I’ve meant to post this script for a long time. In business school I wrote a script that ended up in Follies, Columbia Business School’s student-run sketch comedy and musical production at the end of each semester.
In my time there, Follies produced some of the best sketch comedy and musicals, including Every Breath Bernanke Takes, which got us press and a letter from the White House.
The sketch I wrote ended up a very funny piece. Getting to be on stage for a piece I wrote, including a line or two that got the 500 people in the audience to laugh on cue, with the type of laugh — I don’t know of anything that made me feel better than those moments and the hour afterward.
I had to call my actor friends to find out more about the feeling of helping deliver killer lines like that. It turns our performing on stage can bring you that joy.
I love performing. It makes me nervous and I don’t have training, but I love it.
Anyway, here’s the script the team and I wrote. It has a few inside jokes, but it should mostly make sense. I don’t know if anyone will get it. but it was one of my proudest moments.
Non-Native English Speakers
Script/costume captain: Carrie Shuchart
PROFESSOR: Brian Matthews
MAO: Eddie Chan
LISA: Carrie Shuchart
JAVIER: Jorge Villen
SOPHIA: Helena Plater-Zyberk
AFRICAN MAN 1: Martin Andersons
AFRICAN MAN 2: Josh Spodek
PROFESSOR stands just left of center stage. SOPHIA, JAVIER, MAO, JOHN, and LISA are seated in two rows far to stage right (JAVIER and LISA left-to-right in front row; MAO and SOPHIA left-to-right in back row).
That was an excellent point. I must say, I continue to be impressed with Columbia’s global perspective! Does anyone want to expand on that last comment?
<Long string of stuff in Chinese> Porter’s Five Forces
(To PROFESSOR) I couldn’t understand what he said. (To MAO) Could you repeat that?
Honestly, Lisa, that’s the fifth time this class you’ve asked for a comment to be repeated.
Los monos son el saltar de mis ojos. Mi perro puede batir encima de su perro. Yo quero Taco Bell.
Voulez vou coucher avec moi? Souffle?
Professor, I don’t understand what they are saying.
Honestly, Lisa, why don’t you try adding constructive comments to the discussion?
[In loud and frustrated voice] I would, but they’re not speaking English! Why don’t they speak English?! [To JAVIER] Did you even take the TOEFL?
[Removes shoe and points at toe, confused] Toe? [Rubs tummy] Full?
Enough, Lisa! Let’s get back to our discussion.
Les singes sont sauter de mes yeux. Mon chien peut battre vers le haut de votre chien du opportunity cost.
Los hocicos prueban mejor que los oídos o el filete, especialmente cuando usted los sazona con Clarkson Lumber.
Okay, great discussion today. [Glaring at Lisa] I’m glad some of you are catching on.
LISA flips off PROFESSOR.
Remember: your study groups have fifteen-page papers due Monday.
LISA stands and moves in front of chairs, taking out cell phone and placing a call. JAVIER, SOPHIA, and MAO stand and move to stage left, arranging themselves with SOPHIA furthest stage left and JAVIER closest to center stage. PROFESSOR exits stage left.
[Into phone] Hi, honey. This class just frustrates the Hell outta me. [Pause] Something is up with my study group! They follow along in class but not when I ask them something. [Pause] At least Javier agreed to have most of the assignment ready for me to review today.
[to SOPHIA] Hey babe, great comment you made in class.
Thanks, dude. I studied this stuff undergrad.
Hey, are you guys going on the Chazen trip to Vegas this weekend?
Of course, bro. Isn’t it awesome how we convinced Chazen that Vegas was foreign to us…
…and got them to pay for the flight and gambling money?
It’ll be even better than South Beach last week!
But, what about the assignment?
Don’t worry. I’ll take care of that.
LISA hangs up phone and meets JAVIER center stage.
Javier, how did you do with your part of the assignment?
The assignment due Monday. Can you send me the first ten pages?
Que? No se. [in bad accent] Assignment?
[Gesticulating strongly, almost angry] You [pointing at Javier] said you would write [making writing motion] ten pages [holding up ten fingers] by today.
[Confusedly repeats LISA’s gesticulations back to LISA] Cada uno sabe que soy un árbol peludo o una cosa anaranjada espinosa.
Oh no. This can’t be! How could he not’ve understood to do the homework?
AFRICAN MAN 1 and AFRICAN MAN 2 enter from stage right, clicking loudly to each other as they pass LISA, and approach MAO.
African Man 1
[To MAO] Hey man. You down for Vegas this weekend?
With Chazen paying for it? Hells yes!
AFRICAN MAN 1 and AFRICAN MAN 2 exit stage left.
[To MAO] Wait, what did you say to him?
We’re doomed. Now, I have to do the whole thing this weekend by myself.
[in Spanish] Sucker!
I’ve had it! I’m going to the professor!
JAVIER rejoins SOPHIA and MAO stage left. PROFESSOR enters from stage left and meets LISA at center stage.
[To Professor] Professor, we need an extension for this assignment. My group is having trouble.
I can’t meddle in the affairs of a study group. Your past assignments have been fine.
That’s because I’m doing all of the work!
I’ll be working hard all weekend too, so I understand. I’m sure you’ll do great.
PROFESSOR shrugs and turns towards stage left.
Lisa, while fuming, exits stage right. PROFESSOR approaches JAVIER.
[To Javier] Waddup, Javy! Thanks for the airfare and gambling money for Vegas.
Anytime, bro. This trip’s gonna be even better than South Beach!
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book