The Worst-Case Scenario by Rob Dinsmoor

FADE IN ON:
TITLE: “ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF EVERY COMEDY WRITER.”
FADE TO:

INT. ASTORIA APARTMENT – NIGHT

The apartment is extremely cramped. The living room has a TV, sofa, and bookshelves on one end, and a huge desk and file cabinet crammed into the other end. Rob is sitting at a keyboard on the desk, typing intently, while Kari lies on the couch, smoking and reading.

KARI
Say, do you know I’ve always thought would make a good Chucklehead skit?

Rob looks up from his typing with a look of nervous anticipation.

KARI
It starts out with this very successful Broadway actor—I think Rick would be great for the part. And he’s eating out, he’s had a few drinks, and he pours his heart out to the waiter. It turns out he didn’t come to New York to be a big Broadway star. What he really wants is to wait tables. Get it?

ROB
(flatly)
Uh huh.

KARI
So, he finally arranges to be a bus boy for this waiter. Works really hard at being a bus boy. Learns the menu by heart, and sets the silverware with precision. Then one night, something happens.

ROB
The waiter breaks—

KARI
The waiter breaks his leg, and the bus boy has to fill in. And the restaurant owner notices him, and eventually he becomes the head waiter! Get it?

ROB
Uh huh.

KARI
It’s an ironic reversal of, you know, that cliché where the guy comes to New York to be a big star, but winds up waiting tables?

ROB
Uh huh.

KARI
And he becomes an understudy to a big star, and one night the star breaks his leg and that’s the understudy’s big break?

ROB
Uh huh.

KARI
What do you think?

ROB
Well, the premise is sort of clever, I guess, but you know it’s—

KARI
(annoyed)
It’s what?

ROB
It’s one-note. Once the audience gets the joke, the joke’s over. Either the premise has to build in unexpected ways, or it has to veer off into a totally different direction.

KARI
You’re just being a pill. If you wrote it, the audience would love it.

FADE TO:

INT. APARTMENT – NIGHT
Rob finishes typing, and then presses the print button. He takes the script out of the printer tray and hands it to Kari. Kari reads it and begins laughing.

KARI
See? This is great! I knew you could take this idea and run with it. Take it into your next meeting, and if they like it, you have to give me partial credit.

ROB
Okay.

FADE TO:
INT. PETER’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

It is a Chucklehead script meeting and everyone looks really, really tired. There are scripts lying all over the place, some empty beer cans, a couple of cigarette butts in some of the beer cans. Rob is just finishing reading the script, really trying to pitch it.

ROB
(singing, to the tune of “New York, New York”)
If I can waiter there, I can waiter anywhere. It’s up to you—New York! New York!

He throws out his hands and bows. There is total silence in the room.

DIRK
Okay. Comments? Someone start.

People’s eyes dance around the room at each other.

PETER
(dejectedly)
I’ll go. Rob, I have to say, this is really a “one note” sketch. I mean, once the audience gets the joke, the skit’s over—or I mean at least it should be.

ROB
Uh huh.

RUSSELL
(rubbing his eyes)
As soon as it started, I knew the waiter was going to break his leg. It was that obvious where that was going. The only question was how long it would take to get there, and the answer was way too long, if you ask me.

ROB
I know. In my next draft, I’ll see if I can find a way to make it build.

PETER
Well, I don’t think it’s really a matter of making it build. I mean, the whole idea–I hate to say it–it’s, well, lame. All you did is take a cliché and switch the traditional actor and waiter roles. So what? What’s your point?

ROB
Yeah.

DIRK
I guess what we’re trying to say, man, is don’t bother with the rewrite. Take the week off!

PETER
What we’re saying is don’t waste your time with this. You’re a creative guy—and this—well—the guy standing next to me on the subway platform could have come up with something better than this.

DIRK
Yeah, man. How many six packs did you down before you wrote this?

ROB
Well, thanks, everybody, for your input. I really appreciate it.

FADE TO BLACK.

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