The Trade-In

A sketch I wrote on a family who takes a page from the Chinese in the Opening Ceremonies in dealing with their “ugly” son.   This sketch was featured in the Improv Olympic show Big News on August 17:

THE TRADE-IN

MARGARET and RONALD sit.  Their teenage son, MITCH enters.

RONALD
Have a seat, son.

MITCH
What did you want to see me about, dad?

Mitch sits.

RONALD
Your mother and I have been worried about you.

MITCH
Is it my grades?

MARGARET
No, it’s not your grades.  You’re actually doing very well.  It’s just that, well how do I put this. . you’re ugly.

MITCH
What?

RONALD
You are an ugly, ugly kid.

MARGARET
Your teeth are crooked.  You’re already losing your hair.  Your face is all fucked up.

RONALD
It’s like Jackson Pollock took a shit on a canvas and called it “Portrait of Ronald’s son Mitch.”

MITCH
Oh my God.

RONALD
But I have a solution.  Come out here Jesse.

JESSE, good-looking, enters.

JESSE
How y’all doin’?

MARGARET
This is Jesse.  He’s going to be you from now on.

MITCH
You’re replacing me?

RONALD
No, you’re still going to do all the work and the things you do.  But when you speak, Jesse is going to lip synch what you say.

MITCH
You can’t do that.

MARGARET
The Chinese did it at the Opening Ceremonies.  We figured, “Why couldn’t we?”

RONALD
You’ll still be you.  Just much, much more good looking.

MARGARET
And besides, Jesse is an excellent lip-syncher.

JESSE
It’s kinda my thing.

RONALD
Try it out.  Mitch, you stand behind Jesse.

Mitch stands directly behind Jesse, both facing the audience, but Jesse is the one we see.

RONALD (CONT.)
And Mitch, talk.

As Mitch talks, Jesse lip-synchs to what Mitch says.

MITCH
Hi, I’m Mitch, uh, what do I say?

MARGARET
It’s like we have a better-looking son already.

MITCH
This is so stupid.  He can’t be me.  I’m me.

RONALD
Fiddlesticks.  This is our son now.

MITCH
Oh yeah, well, hey look at me.  I’m Mitch and I’m stupid.

MARGARET
That’s OK.  We’re just glad you’re prettier.

MITCH
I’m stupid and I have a small penis.

JESSE
(turning around to Mitch)
Hey.

RONALD
It’s not the size of the prize, son.

MITCH
Yeah, well, fuck you dad.  You know that stamp collecting set you got me last Christmas?  I took a piss on it and threw it in the dumpster.

RONALD
I thought you loved that.

MITCH
And mom, you know how hard you campaigned for Hillary Clinton.  Well, I rigged the ballot boxes so Obama would win.

MARGARET
I knew something was up.

MITCH
I hate that meatloaf you guys make me eat.  I hate Steven Seagal movies –-

RONALD
— You watch your mouth, son —

MITCH
— and I hate Michael Phelps!

MARGARET
(pointing to Jesse)
You.  Get the hell out of here.

JESSE
Me?

MARGARET
Yeah.  No one talks like that about Michael Phelps.  Get out.

Jesse scurries away.  Mitch is still there.  Awkward beat then reconciliation.

RONALD
There’s our ugly son.

MITCH
There’s my horrible parents.

They hug.  Lights out.

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