Thanks for all the sketches so far guys. I'm in the process of replying to everyone now with my thoughts and feedback. You may or may not welcome such feedback but I think when you've worked hard on material and then sent it off somewhere it's nice to hear SOMETHING back rather than receive a generic email or even nothing at all. So I'm trying to give everybody constructive criticism even on material that didn't quite work for me. Maybe something could be reworked into a better sketch? Maybe there's another comedic opportunity you hadn't thought of for your characters? It's so hard to get a decent second opinion on comedy writing and I hope mine is of some use to you.
In the meantime the single biggest problem I've come up against is sketches not being written for the stage. I understand a lot of the material submitted will have been written with radio or TV shows in mind and that's fine. I can work with that in many cases and concentrate on just seeing the funnies. If it's a good sketch it can always be reworked for the stage. But when the funnies rely too heavily on visual gags (looks to camera, cars driving by with a monkey driving etc) that's never going to work in a live setting. We don't have a monkey licence for starters. So please bear in mind when submitting anything new that this is a live show. No props. No sound fx. No TV cameras and definitely no monkeys. Or rabbits or other animals. Here is an example of a script which worked at our first show and is very much the kind of thing we are looking for. It incoporates a tiny bit of visual humour as a bonus for the audience but it's otherwise all about the dialogue.
STOPCOCK by CONAN PETERS
Jim: Have you had a hard-on that wasn't your fault?
WOMAN: (Screams in horror) Aaaaaaaagh!!!!!
Susan: Pitched a tent in your pants and someone's clocked it?
MAN: (Disgusted) You dirty bastard.
Susan: Call Stop Cock today on 1-800 Down Boy for emergency penile assistance.
Jim: Guys! In today's fast paced world we just don't have the time to check what our penises get up to from one minute to the next.
Susan: Yet the merest fruity thought or summer breeze is all it takes to set your manfellow on fire!!
Jim: It could be miles to the nearest cushion. (Covers his groin with one hand and looks coy)
Jim holds up a "wanking" fist.
Susan: And it's not always convenient to whip out the old wanking spanner (points to Jim's fist)and just crack one off.
WOMAN: Father Bingley! This is a funeral!
MAN: (Mimics throwing up) Bleugh!!!!
Jim: So. What do you do?
Susan: You call Stop Cock - on 1-800 Down Boy. Our highly trained team of expert deflatists are standing by to give you instant relief.
Jim: (To audience) They're not whores!
Susan: Far from it. They use a tried and tested approach which is guaranteed to make your problem wood (point to Jim's groin) go "TIM-BERRRR!" (mimes a tree falling over with her arm) as quickly as possible.
WOMAN: (Very Brightly) Good morning Stop Cock. What is the nature of your emergency?
MAN: (Panics desperately, slightly out of breath) Powerpoint presentation; important clients in the room and I've got a fat one brewing!
WOMAN: (Concerned, speaks quickly) Em, em, ok sir, er... Back hair! Shitty knickers. False teeth.
MAN: Oh God... hurry!
WOMAN: Isle of Man, Betamax video, YOUR GRANNY'S BRA!
MAN: Phew! Thanks Stop Cock. You sure stopped MY cock - and in the nick of time too.
Susan: Whatever your sexual preference.
Jim: Be it animal, vegetable (all smiley and knowing) or even a sexy mineral - Phoar!
Susan: We'll figure out what DOESN'T work for you and talk your bad boy DOWN.
Jim: Before it f**ks your day UP.
Susan: You know, it's a scientific fact that men think about sex an incredible 18 times every second.
Jim: (Brightly) I'm thinking about it now!
Susan: Your pork sword could swing up without warning.
MAN: (Looks down at his groin) Shit!!!
Susan: You could be a teenage boy at his sexual peak.
Jim: Or a Tory MP NEAR a teenage boy at his sexual peak.
WOMAN: (SCREAMS LOUDLY) Run Billy! Ruuuun!!
Susan: It's time to face facts. It's just a matter of time before you too get a hard-on at the worst possible moment.
Jim: (Brightly) I've got one now! But Stop Cock is here to help.
Susan: And here's something else to get you excited.
Jim: (Points to groin) But not THAT excited.
Susan: Introducing the new Stop Cock Guarantee.
Jim: A Guarantee so solid you could cut DIAMONDS with it! Grrrr!
Dick: (American, speaks slowly but passionately) Hi, I'm Dick Whopper, the founder of Stop Cock. I believe in this company. I believe in this company so goddamn much that if you're not 100% satisfied with the service we provide, you can come round to my house and kick me right in the balls - I mean it!
Jim: But wait, what if it's too late to call Stop Cock?
Susan: It's never too late to call.
Jim: You mean?
Susan: Yes. Even if your pecker has already put you in the shit.
Jim: What, right up to the balls?
Susan: Our legal department is on hand to help you get off.
Jim: (Incredulous) What, sexually?
Susan: No. Our high priced lawyers can handle you like a pro.
Jim: (To audience) Still not whoares!
Susan: So, don't let your amusin' protrusin cause public confusin'.
Jim: It could lead to prosecution and eventual execuoosin'.
MAN: (In quiet terms & conditions voice) Execution is unlikely.
Susan: But we have the soloosion!
Jim: That's right Soosin' - caaaallll Stop Cock.
Susan: On 1-800 Down Boy!
Jim: That's 1-800 Down Boy!
Susan: We'll take your boner off its owner.
Jim: And put the wrinkle back in your tinkle.
Jim/Susan Brightly: Call Stop Cock today!
WOMAN: (SING JINGLE) On 1-800...
CALLUM: (Barks twice like a little dog) Ruff ruff.
WOMAN: Down Boy!