Peter’s Commentary on the “Interviews That Never Aired” Edition
29 July 2009
by Peter Rogers
Here’s my commentary for the 5/13/09 round of Sketchwar, which had the theme “Interviews That Never Aired.”
I continue slowly catching up on Sketchwar commentary. Ah, I was back in Austin and back on the scene this week.
“Cicero and Brutus”
I admit, this didn’t strike me as the most promising comic material — a post-game-style interview following the assassination of Julius Caesar — but it starting winning me over in short order. “Sixty-to-one power play” is just plain funny, as is thanking Jupiter for your victory.
I was a little confused by the prepared statement — I understood what was happening on-screen, I just assume that it’s a reference to maybe some Michael Vick interview I have managed to not-see. I might trim the Visigoths bit.
But generally, I was pleased with the rest of the sketch. I love that Brutus manages to translate absolutely everything about classical Rome into jock-talk. “I’m going to Crete!” is a ridiculously cheesy ending, but this sketch should not end any other way.
“God’s Worst Nightmare”
It has been a long time since Sketchwar has had a crazy-ass dream sequence, so kudos for giving us a real mess-with-your-head format. Frankly, I’d hold off on the ‘it’s a dream’ reveal — currently, you have Letterman say that about fifteen seconds in; you might do better to just make the audience wonder what the hell’s happening for the first minute or so.
I find it funnier when God tries to answer everybody’s questions, as he does on Yo! MTV Raps. I kind of wish he’s started to give an answer regarding the platypus, but gotten switched over to The View before he could complete it.
I think things start to come apart with the O’Reilly Factor bit. I don’t see any reason to keep Jesus-as-production-assistant, and then… well, I don’t envy you the task of ending this sketch. It’s basically a ‘list sketch’ that’s just a bunch of people asking God questions, and there’s no obvious way to make such a sketch feel like it’s ended.
I suppose “God destroys the media” is as natural an end as any, but you have to get through a lot of unfunny exposition to get there. Honestly I might just cut the “it’s a dream” conceit entirely. Just make it “somebody is screwing with God” throughout, and then make the Couric interview as agonizing for God as possible (I think that’s your arc here: make the talk-show segments more and more annoying as time goes by) until God gets out of it by un-making the entire news-media industry.
“The Fightin’ Penguins”
You know, Joss Whedon has a saying, along the lines of: “If you’ve got a story, you don’t need jokes. If you’ve got no story, no amount of jokes will save you.” One thing I’m very slowly learning in Sketchwar is that, for sketch comedy, it’s the exact opposite.
This is the first of my own sketches that seems a lot *better* to me now that I’ve had a few months to not look at it. And this sketch is all jokes. It’s just one part “really horrible things a victorious quarterback could say” to one part “amusingly eloquent ways he could say them”. No story. No characters with objectives. It’s just two to three minutes of a guy saying things that are funny, and I think it works a lot better than my other, more drama-informed sketches.