Task: Write a short piece titled “Comedian” but nobody can laugh!

by Nov 26, 2016

The challenge I was given was to write a piece titled “Comedian”, and for it to be anything other than funny. The opposite of funny is sad, or at least cringeworthy, so I went with sad. Here we meet “Bob”, a comedian at the very cusp of a comeback who has worked hard to change his very politically incorrect material and general hedonistic public image. Yesterday he was celebrating the pilot show recordings, which had gone very well.


A monologue by David Rayden

(Warning! Graphic content and language.) 

(Bob is pacing up and down, drinking from a bottle on the sideboard. He puts it down, and looks at it between drinks. It is a battle of wills; he is losing.)

(The phone rings)

Bob:     Hello! Oh thank god it’s you Frank. I thought it might be one of those bastard journalists again.

(listens…Doorbell rings – Bob looks back to it angrily)

Bob:     Only a quickie, to calm my nerves.


Bob:     Fuck the medication! Fuck the Doctors! They just fuck me up. (Inspiration) Hey! Couldn’t I blame the doctors……….the pills fucked me up?


Bob:     I know it’s bad, Frank! Don’t fucking tell me it’s bad. I’m the one neck deep in shit. Tell me the good news. The show…?


Bob:     They can’t! That’s my show! My fucking comeback show!


Bob:     Jim Stark! He’s not even funny!


Bob:     Alternative! Fucking alternative comedy. That’s not my audience. This is shit Frank, and you know it. I’ve cleaned up my act. Gone fucking “PC” like you said. Christ, It’s so clean Persil could sponsor it!


Bob:     That’s it, then!? Game over?


Bob:     Bastards! I’ll sue their fucking cocks off!

(listens…Doorbell rings – Bob looks back to it angrily)

Bob:     No Contracts!?? What the fuck do you mean no contracts? You’re my fucking agent!


Bob:     And you agreed to that?


Bob:     I’m a liability? Unstable! Bastards!…..and you’re a fucking bastard for agreeing!


Bob:     What do you mean you can’t control me anymore? Are you backing away?

So! It’s black and white! She’s a fourteen year old schoolgirl, and I’m fucked because I took her home from a nightclub shagged her, and gave her cocaine; even though she was up for all of it? The fact that so-called “professional door engineers” let her through as 18, every guy in the place drooled at her dirty dancing, not to mention the bar staff serving her fucking drinks all night, means fuck all!? I was the only one supposed to realise she was fucking fourteen.


Bob:     Et tu Brute! You’re a bastard Frank, just like the rest of them. You’re not dropping me. You’re fucking fired!

(Slams phone down. Doorbell rings again. Pause as tension in Bob really shows. Doorbell rings again. Bob runs to door screaming)

Bob:     No comment! No fucking comment! No fucking comment!

(out of the letterbox)

Bob:     D’ya hear me! No Fucking Comment! (Rips doorbell wires from wall screaming) No fucking comment!

Bob:     (Runs to window, opens it and screams) No fucking comment! (pulls window to. Pause. Quieter) No comment.        

(Turns slowly, head bowed, chanting) No Comment. No fucking comment.

(Repeats and slumps into the chair, crying) No comment………No Comment…….

(Pause. Bob is lost inside himself. He turns and looks at the whiskey bottle on the sideboard, then the medicine bottle. He reaches for the bottle of pills and, sarcastically)

Bob:     “You’ve got to take your medication Bob. It will help you.” (Pause and consider bottle of pills)

Bob:     I need all the help I can get. I need to stop hurting. (Swallows entire content of pill bottle. Stares at the whiskey and takes a long drink. Puts bottles down. Turns and slumps into chair.

Bob:     I used to be funny once. People laughed. I was somebody. Now I’m nobody. I just hurt people. Christ she’s not much older than my Kids. (Pause. Looks at phone Grabs phone in second attempt. Dials number)

Bob:     Hello! Is that Zoe?…..It’s Daddy!

No! Don’t get Mummy……..Oh! Hello Jenny, It’s Bob……Yes I know what the court said. I just needed to talk…….(It’s obvious Jenny has rung off, but Bob continues anyway)

Bob:     I just wanted to hear that I made you laugh once. That I wasn’t the joke.

I want to make you laugh again.

I wanted to hear my kids laugh one more time.

I wanted to be important to someone.

(Slumpimg, almost unconscious)

Tell them I was funny once.

Let them know I was a good man. That I was somebody.

(Almost lost as he loses consciousness)

I’ve forgotten how to be funny.

I’ve forgotten how to smile.

(Collapses. Drops phone)