Telling A Joke
Setting: Blank stage.
Bob: O.K. O.K.! Rob, I'm going to tell you a joke!
Rob: Great! I love jokes. Shoot!
Bob: Yeah, I knew that! That's why I'm telling you one!
Rob: Great. What's the joke?
Bob: Right! O.K. O.K. Here's the joke...
Rob: The joke?
Bob: O.K. Right. The joke.
(pause, Rob coughs)
Bob: Alright, here goes. Ask me why I'm so funny?
Rob: Is that the joke?
Bob: No, no, no... you have to ask me why I'm so funny.
Rob: Why are you so funny?
Bob:(with no sense of timing at all) Timing.
(Rob looks at Bob as if the joke's not finished, raises his eyebrows, Bob is chuckling to himself, pause)
Rob: I... uh... o.k. That's the joke.
Bob: Yep. Get it?! Huh?
Rob: I think so...
Bob: O.K. O.K. I'll tell it again.
Rob: No, I don't think...
Bob: Don't worry, you'll get it this time!
Rob: I think I got...
Bob: No, no, no, ask me why I'm so funny!
Rob: (slight pause) Ummm... why are you so funny?
Rob: (slight chuckles) Right. Timing. I heard that.
Bob: Yeah, I love that joke!
Rob: Where'd you hear it?
Bob: My brother-in-law told it to me a few months ago.
Rob: Your brother-in-law? The comedian?
Bob: Yeah, that one.
Rob: I met him once at your place. I remember. He's hilarious.
Bob: Usually, but he told the joke all wrong.
Rob: This joke, the one you just told me?
Bob: Yeah, he'd say "Ask me why I'm so funny", like I did.
Bob: So I'd say "Why are you so funny?"
Bob: And he'd say "Timing!"
Rob: Yeah, like you did...
Bob: Except he'd say "Timing!" really loud, and he wouldn't wait for me to finish asking him why he's so funny!
Bob: Yeah, just cut me off before I was done doing what he told me to do.
Rob: (putting it together in his head, big smile forming, then small laughs, building) Ohhh! I get it!
Rob: The joke! I get it!
Bob: Yeah, you already said you did.
Rob: No, I mean I get why it's funny! (realizing too late that he just offended Bob)
Bob: (a little hurt) You laughed when I told it...
Rob: (trying to cover his stumble) Uhhh... yeah, yeah, because it's funny. And your joke was funny too!
Bob: Too? It should be! It's the same joke.
Rob: Ummm... welll... uh... (trying to think of a way out) Why don't we try this?
Rob: Why don't you ask me why I'm so funny?
Bob: Because I know the joke.
Bob: Why should I ask you why you're so funny? I know the joke; I just told it to you, twice.
Rob: I know, I know, I know. I want to try something to show you, uhh... I want to try something.
Rob: Just play along.... please?
Bob: Alright... why are you so funny?
Rob: (loudly and quickly, right after Bob says "you" in his line) Timing!!
Bob: You cut me off!
Rob: (laughing a bit, trying to convince Bob that it's better told this way) I know! That's the joke! Get it!
Bob: Yes! Except "timing" is supposed to come after I finish asking the question!
Rob: No, no, no, no, no! See, you interrupt the person asking the question, because the word "timing" indicates that humor is more about when and how things are said, rather than the exact words. See?
Bob: But then no one hears the end of the question!
Rob: Ahh, but they already know what the question will be!
Rob: Yes, because the joke starts with the first person telling the second person to ask him why he's so funny!
Bob: No it doesn't! The joke starts when the first person asks the other person why he's so funny.
Rob: Listen, ummm... Let's try it again!
Bob: O.K. Ask me why I'm so funny.
Rob: No, no, no. You ask me why I'm so funny.
Bob: No! You're not funny! You can't even tell this simple joke right!
Rob: Yes, I can! I'm telling it the way it's supposed to be told, Bob!
Bob: No you're not! I'm not playing along with your destruction of a great joke!!
Rob: Ahh... c'mon. Trust me, you'll get it.... even more... this time.
Bob: No!! "Timing" has to come after the question!!
Rob: (thinks for moment) Just try it...
Rob: (he's really dying to tell what is now his favorite joke) Please!
Bob: (louder, very forceful) No!! Drop it!!
Rob: Just once!!
Bob: (extremely loudly and quickly) Fine!!! Whyareyousofunny!!!
(Rob looks at Bob, holding in immense glee and some barely contained laughter, an angry Bob stares back, waits for the punch line, is confused, then gets even more angry, hold pose, direct connection between actors, like an explosion waiting to happen, long pause, lights start to fade, Bob turns away quickly, as soon as Bob starts to turn away...)
(lights out immediately, maybe a glimpse of Bob turning back toward Rob)