July 21 Production Notes: Tribute to the Fallen Scenes

Yesterday we worked a revised, and shortened, running order. A full hour (what we ran last time, a figure that omits two songs) is a bit long for a sketch show, so four sketches were removed and one song, which we haven’t run at all yet, wasn’t included. The net result: 50 minutes.

But today’s post isn’t about what’s in the show. It’s about the sketches that got cut.

They’re not bad sketches, and they certainly could show up in other places. (At least a few of the sketches in this show were originally written for other things.) But in the event that they don’t, let us now pay tribute to them.

Farewell, The Gym. This one fell into sort of a special category. This and one other sketch utilize that old comic trope, the voice over. We really didn’t want to have two voice over scenes, so one of them had to go. This one had a bit of creepiness, but so does the other. This one had exercise, while the other has bowling, which is technically an exercise, so that’s a wash also. I think the deciding factor was that The Gym had a psychiatrist, which brings back bad memories. (It’s a psychiatrist’s job.)

Sayonara, Irritible Vowel Syndrome. This was one of the more dramatically rewritten sketches; its setting was relocated from a printing press’s type tray to a Scrabble bag. That change also made the title wholly inacurate; on the type tray, the vowels were irritible, while in the Scrabble board, it was the consonants that were ticked off. Sadly, the poor gramatical oddities that are valid words that have a “Q” but no “U” will now be lost to the world forever. (Unless you refer to one of the many web sites that list them.)

So long, Beauty Knows Pain. This beauty knows the pain of non-performance. It’s a shame, for everyone at this particular reunion has changed for the better, in just the way that they don’t at real reunions. With it cut from the show, Derick’s efforts at learning how to pronounce the word “decolette” were in vain.

Bye-bye, Betty Buchanan. This talk-show based wife-swap may have broken up Jake and Gloria, but I guess they got the last laugh. I think we can safely blame Oprah for this. Hopefully it will cause a giant feud with her, which will produce ample publicity for us and guarantee massive glorious success. That would be wonderful.

Pity we never met you, Bob. This innocuous-sounding song never made it into our rotation. A shame, as it is one of the few songs to contain the phrase “geosynchronous satellite” in a reasonably melodic way. The antihero of the song, an evil genius named Mr. Bad, will have to remain jealous of evil supergenius Bob for a while longer.

One final curiosity related to the cuts. Of the sketches that I wrote that made our final considerations, fully half made reference to the chemical element uranium. (This is hardly surprising. One of my personal life goals, immediately under “learn Esperanto,” is to become a nuclear power.) One of these references was in the first draft of Irritible Vowel Syndrome; this reference disappeared when the setting changed to the scrabble board and the letters changed from U, O, and G, to Q, F, and U (respectively). The second was in Bob, as he bemoans his defective centrifuge, which precludes uranium enrichment. The third reference to uranium, in a sketch that remains in the show, was dropped in a final revision for the hilarity of the ununs—the super-heavy radioactive chemical elements with names like ununbium and ununquadium that have only been created in labs, in quantities of a few atoms at a time. As a result, Front For Evil is now a uranium-free zone.

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