written by Larry Gelbart & Murray Schisgal
(George is talking on the phone as Michael enters)
George: (into phone) Hang on one second. (punches phone button; to Michael) Michael, would you wait outside, please? I'm talking to the coast.
Michael: This is a coast, too, George, New York is a coast, too.
George: (miffed) Okay. (punches button again; into phone) Sy, are you - Sy? Sy? God - (to Michael) Look what you did. (pushes other button) Margaret? Margaret, get him back, will you? I cut myself off. (hangs up phone) Now what is it, Michael?
Michael: Terry Bishop is doing "Iceman Cometh," right? Didn't you promise to send me up for that part? Am I wrong? Didn't you tell me I was gonna - I was gonna get a reading for that part -
George: Michael -
Michael: Aren't you my agent?
George: Stuart Pressman wants a name, Michael.
Michael: Oh, I see, Terry Bishop is a name.
George: No no no, Michael Dorsey is a name; when you want to send a steak back, Michael Dorsey is a name.
Michael: (quietly fuming, turns to leave) Okay.
George: Wait wait wait wait! I'm s- you always do this to me, Michael. It was a rotten thing to say and I know it - let me start all over again. Terry Bishop is on a soap opera. Millions of people watch him every day. He's known.
Michael: And that qualifies him to ruin "Iceman Cometh"?
George: I'm not gonna have this conversation.
Michael: (overlapping) You know I can act circles around that guy? I already played that part in Minneapolis?
George: Stuart Pressman wants a name, that's his affair, okay? I know this is gonna disgust you, Michael, but a lotta people are in this business to make money.
Michael: Oh, don't make me out like I'm some flake, George! I am in this business to make money, too!
George: The Harlem Theatre for the Blind? Strindberg in the Park? The People's Workshop at Syracuse?
Michael: Okay, now wait a minute, I did nine plays in eight months up at Syracuse, I happened to get *great* reviews from the New York critics - not that that's why I did it...
George: Of course not; God forbid you should lose your standing as a cult failure.
Michael: You think I'm a failure, George? Is that what you're saying to me -
George: I will not get sucked into this conversation, Michael. I will not.
Michael: Okay, look, I sent you a play to read that my roommate wrote. It had a great part in it for me. Did you read it?
George: Where do you come off sending me your roommate's play for you to star in? I'm your agent, not your mother! I'm not supposed to find plays for you to star in - I'm supposed to field offers! And that's what I do!
Michael: "Field offers?" Who told you that, the Agent Fairy? That was a significant piece of work; I could've been terrific in that part.
George: Michael, nobody's gonna do that play.
George: Because it's a downer, that's why. Because nobody wants to produce a play about a couple that moved back to Love Canal.
Michael: But that actually happened!
George: WHO GIVES A SHIT? Nobody wants to pay twenty dollars to watch people living next to chemical waste! They can see that in New Jersey!
Michael: Look, I don't wanna argue about it, okay? I'm gonna raise the eight thousand dollars myself so I can produce his play, and I want you to send me up for *anything* - I don't care what it is! I will do dog commercials on television! I will do radio voice-overs!
George: Michael, I can't put you up for any of that.
Michael: Why not?
George: Because no one will hire you.
Michael: Oh, that's not true, man! I bust my ass to get a part right, and you know I do!
George: Yes, and you bust everybody else's ass, too, that's what you do! A guy's got four weeks to put on a play - you think he wants to sit and argue about whether or not Tolstoy can - can walk when he's dying, or walk when he's talking, or sing when he's walking -
Michael: Oh, please, that was *two* years ago, and that guy is an *idiot*, and -
George: They can't all be idiots, Michael - you argue with everybody! You've got one of the worst reputations in this town, Michael! Nobody will hire you.
Michael: (slowly, as he processes this) Are you saying that nobody in New York will work with me?
George: Oh no, that's too limited. Nobody in *Hollywood* wants to work with you, either. I can't even send you up for a commercial - you played a *tomato* for thirty seconds, they went a half a day over schedule 'cause you wouldn't sit down.
Michael: Yes. It wasn't logical.
George: YOU WERE A TOMATO! A tomato doesn't have logic! A tomato can't move!
Michael: (worked up) That's what I said, so if he can't move, how's he gonna sit down, George? I was a stand-up tomato, a juicy, sexy beefsteak tomato! Nobody does vegetables like me! I did an evening of vegetables Off-Broadway! I did the best tomato, the best cucumber - I did an *endive salad* that knocked the critics on their ass!
George: (at the end of his rope) Michael, I-I'm trying to stay calm here. You, uh - are a wonderful actor.
Michael: (sulking): Thank you.
George: But you're too much trouble. Get some therapy.
Michael: (quiet, stubborn) Okay, thanks. I'm gonna raise eight thousand dollars, and I'm gonna do Jeff's play.
George: Michael? You're not gonna raise twenty-five cents! No one will hire you.
Michael: Oh yeah?
Kudos and much thanks go to Ben for this great dialogue, it is very much appreciated.
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