In 2007, I started a comedy group called Northwest Sketch with the goal of making funny videos. I advertised on Craigslist and got several people on board, some great people! In the accordion below, I present our first script. Some of it is a little silly, see notes section. We actually filmed some of it at the Camas Library and had a great time.
Setting: Weekly news hour with two anchors, special guests, pictures and video clips. The premise is a serious news organization with slightly out of control anchors and a brief glimpse at their conflicting personalities.
Robert (Anchor 1): Good evening and welcome to the World News Now. I’m Robert Fuller. Thank you for joining us. Alexa cuts Robert off
Alexa (Anchor 2): Thank you Bob. And I’m Alexa Perkins. We’ll begin with the international news headlines and the war on terror.
Robert: In a surprise announcement, CIA officials have admitted that for the past year, they have been using the secret computer network of Al Qaeda. Just recently, the terrorist organization discovered the security breach and has now changed the password. Let’s go to our undercover reporter, Miles Davis who is broadcasting live from Bin Laden’s secret underground palace. Hello Miles. Cut Robert off while speaking the next sentence… Hope all is going well.
The rest of the scene will cut back and forth between the undercover reporter and the news anchors.To help keep the pace, we’ll have someone off-camera reading Mile’s lines.
Miles: Good evening Robert, Alexa. Fortunately, my executioner disguise is still intact. I get to wear a mask and carry a gun, so you could say I’m pretty safe.
Robert: Good to hear Miles. What more can you tell us about this case? How did Bin Laden discover that the CIA had gained access to his computer network, and how did they gain access in the first place?
Miles: It’s a very interesting story Robert. An Al Qaeda student intern named Abudai Shlamil, lost the network password in a poker game that was secretly staged by the CIA. Abudai kept the poker game incident secret for several months, but it was revealed recently when a fellow intern betrayed Abudai, and told Bin Laden. Strangely, the second intern was not punished for withholding the information. Instead, he was promoted for his underhandedness. They’re terrorists, go figure. Anyway, I’ve got a recording of Bin Laden’s reaction to the incident.
Alexa: Wow, some live footage. How did you get it?
Miles: Uh… I was there. Unfortunately, it’s just an audio recording because one of the suicide bombers borrowed my undercover camera. Let me give you some advice. Never lend anything to a suicide bomber. You’ll never get it back. Anyway, the recording is of Bin Laden and the student intern. Poor kid. Miles shakes his head. Here it goes.
Robert: We’re listening.
The recording involves yelling, screaming, gunshots and speaking in Arabic. Alexa has an inquisitive and professional smile the entire time because she’s not really paying attention very well. Robert flinches at the gunshots and the yelling, and naturally looks very disturbed by what he hears. While they are listening to the recording, Miles is explaining what is being said.
Miles is narrating while the the audio clip plays:
OK just to give you an overview, the intern is tied to a chair and Bin Laden is yelling at him.
We hear some gunshots.
Now Abudai is asking for forgiveness, and that he’ll gladly go on the next suicide mission.
Here’s where Bin Laden says that a martyr’s death is too good for him.
pause to listen
More groveling from Abudai. blah, blah, blah
Now Bin Laden is talking about how the CIA discovered all of his plans and how they have to go back to the drawing board because of several botched operations.
The worst bit was when the CIA emailed his favorite wife about her surprise birthday party, and months of preparation were ruined.
we hear a young man’s voice getting louder. Miles clears his throat.
Um, we’d better stop here.
Robert looks stunned. Alexa looks as if she’s coming out of a trance, but still smiling
Alexa: Wow. That must have been quite an experience.
Miles: I, uh,… yeah. He looks around and in panic says. Uh-oh, someone’s coming. Gotta go. This is Miles Davis, reporting live from Bin Laden’s underground Palace.
Robert: OK thanks Miles. Be safe. Voice only.
Alexa: That was some pretty amazing stuff Bob. A short pause before turning to the camera. On a similar note, the Al Qaeda organization received another blow this past week when they found a pair of IRS agents at their hidden underground palace. The IRS told Bin Laden that several of his staff were CIA agents, which made him a US employer and subject to our tax laws.
Robert: Sounds like two major setbacks for the Al Qaeda organization. It must have been quite a shock to discover that some of Bin Laden’s employees were actually his enemies.
Alexa: It just goes to show that you don’t mess with the IRS. The greatest army in the world wasn’t able to find this guy, but the IRS did. As some consolation the IRS suggested that he could deduct the purchase of suicide vests, land mines, and even his Playboy subscription as ‘Business Expenses’.
Robert: As a final note, the war on terror experienced a major setback when all 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq laid down their weapons today and resigned en masse. Both soldiers and their commanding officers were seen driving Humvees to the airport, high-fiving, driving up and down sand dunes, and slamming back warm beers. In response to the uprising, all President Bush had to say was, “It’s Barak’s problem now.”
Picture 1 – Picture of President Bush shrugging his shoulders or something similar.
Unexpectedly, British coalition troops chose to stay in Iraq, claiming “It’s much sunnier here… we actually prefer this to London.”
Alexa: Well, we all knew it was just a matter of time.
Alexa turns to Robert as if waiting for a response. He looks confused and responds with a silent ‘what?’
Camera Angle Shift to focus more on Bob, but Alexa is still seen. He looks confused by what she said.
Camera Angle Shifts back to head on.
Alexa continued: In a bizarre turn of events, President Bush was the first person fired by Donald Trump in the season opener of Celebrity Apprentice.
Picture 2 Show image of a major magazine cover with a picture of Donald Trump and the headline ‘George W., you’re fired.’
Donald Trump was quoted as saying, “With experience managing the most powerful nation on earth, we certainly had higher expectations of him. To put it bluntly, we were shocked.”
President Bush had expected to dazzle everyone with his business savvy, but ironically, the basic principles of sales and marketing seemed beyond his grasp. His teammate Kevin Federline had this to say, “He kept ordering us around, telling us to call Dick Cheney for advice.”
Robert: Maybe he should just stick with Trump the board game.
Alexa: I like the Trump board game, Bob. It’s like monopoly, except the smallest bills are worth a million dollars.
Robert: You know Alexa, some convenience stores actually accept the board game money.
Alexa: Really. Enunciate the word and smile hopefully
Robert smiles to Alexa then continue with the next bit
Robert: Al Gore was overjoyed recently to claim even more proof of global warming. A giant crack cut Greenland in half last week and the wayward island drifted for thousands of miles until it crashed into the former Soviet Union. Russia’s new president, Dmitry Medvedev immediately claimed the new land, stating “The entire country now belongs to us, including its famous baby seal sausage and fur coat industries.” Greenland’s government, meanwhile, issued emergency life-jackets to all of its citizens.
Alexa: I like your German accent Bob. After a short break, we’ll start with the national news and our first story about the controversial new commercial (She screws it up and laughs) with presidential hopeful, Senator John McCain. Stay tuned.
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The news starts again, but Alexa and Robert are arguing.
Alexa: Don’t worry Bob. Lots of people spend Saturday night alone with their cats.
Robert: You know. It’s better than waking up Sunday morning, hung over, not knowing where your panties are.
Alexa: No one thinks you’re as smart as you do.
Alexa: Surprised that they’re back on the air, but she comes back as if there was no problem. Welcome back to the World News Now with Alexa Perkins and Bob Fuller.
Robert: He pauses to glare at Alexa. We now turn our attention to the race for the 2008 presidential bid. Barack Obama was the victim of identity theft when he opened his Visa bill and discovered charges for several thousand dollars worth of nerve gas, bomb components, and scud missiles. The bill even included a substantial donation to Barack’s presidential campaign. The FBI was able to trace the charges to Osama bin Laden, who did not contest the claims. When asked about the mix-up, Visa representatives claimed “Osama, Obama… you try to keep them straight.”
Alexa: (She has an inquisitive look and Robert is waiting for her to speak.) So Obama used Osama’s credit card to make a donation to himself, and he was charged for it. That’s pretty clever. She looks proud of herself for figuring it out.
Robert: What? He looks genuinely confused. While Alexa goes on with the next story, Robert looks like he’s trying to figure out what she just said, then he realizes that she got it backwards.
Alexa: Our next story might be offensive for some viewers, especially those who claim that wake-boarding is torture. You may want to turn away.
Robert: You mean water-boarding. He rolls his eyes.
Alexa: She continues uninterrupted. Human rights advocates have criticized Senator McCain for his appearance in the latest Mountain Dew commercial. An ACLU spokesman said, “He’s promoting the absurd idea that water-boarding is a party activity.” She stresses the word Water.
The commercial shows young men doing skateboard tricks and bungee jumping, and Senator McCain undergoing water-boarding torture as he intravenously (mispronounced) enjoys an ice-cold Mt. Dew.
Picture 3 – Show a picture of McCain undergoing water-boarding torture. Alexa’s next line is just audio as the picture is being shown.
Initial feedback on the commercial has been positive. One teenager remarked “For an old dude, he can really take it!”
Robert: That’s going to be a good commercial. Sarcastic
Alexa: Actually, an intravenous Mountain Dew sounds really good right now. She looks to him for a response, but he rolls his eyes and starts with the next story.
Robert: The FDA has just released the results of a 12 month study with the San Francisco water supply. After doping the water with anti-depressants for the past year, officials are reporting that crime is down 20%. To help spur the economy, the FDA is also considering adding speed during the Christmas shopping season.
He turns to the side where a new person is seated.
Our correspondent from the FDA, John Drewberry, is here to help us make sense of this. Good to have you on the show John.
John Drewberry: It’s good to be here Robert, Alexa.
Robert: So tell us John, what implications does this study have for us? In the future, can we use tap water for our fish, or will they die because of all that’s in the water?
John: No need to worry about your fish Robert. They’ll be fine. In a moment we’ll show both of you how harmless it really is.
Robert: Well John, I have to admit that I’m very excited about this. One question I’m sure everyone will ask is about prescriptions? Will Americans need a prescription for Tap Water?
John: I’m glad you asked that. The new law has already been approved; I mean will be approved in the next couple of days. The President is expected to sign a bill that will nullify certain drug regulations. The target drugs will be determined by the cities participating in the program. Remember, the government knows what’s best for its citizens so there’s no need to worry. Now, let’s do our little experiment. I’ve brought two water samples. This first one is regular tap water, and this one is enhanced with 5 different drugs.
He places on the table 2 slightly discolored glasses of water and 2 normal glasses of water.
Alexa: Enhanced, I like the sound of that, like it’s really safe, and healthy.
John: I’m glad you see it that way Alexa. We do too. Why don’t you try them and see if you can tell the difference.
Alexa takes a drink of both of them and offers to Robert. Before taking a drink, he turns the glass away from the lipstick left on the glass.
Alexa: Wow, they taste exactly the same. Maybe there’s a slight color difference in the enhanced one, but I would never have noticed.
Robert: He speaks skeptically. These two glasses of water are different? This one is enhanced with safe and beneficial chemicals and this one isn’t? I would never have guessed.
John: There is absolutely nothing to be worried about. To be honest, I’m surprised we haven’t done this sooner.
Robert: I guess the last question is about funding. Who’s going to pay for this?
John: Let me assure you Robert that big pharma has had no influence on the program.
Robert: Aren’t you a board member of Pfizer?
John: Ahh (he fumbles for a moment) Let me answer your original question about funding. It will require only a small increase in your monthly water bill. It should be pretty transparent to the public.
Robert: (He looks doubtful now) Hmm. Thanks for coming in to explain this to us John. Keep us informed.
John: It’s good to be here again Robert. Alexa (he smiles when he turns to look at Alexa)
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Alexa continued: Welcome back to the World News Now with Alexa Perkins (smiles), and Bob (smile vanishes). Texas Prisoners on Death Row have filed a formal protest with the government. While unhappy with their current choice of either lethal injection or the electric chair, they want more options, such as hanging, firing squads, and even crucifixion. One environmentally-conscious convict has requested a solar-powered electric chair. While this would be a much longer and more agonizing way to die – he believes the energy savings would be worth it. Let’s see what he had to say.
Interview 1 – Death by solar power
Show a pre-recorded video of inmate asking for solar powered electric chair. He has the peace symbol Tattoo’d on his forehead.
“I feel really bad about all the electrical power required for my execution. That’s why I’m requesting a solar powered electric chair because the last thing I want on my conscience is knowing that I’m causing more pollution. The physician assured me that it would be as painless as the normal method, but would just take longer.”
Robert: How very noble of him.
Alexa: Another inmate requested death by beer, which he estimated at 12 six-packs of Budweiser.
Robert: On a less serious note, but almost as heartbreaking, downhearted protestors across the nation packed the streets in front of McDonald’s restaurants. They accuse the fast-food chain of discrimination against sad people. Let’s go to the field and see what they had to say.
Field reporter interviewing the happy meal protestors
“They’ve been offering Happy Meals for years. It’s about time they started offering Miserable meals. We’d like to see a Not-So-Happy meal featuring a day-old burger, some limp fries, a coke that’s gone flat, and maybe a Prozac pill for the prize. Is that too much to ask?”
“My therapist suggested I buy a Happy Meal to cheer me up, but after eating a few crispy fries, I felt like overdosing on Valium again. This is false advertising!”
In response to the protests, McDonald’s reps said they plan to offer an assortment of various Mood Meals, and will add a disclaimer on the Happy Meal stating that it has no psychotic effect and is not a replacement for anti-depressants.
Alexa: Don’t you just love happy meals Bob. (She pauses while thinking about them.)
Alexa: This next week, the first ever lawsuit against the United Church of Satan will be brought before the 4th district supreme court. The plaintiff claims that she was deliberately deceived and led astray. We’ll go now to an exclusive pre-court interview with those involved in the case.
Interview 2 – Church of Satan Interview with the Church of Satan lawyer, the little girl, her mother and lawyer being interviewed by a news anchor.
Robert: In celebrity news, Kirstie Alley, the self-proclaimed queen of weight loss, has officially terminated her contract with Jenny Craig and has become the new spokesperson for Dunkin’ Donuts. Kirstie says the new position is much more satisfying, exclaiming “Screw dieting! Bring on the Bear Claws!”
Alexa: Good for her. That must have taken a lot of courage.
Robert: Kirstie says she feels happy for the first time in years, and can’t believe she’s getting paid to eat instead of starve herself. Commercials will feature Kirstie gorging on donuts and flirting with cops, and the new company slogan will be “Donuts complete me.”
Alexa: Our next story may give some big time villains a reason to celebrate. In what appears to be a freak mid-air collision, Superman collided with Wonder Woman’s invisible jet today, resulting in a spectacular explosion and what we can only imagine is catastrophic damage to the jet. Fortunately we were able to acquire some excellent footage of the wreckage. Just look at the devastation.
Picture 4 – Show a picture of an empty area. While this is being shown, tell the rest of the story.
Alexa continued: Superman, who is in the middle of a bitter divorce with Wonder Woman, claims it was an accident and is not related to the divorce proceedings.
Interview 3 – Superman & Wonderwoman
Interview with Superman – he’s bitter and angry, talking about how Wonder Woman wants Wonder Boy, Wonder Dog, and the ice-cave, along with half his earnings.
Robert: And finally, we follow the tragic life of Lindsay Lohan, who stooped to a new low this week when she unveiled her own brand of Vodka. The new beverage is aptly named Firehead Red. It has a slight cayenne flavor and contains twice the alcohol level of regular vodka. Underage drinkers can sneak it in to bars and concerts because it will resemble a water bottle. She explains her marketing strategy as: “Teenage drinkers have just as much right to get smashed as you do!”. She’s also considering opening her own line of celebrity rehab centers. Quotes Lindsay “My friends and I all drink together… why shouldn’t we all rehab together?”
Alexa: That girl just doesn’t let life pull her down. She’s truly an inspiration. Well, that’s all we have for you tonight. On behalf of myself and the studio thanks for being with us and have a great week. I’m Alexa Perkins.
Robert: And I’m Robert Fuller. See you next week. Good night.
SCENE 8 – End Credits With the fight faintly audible in the background
SCENE 9 – 2 very depressed people eating a Not-So-Happy meal together. No Dialogue, but depressing music in the background, maybe 7 seconds.
We weren’t very successful but what a learning experience! Here are some takeaways:
- Don’t get too many people involved. Get only a few key people.
- When making funny videos, start small. We threw around several ideas before choosing any, but in the end we chose a monster of a project.
- After reading the script, I realized that my Mormon tainted views made some of it a little childish or silly. But hey, my kids think it’s funny!
- Don’t lose or forget to compile stuff! I’m hoping to find some of the footage some day, but it’s probably gone.