Here's a two-fer for today, a couple of song parodies. I'm not even sure when or for whom I wrote these. Cracked Magazine certainly did song parody lyrics, I night have submitted them there. Prairie Home Companion occassionally would to pop song parodies and I'm pretty certain I sent them out to them. The file I found these in was dated 2006, so I must have pitched them to ACN and All Star Radio to boot. I might have included them in an early draft of my script, "Halloweenies." It's all very fuzzy, like a lollipop at the bottom of a trick-or-treat bag. The song titles are easy to see, but the songs themselves were trickier to scan.
So, to remind people that Halloween is coming and I have a Halloween book to sell, here is...
October 2004. This was a weird bit. It was a prose bit, the kind I was churning out for no particular reason-a "listicle" as they are called now. An amusing or punny title with a brief gag to follow. I'd done them for the Staten Island Advance, the NY Post, Cracked; come up with a parody theme (movies, TV shows, candy) and riff on them until I had 9-12 items to type up. Even my sketch "Abbott & Othello" begat a list of "Lesser-Known" Shakespeare plays. Anyway, I got it into my head to extract some and turn them into a radio bit for Prairie Home Companion. They passed, but the bit never died. Some titles went off to become actual sketches, some were just folded into other bits, just comic Flotsam and jetsam washing up on humor's shore.
Anyway, all in good fun and here to remind you to get a copy of Halloweenies today!
Oct 2017; CBS was pushing prequels to Star Trek and Big Bang Theory, and with Young Sheldon and the Star Trek: Discovery being hits, what else could they try? How about a sit-com about a young, nerdy vampire?
The mash-ups of genres is fun because it lets you play one against the other and putting a horror tale as a family comedy allows you to follow the rhythms and beats of the show while still goofing on it.
11So, to remind people that Halloween is coming and I have a Halloween book to sell, here is...
October 2014, with a comedy troupe in sight, I did start trying to turn out season-specific sketches when the whole "Hollywood Current Events" premise didn't interest me. They did do an annual Halloween show, and I know I over-submitted the first year I dealt with him, writing new and resurrecting old bits. This was one of the new bits, a mash-up of two popular reality show tropes; paranormal shows and practical joke shows. As well as goofing on the idea that the SYFY channel was drifting away from its Sci-Fi roots. It's a commercial parody, which means I was still writing sketches that were too brief and needed to work on that. So, to remind people that Halloween is coming and I have a Halloween book to sell, here is...
QUnlike topical sketches, holiday sketches have a shot at being utilized the next year. Or the one after that. Or maybe...
You get the idea, a holiday could have a longer shelf life, but, like most sketches in the world, it'll never see the light of day. And, as you may have guess, I'm kinda a nut about Halloween. So, if I had a venue, I would inevitably start churning out new Halloween skits or recycle some off the hard drive. To mixed results. As I stated with the TMI: Hollywood group, I was still feeling my way, still churning out the shorter skits, but come September, I would begin handing in Halloween bits. Like this one from 2014. Somehow the name popped into my head; of course zombies were all the rage, so eventually a skit followed. The formatting is off for a stage piece. Did I think they would do it as a video? Or did I just automatically fall into a movie template. Who knows? Anyway, I present it here as part of my Halloween themed promo for my book, Halloweenies.
Aberzombie & Finch
Is there anything that has a shorter shelf life than a topical sketch that isn't selected? Besides 1-ply toilet paper? It's rough. You pull together a decent take on today's pop culture news only to learn they didn't pick your sketch to be in this week's show. Then what? Submit it around to the hundreds of comedy troupes that are looking for sketches from strangers? Save them for that reboot of "Fridays"? Or, do you just start posting on your own blog because you never know (actually you do, but you do it anyway)? Remember when Russia was trying to influence us via social media and the NRA? I decided to ramp it up to the next, logical level:
Is there anything that has a shorter shelf life than a topical sketch that isn't selected? Besides fruit from Top Tomato? It's rough. You pull together a decent take on today's pop culture news only to learn they didn't pick your sketch to be in this week's show. Then what? Submit it around to the hundreds of comedy troupes that are looking for sketches from strangers? Submit them as Craig List samples? Or, do you just start posting on your own blog because you never know (actually you do, but you do it anyway)? Remember that awful season of "The Walking Dead" when Negan arrived? No character development, no classic build-up, just the appearance of a crazy man who projected all his bad behavior on Rick. It was rough enough dealing with the election of 2016, but to have to watch snide Negan in action really sucked the fun out of the show. And had me rooting for the zombies. Anyway, I needed to vent, so I wrote up a TWD parody that undermined that maddening episode. Then there was that weird thing they did by having Negan beat the camera, so we didn't know who got beat for the summer. So that gets a nod, too. I have no idea how that would have played on stage. Maybe attack the guy filming the stage show.
Negan At the Bat
Look, I’m sorry “The Mummy” tanked…oh, who am I kidding, I’m not. I was angry about it since they announced it and the start of this whole Universal Monster “Dark Universe.” I’ve been mad about this stuff since “Van Helsing” came out. I grew up loving the monster movies of Universal Studios. From “Frankenstein” right up to “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein” (if you don’t know it’s one of the most solid Universal horror movies done in the Forties, I pity you), the movies were scary, funny, thrilling, and hokey. Sure, continuity is off, this was back before “franchises” existed and each movie kinda started from scratch, but they were fun and not calculated. Even the first time the idea of two monsters existing in the same universe occurred (“Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman”), it started off a joke idea that people grew to like.
But it was a train wreck, who’s only acknowledgment of previous Universal monster movies was the vague notion that werewolves can kill vampires, which was first implied at the conclusion of “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.”
Anyway, the film got me angry. So angry, I wrote the sequel to the last Universal monster movie they SHOULD HAVE done. I brought it into modern times, I managed to explain why we haven’t heard from the monster is decades, and I folded in every bit of folklore from the movies I could PLUS give it a sense of humor about itself. It was a tale of thrills, revenge and villainy. Naturally, as soon as I started showing it around, Universal started floating the idea of a “Dark Universe” to compete with Marvel movies or DC.
Sure, I tried to do a rewrite, and convert the monsters into the more public domain versions of themselves, but the same reaction was had. Apparently you can’t pitch a movie called “Island of Frankenstein” without triggering those connections. Oh, well. I’m very happy with it and I love the big finale. So, I park it here, on my website. Enjoy.
Yeah, after posting this, other thoughts came to me and now it's turning into a limited edition series. We'll see how it goes...
Dan vs. the Rock
Ah, the writer’s life, sitting alone in front of a blank piece of paper (virtual or otherwise), allowing your imagination to run free and gather the thoughts and impulses needed to generate prose, to create a story, to come up with a sketch. Writing isn’t always easy, but sometimes an idea comes to you in a flash, and you are merely transcribing inspiration. You can fall into the zone as you write, where time and effort fall away like a flaky biscuit. I treasure those times. And after the muse has come and gone, you have something tangible to hold; a short story, an article, a comedy skit. Not just any comedy skit, the comedy skit; the one that would get me noticed!
Got a new bit posted by the gang over at The Higgs Weldon site; President Trump's First 100 Days; an Alternative Look Back!
Freelance writer, still hacking away.