A club. Microphone and a couple of tables.


This next guy is gonna absolutely kill you. I’m not easy to get to—my second ex-wife said I have a hide like samsonite—but this guy absolutely slays me. You know, I was privileged in 1989 to appear on a charity program with the great Shecky Greene, and he told me, “Kill—shmill. You can kill an audience all you want—you can be a regular Charlie Manson

(Pauses for a laugh—whether it comes or not.)

–but if you don’t have heart, you got bupkas.”

So give a nice round of welcome to a great comedian and an even greater human—not yet, wait.

(Al has come to the edge of the stage; watches for his cue.)

Now Al Barry—who’s going to commit absolute acts of mayhem against your persons—has the unusual background for a comedian of coming from the Lower East Side of Cleveland, if you can imagine such a crime. My fourth ex-wife also came from Cleveland, but I have it on good authority that she never actually shtupped Al Barry—

(Al is horrified.)

–even though that makes him the only guy in Cleveland with a circumcision who she didn’t shtupp. Lucky guy. You know, the only time I got up in front of an audience in Cleveland, I should’ve said, “I don’t!”


It was my wedding.—Anyway, here he is, the guy who’s gonna commit Homicide One on each and every one of you, Al Capone—no, I’m only kidding: Al Barry!

(Al comes to the microphone. Jack sits at a table near the stage.)


Thank you, ladies and—uh—these guys you dragged here. After an introduction like that, I better be funny, or Jack’ll get arrested for false advertising!


(from his seat)

Not if I can get away with describing myself in the Personals!

(Looks around to be sure of a couple of laughs.)


And I saw your resume—it says “comedian.” Talk about false advertising . . .


(to those around him)

Isn’t he great?—How young are you? I got hemorrhoids that are older than you . . .


Ladies and gentlemen, the other night I was watching television—I needed the exercise—


You can watch television?


(distracted by the interruption)



(joining him at microphone)

The junk on television! In the old days you had Berle, Caesar, Lassie . . .


Jack, I was about to tell—


Did I ever tell you about the time I auditioned for Ed Sullivan?


I never met you before tonight—I got here at 7 because my plane—


Planes. I sat next to a genuine genius once on a flight to Vegas—the late great Totie Fields—


Jack, I was ready to start my—my act—shouldn’t I—I’m forgetting everything . . . Dammit, Jack . . .

(to audience, plucking at straws)

What do you think of these guys in Congress . . . always ready to turn a new page . . .


(to audience)

And he’s gonna kill you—absolutely slaughter you . . .

(Returns to his seat. Exhausted with frustration, Al’s rhythm is now totally off.)


(gesturing to Jack)

Take this guy—please . . . Anyway, I was watching television and I needed a few laughs so I turned on the news. The news. Yuh. Well, there was Arnold Schwarzenneger—


(strolling over to Al)

Don’t tell me about Arnold Schwarzenneger. In 1983, I think it was—


You’re not gonna let me tell . . . I was gonna tell . . .


And I know you’re gonna kill them. You’re as good as the late Red Buttons, who confided in me—

(absolutely murderous)


(Goes at Jack’s throat. Chases him out. Blackout.)


One comment

  1. These old men are familiar to me. Borsht Belt comedians of my youth. Headline performers like Shecky Greene, Jacky Leonard, Rodney Dangerfield, Henny Youngman, and a host of other lesser names that all practiced the same schtick.

    They always made me laugh and still do although I often wonder why. I think it must be the unquestioned natural ability of Jews to express comedy, irony, pathos and every other sensation or feeling experienced by mankind throughout history. Reflections of ourselves, good and bad, all wrapped up with the artistic talent and training to make it work.

    I have a lot of favorite actors, writers, directors and performers and I think most of them are Jewish. I would love to see Kevin Klein and Natalie Portman cast together. Would you mind writing a romantic comedy/tragedy for them? A May-September piece set in pre-war Dusseldorf — but it must have a happy ending. I, of course, would project myself into the Kevin Klein role.

    Do you know an MC like the one in your short script?


    Sent from my iPad


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