Fifteen years ago, back when I had a fairly popular blog (Mark Vonnegut once commented on it!), I published the following goof of a sketch. I had started making fun of a bad sketch group I had watched at an improv theatre, and it quickly turned into a goof on the sort of earnest entertainment-with-a-message groups that would come around to the NYC public schools I attended as a child, in the hopes of making a difference, or at least civilizing us. It’s a thing I enjoy doing quite a bit.
A few months after I published it, I got an e-mail from an AA group in the midwest, asking for permission to perform it. I was as baffled then as I am now. Of course, I gave them permission. I had asked for a video of the sketch, but I guess as the second “A” stands for “Anonymous,” that wouldn’t have been okay.
I would give anything to have seen a live production of “Count Drinkula.” If time travel technology is ever developed and perfected, I’m going to go and sit front row center. Multiple time.
SEVENTEEN YOUNG MEN AND ONE WOMAN, in matching red shirts, take the stage. All have that slightly-manic wide grin that sketch performers wear in the hopes that the audience doesn’t hate them.
THE LEADER OF THE SKETCH GROUP stands in front and addresses the audience.
LEADER: Ladies and gentlemen, we’re Skit Row, and we’re here at your college/community center/rehab clinic to impart a sense of positivity – through comedy!
BLOND WOMAN: Save the negatives for the photo lab.
LEADER: Exactly, Sheila! You know, I think that we’ve all been overcome by temptation in our pasts. Addiction.
TOO CHEERFUL TALL GUY WHO TOOK A LOT OF IMPROV CLASSES AND IS OVERLY PHYSICAL: I might as well face it, I’m addicted to love.
Skit Row laughs.
The Leader laughs for exactly five seconds, then cuts himself off with a “serious” look again.
LEADER: But seriously, battling addiction is no joke. It can turn you into a Dr. Jeckyl –
SHORT FAT GUY : And Mr. Heckyl.
LEADER: Right. That’s why our first sketch is an attempt to educate, and entertain. You might say we’re about to edutain you. It’s called, “Count Drinkula.” We take you now to an alley outside a bar.
LIGHTS DOWN, THEN UP
The Tall Guy weaves across STAGE RIGHT. “How Dry I am” plays in the background.
TALL GUY: Now that was some good booze. Now all I have to do is find my car and drive home.
He peers at nothing.
TALL GUY: Hey Mr. Pink Elephant, who are you looking at?
He takes a swing at thing air and ends up spinning around a couple of times. He falls down and scratches his head.
The Leader, now dressed as DRACULA, steps in STAGE LEFT. “How Dry I Am” plays again.
LEADER (to audience, in bad Bela Lugosi accent): Ah, the children of the night, what beautiful music they make.
(to the Tall Guy)
Blah blah blah. I vant to suck your –
TALL GUY: Hey, I’m not that drunk!
LEADER: Blood. I was going to say blood.
TALL GUY: Who are you?
LEADER: I am Count Drinkula, and I suck the blood of alcoholics.
TALL GUY: It sounds like you have a drinking problem.
DRINKULA: I don’t have a drinking problem. I can drink okay.
TALL GUY: No, I mean it sounds like you’re an alcoholic.
DRINKULA: But I only drink the blood of alcoholics.
TALL GUY: Hey, if you can be a second-hand smoker, why not a second-hand drinker?
DRINKULA: But what can I do?
TALL GUY: Well, you’ve accomplished the first step – admitting that you have a problem. How about an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting?
DRINKULA: Are there meetings for monsters like me?
TALL GUY: Please, there are no monsters n the world – except the Jews.
DRINKULA: Thanks. I think I will find an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
Much muffled swearing and scraping of chairs.
Lights up on a circle of a half-dozen chairs. The Leader is standing CENTER STAGE
LEADER: Now, we’re in the basement of a church.
Enter the BLOND WOMAN, a FAT GUY WRAPPED IN TOILET PAPER, A SKINNY GUY with bolts coming out of his neck scratching himself, and a GUY WH OSAYS HE ISN’T GAY AND THEN HE DOES IMPROV AND ALL HIS CHARACTERS END UP TRYING TO HAVE SEX WITH THE OTHER GUYS ONSTAGE (in a wig and fathered boa), and a couple of other people.
BLOND: Well, I’d like to welcome you to this week’s meeting. We have a guest – where is he?
She makes a big show of looking around, walks offstage and drags the Leader onstage.
BLOND WOMAN: Why don’t we all introduce ourselves?
DRINKULA: My name is Count Drinkula, and I’m – an alcoholic.
ALL: Hi Count Drinkula.
The SKINNY GUY stands.
SKINNY GUY: Me name am Crack-enstein. Me am addicted to crack. And love. Which me am sell for more crack.
ALL: Hi, Crack-enstein.
Skinny Guy sits. The Short Fat Guy stands.
FAT GUY: I’m the Mumm-eats. I’m an overeater. I am wrapped in toilet paper because i’m a mummy – and I tend to be a blogger.
ALL: Hi, Mumm-eats.
He sits. The Gay Guy stands.
THE NOT-GAY-I-SWEAR GUY: I’m a Cher-wolf. Every full moon I turn into Cher.
(doing the worst Cher impression I’ve ever heard)
I’ve got you to walk with me, I’ve got you to talk with me. I’ve got you to hold my hand –
ALL make a big show of putting their hands over their ears.
BLOND WOMAN: Now that’s monstrous!
LEADER: You know, I thought I was a freak because I had a drinking problem. But after hearing THAT, I feel normal.
BLOND WOMAN: Yes, over sixteen million Americans have a degree of a drinking problem.
LEADER: It turns out I’m only a horrible freak because I’m a vampire.
CRACKENSTEIN: That am spirit!
He slaps the LEADER on the back, knocking him down.
LEADER: Thanks. And I have someone else to thank.
He stands up, puts his cape over his face, and runs off.
More scraping of chairs as the stage is reset.
The Tall Guy is back, lying Stage Right. The Leader is center stage.
LEADER: Now we’re back outside the bar.
He turns to the Tall Guy.
LEADER: I guess I owe you a debt of gratitude. You really saved my life. Or I guess, unlife. Is there any way I could repay you?
Tall Guy makes a big show of thinking, so does the Leader. At the same time, they both make a show of having “inspiration” strike. They raise their forefingers.
Scraping of chairs.
All are sitting in the same positions.
The Leader is standing in the middle of the group.
LEADER:(to the audience) We’re back in the church basement.
(to the group)
I have a newcomer –
He makes a big show of looking around, and runs offstage and drags the Tall Guy back onstage.
CRACKENSTEIN: What am that?
LEADER: That’s a human. And an alcoholic.
BLOND WOMAN: Let’s all introduce ourselves.
ATOM BOMB FALLS ON THE THEATER.