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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!

How Kanga-Rood!

Apologies to anyone who might notice such things for my unusual three-day absence.

(Not that it’s especially unusual. Or particularly noticed. Still.)

Due to a lovely weekend visit from my parents — and a not-so-lovely technical glitch on Saturday night — I managed to neglect posting for longer than I’d hoped. But that doesn’t mean creative juices weren’t bubbling — no, sir.

(Well, something was bubbling, anyway. Maybe creative juices, maybe just heartburn. The bubbles are not always so forthcoming regarding the nature of their business.)

Three things I can say for certain are these:

1) On Thursday night, I attended a show over at ImprovBoston, where I’ve been taking a sketch writing class. It was my first ‘Harold Night’, where the troupes performed skits and gags all related to a single central theme, supplied up front by the audience. All three of the groups were very good, and the night went something like this:

The first group was given the word ‘tickling’, and most of their material centered around tickling.

The second group was given the word ‘pipe’, and most of their material centered around pipes. Also, marijuana.

The third group was given the word ‘kangaroo’, and most of their material centered around… lactose intolerance.

That last one’s kind of a long story. I’d tell it, but I don’t really understand it. So I guess we’re all on our own on that one. Your guess is as good as mine.

2) On Saturday afternoon, our sketch writing class met for the final session. Our assignment was to take a fresh look at one of our older sketches and edit it line-by-line to ‘tighten up’ the premise and execution.

That all sounds very important and fancy, which is good, considering the time and money we’ve all spent taking the class. But the perspective changes, just a bit, when you find yourself staring at a laptop screen at three in the morning trying to empirically decide whether ‘wang’ or ‘Johnson’ fits better in the dick joke on page three.

I’m not saying it’s not ‘important’. Just maybe a little less ‘fancy’ than one might at first perceive.

Also, I won’t bore you with my updated sketch. It was a somewhat less wordy version of Roadshow Surprise from last week, but it wasn’t a huge rewrite. Maybe should’ve been. But wasn’t.

However.

3) From Thursday night on, this ‘kangaroo’ business bugged me a little bit. I felt just a little cheated, frankly, that I didn’t get to see any actual kangaroo material onstage, after the audience had gone and selected ‘kangaroo’ from any of the nearly infinite number of prompts we could have provided. We made a collective request, and it got morphed into something else entirely. Something very entertaining and humorous — but something else.

So I started wondering what I would have done with ‘kangaroo’.

And then I went and did something with ‘kangaroo’.

And, most likely, found out in the process why those very smart people on stage did nothing with kangaroo. The comedy, she is harder than she looks.

So my last act as a Sketch Level I student over at IB was to present, with a mostly-straight face, the kangaroo-related skit below. I did this because A) my obsessive mind was never going to leave ‘kangaroo’ alone otherwise, and more importantly, B) I’ve already signed up for Sketch Level II and I’m pretty sure they can’t kick me out on the basis of one sketch.

And lord help me if I’m wrong.

At any rate, here you go. It’s kind of my ‘graduation piece’ from Remedial Sketch class. And it’s about kangaroos. Why? Hey, like I said — your guess is as good as mine.


JOEY

[Open on Beth, sitting in a waiting room chair reading a magazine. Gary enters, wearing a blue smock and rubber gloves, which he removes as he approaches Beth.]

GARY: Um… hi, Mrs. Waterman. Can I have a word with you?

BETH: Of course.

GARY: Yeah. So, we’ve run some tests on your daughter, and… I’m not quite sure how to put this, but… we think she might be… a kangaroo.

BETH: What?! Are you sure?

GARY: Well, not conclusively, no. I mean, none of us are animal…uh, -ologists or anything. But the signs are pretty clear.

“I’m not judging. I’m just connecting the dots. The many, many dots.”

BETH: Signs? What signs?

GARY: Well for starters, the fur. Haven’t you noticed the… all-over hair covering?

BETH: I figured she’d grow out of it. Like baby fat.

GARY: And the big pointy ears?

BETH: She often wears her hair down. They’re barely even noticeable.

GARY: What about the tail?

BETH: Well, you know… my family’s from Kentucky, originally.

[Gary looks at her, puzzled.]

BETH: It’s not completely unheard of, is all I’m saying.

GARY: Ooo-kay. Let me ask you this: what exactly did the adoption agency tell you?

BETH: Well… they said she was from Australia…

GARY: Sure.

BETH: …and she came from an underprivileged home…

GARY: Because most kangaroos are poor and homeless.

BETH: …but that she was a real fighter.

GARY: And kangaroos are legendary boxers. Look, Mrs. Waterman — I’m not judging. I’m just connecting the dots. The many, many dots.

BETH: Oh, I don’t know. It seems so… wait, here she comes now. We can settle this once and for all.

[Joey, a teenaged girl, hops on both feet onto the stage, past Gary, and flops into a chair near Beth. Joey has enormous fuzzy ears and feet, a long tail, and once seated, boredly eats potato chips which she pulls from inside her obvious pouch.]

BETH: Joey? Honey?

JOEY: G’day, ma.

BETH: Yes, Joey — “g’day”. Now you know Mommy loves you very much, right?

JOEY: Yeh.

BETH: Okay, sweetie, good. Mommy just needs to ask you one little question, okay?

JOEY: Fire away, ma.

BETH: Joey… are you a kangaroo?

JOEY: A wha’?

BETH: A kangaroo, dear.

JOEY: A ‘roo?

BETH: Yes, that’s right.

JOEY: Like, a hippity-hoppah? Box yer ears, stomp yer feet, bounce about the outback sort of ‘roo?

BETH: That’s the one, yes.

JOEY: Nah. Don’t fink so.

BETH: Are you sure, dear?

JOEY: Yeh, ma. Pretty sure I’d know if I’s a ‘roo. There’d be signs.

BETH: [to Gary] You see? Not a kangaroo.

GARY: You can’t be serious. Just look at her ears!

BETH: Don’t you dare make fun of my daughter’s ears! She is a blossoming young lady, and you will treat her with the respect and dignity she deserves!

GARY: Well, sure, yes, of course. But… a pouch? Come on.

BETH: And I’ll bet you had acne as a young man. How did you feel about know-it-alls pointing that out all the time, eh?

GARY: She has a tail!

[At the mention of ‘pedicure’ in the next line, Joey crosses her enormous hairy feet and admires the gobs of nail polish on the ‘toes’.]

BETH: Look, mister, I have heard *enough*. I brought my daughter here for a pedicure — a really expensive and sloppy pedicure, I might add — not to have her publicly ridiculed by the likes of you. We will be taking our business elsewhere!

[Beth stands, in a huff.]

BETH: Come on, Joey — we’re leaving.

[Joey continues eating chips and admiring her toes, oblivious.]

BETH: I said, let’s go. Hop up!

[Beth glares at Gary and holds up a finger in a ‘not one word’ motion. Joey ‘hops up’ and hops offstage, with Beth following. Gary holds his arms open, wondering what the hell just happened. After a moment, he composes himself.]

GARY: Wow. All right, who’s next? Ah, Ms. Fossey, here for an exfoliation. Come on back.

[A woman beating her chest and making gorilla noises crosses the stage past Gary. He sighs heavily and follows her offstage.]

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