The Misfit Sketches
Now SCTV took some of those ideas and bumped them to the next level. While SNL would do commercial parodies, when they did other parodies they would be long form sketches. SCTV changed it up. Because they came from a tradition of mimicking the medium they were performing, they opened up a new idea with their show. They were able to, in the form of a commercial or movie trailer just to a series of black-outs that all happen to be from a movie we'd never see. The sketches became shorter, quicker. It was now doing a "best-of" version of the tradition sketch, leaving out the boring parts and the idea of a plot.
Now, when I moved to radio and video, I began to fall into this style of sketch writing. Set the premise, hit the high points of the promo for the bigger production and it would run 2-3 pages, max.
For example, my submissions to Prairie Home Companion began to slide into this mode. I wrote once about my Abbott & Othello sketch. While it was a tradition sketch, I did break away from the bit to have the host interrupt and then let the bit run down, skipping over a big chuck of the real "Who's on First" routine. Garrison Keillor took it a bit farther (as, apparently was his style) and turned it into a promo for a radio broadcast that would be presented later. So my 7 minute skit was knocked down to about a minute and a half. Once I saw that, I began to adjust my style a bit. One Christmas I submitted a parody of the Misfit Toys of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." It was very much a promo-style sketch:
The Island of Recalled Toys
GK: Later tonight, on most of these public radio stations, take a trip back to a magical land filled with all the childhood dreams and holiday wishes that almost made it to the store shelf. It's the new holiday special, "The Island of Recalled Toys."
CHARLIE-IN-THE-BOX: Here it is again, Christmas Eve, and Santa's forgotten us.
DOLLY: When will it be our turn?
GK: Yes, the citizens of the island are back again, waiting for a merry Christmas. Your old favorites:
COWBOY: I'm still on an ostrich!
ELEPHANT: I'm still poka-dotted!
ANNOUCNER: And some new friends:
OVEN: I'm an Easy-Cook Oven with faulty wiring.
GI JOE: I'm Don't Ask, Don't Tell GI Joe. Advocacy Groups claim I'm inappropriate.
CLOWN: I'm Jolly the Clown. My innards are toxic!
GK: They all join forces and attempt to escape the island in time for Christmas!
DOLLY: I don't think we're going to finish this tunnel in time.
COWBOY: So, what's your story, Malibu Barbara?
BARBARA: Apparently, my head comes off and can be swallowed by small children.
GK: And who shows up to help? Why old Saint Nick himself!
SANTA: I'm sorry, toys, I wish I could bring you all to new homes, but I don't want to open myself to all sorts of lawsuits.
GK: But even Santa can't fight the curse of the Island of Recalled Toys.
SANTA: Okay, I can see why they'd recall the train with the square wheels and the boat that won't float, but what's wrong with the dolly?
COWBOY: She's bulimic.
GK: It's the holiday spirit come to life in a safe and non-toxic manner. It's "The Island of Recalled Toys." That's tonight on most of these Public Radio stations.
Escape from the Island of Misfit Toys
COWBOY on an Ostrich
TRAIN with square wheels
Easy Bake OVEN
(The toys sit around a campfire, commiserating.)
COWBOY: These holidays never get easier for a Cowboy that rides an Ostrich.
TRAIN: Tell me about it. Being a train with square wheels on his caboose just bums out everyone.
ELEPHANT: Polka-dot Elephants are never going to come into style. Ever.
CHARLIE: Here it is again, Dolly, Christmas Eve, and Santa's forgotten us.
DOLLY: When will it be our turn, Charlie in the Box?
COWBOY: Oh, shut up the both of you.
CHARLIE: What’s your problem, man?
COWBOY: Charlie, you can just go to any courtroom and have your name legally changed to Jack. You know that, right?
TRAIN: You know, he’s right. Hell, you know what? You can just introduce yourself to people as Jack. Like, “Hi, I’m Jack. I live in this box! Turn my crank.” Who’s going to vet you about something like that? Are you ISIS?
ELEPHANT: Yeah, it’s not like you’re running for office or something.
CHARLIE: What’s with the attitude, all of the sudden?
COWBOY: All of the sudden? I’m a cowboy on a freakin’ ostrich. You think I can just change my name and pass myself off as a Birdboy? Do you???
CHARLIE: Well, no…
TRAIN: Me and the swimming bird and that water pistol with the jelly fetish are just tired of hearing all of your whining.
DOLLY: You shouldn’t pick on Jack…
COWBOY: Oh my god, you’re just enabling him when you do that, Dolly!
DOLLY: He’s as miserable as anyone on this god-forsaken island. It’s an awful predicament.
ELEPHANT: Predicament? I’ve had PETA on my back for like 50 years. Every time it seems like a market might open up for a polka-dot elephant, they start some crazy new ad campaign. All Charlie has to do is get some new name tags.
DOLLY: Look, we’re all here for a reason.
TRAIN: Oh, yeah, about that--
ELEPHANT: What is your deal anyway? What are you even doing on this island, Dolly?
DOLLY: Me? I identify as an action figure.
COWBOY: Are you kidding me???
TRAIN: I’ve got square wheels! Not round, square! I've got square wheels! What the blazes were those Chinese kids thinking when they built me??? The boat? He sinks! That’s the exact opposite of what a boat should do! We’re actually defective!!!
DOLLY: Hashtag All Toys Matter.
TRAIN: OMG! I’m stuck here and yet that stupid pet rock was able to get out of here years ago!
ELEPHANT: Oh, yeah. And don’t get me started about those ridiculous fidget spinners!
CHARLIE: Let it go, guys.
COWBOY: (looking up) Wait, what’s that?
TRAIN: It’s King Moonracer!
ELEPHANT: Oh, no, he brought a new bunch of toys!
(The new toys, OVEN, GI JOE, BARBIE and a CLOWN enter.)
DOLLY: Who are you?
OVEN: I'm an Easy-Bake Oven that still uses an incandescent light bulb.
GI JOE: I'm Transgender GI Joe. Advocacy Groups claim I'm inappropriate.
CLOWN: I'm Jolly the Clown. I’m made in China and my innards are toxic!
COWBOY: Malibu Barbie? What are you doing here?
BARBIE: Apparently, my head comes off and can be swallowed by small children. And morons.
(sleigh bells are heard.)
DOLLY: Do you hear that?
ELEPHANT: Sleigh bells!
TRAIN: Can it be???
COWBOY: Santa! Wait, you’re not Santa!
LAWYER: No, I’m Santa’s attorney, Will Lebowitz.
CHARLIE: Where’s Santa? Isn’t he going to rescue us?
LAWYER: Sorry, Charlie, he can’t. However, he did release a statement: “While I wish I could bring you all to new homes, at this juncture in time, it has been deemed impractical.”
ELEPHANT: What does that mean?
LAWYER: Look, Santa is still dealing with law suits over all those lawn darts and exploding phones he’s given out. We’re not prepared to handle the kind of claims that could be filed if he went around delivering defective trains and boats. And don’t get me started on the problems of handing out guns, jelly or not.
DOLLY: That’s why I voted for Trump. Second Amendment, baby!
GI JOE: Wow, you’re one seriously screwed-up dolly.
ELEPHANT: So, so, Rudolph won’t be coming to save us?
LAWYER: ‘Fraid not. He was shot over Zimbabwe. His head is being stuffed and mounted and shipped to the U.S as a hunting trophy. Apparently, Eric Trump is turning him into a night light.
LAWYER: Again, so sorry. Keep your fingers crossed for deregulation!
DOLLY: Hashtage MAGA!
CHARLIE: So, another year on this island.
COWBOY: Just open a credit card account with the name “Jack.” Seriously, that’s all it’ll take.
(A phone rings. Charlie reaches into his box and pulls up a phone)
CHARLIE: Hello? Really? They do? They will? Great! I’ll tell everyone!
ELEPHANT: What is it?
CHARLIE: Let-it-go.com wants to feature us on their second-hand cyber-store!
DOLLY: We’re collectibles!