated.
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