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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

A Sketchy Beginning

In the spirit of keeping my damned fool mouth shut — because I see what happens when I don’t — I don’t believe I mentioned that I’m taking a comedy sketch writing class this summer at ImprovBoston.

Or if I did mention it, at least I didn’t post a list of ridiculously bad ideas beforehand, scaring off the class and the instructor and prompting IB to delist their phone number.

The learning. I’m doing it.

I even missed the first week of class. So now everyone involved has something invested. They can’t quit now; they’ve already got a head of steam. I’m in, baby.

This afternoon was the second class — my first — and I only learned about our ‘homework’ yesterday, which was to write a full sketch to read through aloud. Based, presumably, on the wealth of things that we learned in Week One. Unless we were in Maine, dodging moose and clogging undersized toilets. Which I was.

“You dig in there with a mouthful of lip gloss or Vaseline, and you’ll slide right onto the floor.”

That odor wafting through right now? That’s disaster on the wind.

So my writing job yesterday was a sketch, which I produced, and presented today during the class. My writing job today, I’ve decided, is to plop that sketch below for your laughing-and-pointing-style entertainment and maybe watch some TV. Hey, if you weren’t in class this afternoon, then it’s new to you. My job is done. Yesterday, as it turns out. Sweet.

Before the ‘reveal’, this quick teaser: We read through the text, and it got a few giggles in the places I’d hoped. The instructor nodded and said:

Hey, that was great. Nice job. Just one thing… what’s ‘motorboating’?

Whoof. Well, it’s not like it’s central to the sketch or anything. I explained as gently as I could — if you’re also in the dark, UrbanDictionary also explains it, though somewhat less… gently — and he said:

Oh. I see. Okay, it makes more sense now. Wow. Okay. So. Who’s next?

Maybe I should have kept my damned fool mouth shut for another week. Anyway, if you’re still on board — or ‘outboard’; I say, that’s a joke, son! — here’s the sketch:


World Motorboat Finals

[As the announcer speaks, a handful of men in light athletic gear mill around, exercising their lips and making ‘motorboat’ noises.]

ANNOUNCER: Good evening sports fans, and welcome to the one-hundred-and-eighty-fourth annual Motorboating Championship Finals. We’re here tonight under the stately double domes of the Dolly Parton Expo Center with an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at these remarkable athletes as they prepare for the fierce competition ahead.

[Announcer approaches one of the ‘athletes’ nearby.]

ANNOUNCER:With us now is tonight’s favorite to take home the fabled Golden Orbs, Chet Reynolds. Chet, if you would, please tell our viewers what you’ve done to prepare for this year’s Finals.

CHET: Well, Joe, it’s the same as any tournament, really. Get up at dawn, do some light cardio, and then I’m in the gym for six or eight hours to train.

ANNOUNCER: And what sort of exercises do you do?

CHET: Oh, pretty standard stuff. A few hundred lip lifts, kiss the heavy bag in the afternoon, blow bubbles through a few boxes of bendy straws. The usual.

ANNOUNCER: Any other warmups as the day approaches?

CHET: Around two weeks to go, I’ll practice on watermelons. Then muskmelons for a few days, and finally honeydews. You’ve really got to work up to the honeydews.

ANNOUNCER: Uncanny. Any last-minute preparations?

CHET: Nothing special. Did my practice runs, took a nap, and just gargled a gallon of sardine oil. I’m balmed up and ready to nail this.

ANNOUNCER: Well, I [with revulsion at Chet’s sardine breath] *detect* that you’re raring to go, Chet, so give ’em hell down there!

CHET: [exercising lips while jogging in place] Thanks, Joe!

[Chet jogs offstage. Throughout the rest of the segment, intermittent loud ‘motorboating’ noises can be heard from offstage.]

[Announcer approaches another ‘athlete’.]

ANNOUNCER: And here we have last year’s Most Valuable ‘Boater, Dirk Langley. Dirk, you just finished competing in the double-D round. What’s the playing field like tonight?

DIRK: Oh, it’s definitely championship caliber. Lots of space to maneuver in, no lumps or ‘dead spots’, virtually hair-free. Maybe a little softer than I’d ideally like.

ANNOUNCER: And how does that affect your preparation?

DIRK: Well, you’ve got to think about traction. You dig in there with a mouthful of lip gloss or Vaseline, and you’ll slide right onto the floor. You need something with grip.

ANNOUNCER: And what are you going with?

DIRK: It’s my own mix. Equal parts Chapstick and Elmer’s Glue, with number two pencil shavings mixed in.

ANNOUNCER: And how’s that working for you?

DIRK: Like a dream. Had my personal best time. And got a phone number.

ANNOUNCER: Chaptastic. Anything else we should know about?

DIRK: Yeah. There’s a mole just left of midfield that could cause some real problems. Nearly skidded a cheek out over there, myself.

ANNOUNCER: Electric. Motor on, Dirk.

[Announcer moves to another ‘athlete’, this time much older.]

ANNOUNCER: And over here — oh, my. It’s the legend himself, Beau ‘Evinrude’ Rudinski. Beau, it’s an honor. I’ve been a personal fan of yours from way back — before the overbite surgery, even.

BEAU: Well, thanks, son. The sport and I have come a long way since then.

ANNOUNCER: Tearjerking. Now, you’re a nine-time World Motorboat Champ. Voted ‘Lips of the Millennium’ by the national press. The only athlete to ever complete the grueling coast-to-coast Hooter’s Marathon Challenge. And the records! I hear you once ‘boated non-stop for an incredible sixty-three hours and nineteen minutes. Is that true?

BEAU: Yeah, that’s right. Couldn’t feel my chin for a month after that. It’s not an “official” record, though.

ANNOUNCER: Oh?

BEAU: Silicone.

ANNOUNCER: Ah. You? Or her?

BEAU: (shrugging) Both.

ANNOUNCER: Scandalous. And the transition to dentures — how is that? Slowing you down at all?

BEAU: Not one *brrrp*. I may be getting old, but I’ve got the lip speed of a man half my age. Just wait til we hit the freestyle round. You’ll see.

ANNOUNCER: Tasty. Now-

[The motorboating offstage stops with a howl and gasping from an unseen crowd. Chet walks slowly back onstage, gingerly holding his face.]

ANNOUNCER: Chet! Chet! What happened out there?

CHET: I fink I bwew a wip.

ANNOUNCER: Ouch! How did it happen?

CHET: I hawve no ideaw. One milnute I wuls fine, then *bwammo* — this bwa stwap came owta nowhewe.

ANNOUNCER: Haunting. Do you think you’ll make it back for the coconut shell bikini round?

CHET: I dunk know, Joe. I’m gonga hab a wot of swe-wing.

ANNOUNCER: I imagine you *were* swearing, Chet. That must’ve hurt!

CHET: No. SWE-wing.

ANNOUNCER: Yes, I’d say you’ll have trouble spelling for a while, too.

CHET: SWE-WING! SWE-WING!

ANNOUNCER: Chet, I can’t understand a word you’re saying. You should really get some ice on that lip, or before it starts swelling.

[Chet limps away, dejected.]

ANNOUNCER: So that’s the latest from the Parton Center and this year’s World Motorboating Finals, where in the blink of an eye — or the snap of a strap — these brave slobbery competitors can go from the thrill of mammary to the agony of the teat. Good night!

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One Response to “A Sketchy Beginning”

  1. ema says:

    I’m curios to read, or maybe see, the next episode. for sure it’s not gonna be broadcast in the same time frame of “Friends”! Motorboat? I’m also really curios to understand who the hell was the firts that came up with it, but especially how did YOU came up with the idea, although I’d be afraid to go personal.

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