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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!

Ruck Me, Ruck You, Ruckus All!

I may have mentioned — several dozens of times over the past few months — that I’ve been taking sketch writing classes over at ImprovBoston. All the while, I’ve been eager to unleash my chops on unsuspecting sketch comedy audiences.

(As opposed to the four-and-a-half people who read this site. If any of you are still ‘unsuspecting’ at this point, I know a very nice prince from Nigeria who’s dying to send you millions of dollars for no especially good reason. I’d be more than happy to negotiate the deal.

For a small processing fee. Of course.)

I thought I’d found my ‘in’ when I weaseled my way into the inbox of the head honchess of The Ruckus, a resident IB sketch troupe. Back in October-ish time, the group was herding all of their writers together, coming up with a dozen or so sketches to work into a show. I was invited. I was so excited. I strongly considered the prospect of losing control. And I think I liked it.

I was told the first writers’ meeting would be “in a couple of weeks”. That was peachy. I had no other obligations, no dates marked off on my dance card — except tickets to a Patriots game one Sunday afternoon. But that was no problem, surely. Seriously, who meets in the middle of a day on a Sunday?

“We had a bar picked out. I bought Tom Brady earmuffs. My hands were tied.”

The group of writers for the Ruckus local sketch comedy troupe, is who. The conflict arose — as I somehow always knew it would — and pigskins won over script penning. My buddy already had the tickets. We had a bar picked out. I bought Tom Brady earmuffs. My hands were tied.

Still, I had a foot in the door. I apologized for missing the meeting, and learned that a few weeks later — after furious rewrites, updates and packing in the jokes about idiots — there’d be a final meeting. I could come to that one. And while I might not (or might!) sneak a sketch into the show, I’d at least be able to see a meeting. Learn how they work. See writers in their natural habitat. Maybe feed one of the tame ones from my hand.

Again, my schedule was free — except an invitation to another football game. But! This one was on Monday night. Sketch comedy is clearly a weekend activity. There’s absolutely zero chance that this second meeting would possibly also be at the same time as the only other Pats game I’d get to attend, especially on a Monday night. No way. Unpossible.

Clearly, somebody up there has it out for me.

All of which is to say, I almost hooked up with this ‘Ruckus’ crew to write and edit some sketches, to contribute to a show, and to see my name — if not in lights, then at least with a writer’s credit at the bottom of some small-run photocopied local theater program. But no. Bill Belicheck wouldn’t have that, apparently.

So, I took another angle. The next email went out looking for actors for this show other people had written while I was freezing my butt off in Foxboro. Twice. So I swore off football, said, ‘yes, please‘, and — for at least one run — joined the Ruckus to perform on Saturdays in January.

Assuming they don’t kick me out by then. Or make me play a lamppost in every skit.

So far, so good. We’ve had a couple of rehearsals — with some very funny people — and the show’s looking fantastic.

(Or it’s not — what the hell would I know about how it’s supposed to look after two rehearsals? I can’t even make it to the writers’ meetings, for crissakes.

But to me? Looking pretty fantastic.)

The roles appear to be pretty well set at this point. Without giving too much away, I’ll say that it looks like I’ll be playing, at various points:

  • A corporate mogul jackass
  • A hopelessly naive high school student
  • An exasperated on-location reporter

Exciting, no? I’ve even got a shot at being added as Man Waiting in Line #1, or Random Non-Speaking Bus Passenger. I know, right? “Look out, Hollywood!”

Anyway, I’ll throw out another Ruckus-related update or two as the show dates near. If you’re in the Boston area, maybe you’ll slide by for a view. For now, I’m busy just learning my scripts, trying to act ‘corporate’ and practicing standing in line and keeping my damned fool mouth shut.

Sort of like they tell you to do on the way in to the Patriots games. I knew taking those tickets would come in handy for something.

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