copyright © 2003 Sherwood Ross

MR. MEDIOCRE  2003 by Sherwood Ross

 

Cast 

 

Ron Wackey, Game Show Host

Mort Mediocre, contestant

 

(Bare Stage.  Smiling announcer with microphone strides onto stage center from left.)

 

Ron

 

Hi! And welcome to another thrilling episode of our new network game show, Hedge Your Bets! The game show for people who would rather walk away with something, even if it ain't a hell of a lot! First, a word from our sponsors, the makers of Instant Tapioca. Folks, do you get tired of eating spoon after spoon of waist-fattening ice cream? Do you realize one of the ingredients in ice cream is gum Arabic? That's right, Arabic! How do you feel about sucking something Arabic in your mouth right now? Yuch! Disgusting, isn't it? So, isn't it time you tried something new, even if, as desserts go, it's not really all that great? Yes, I'm talking about tapioca, the grandmother treat. You never actually could call it sensational. I mean, there were always lots of gelatinous gunk floating around the tapioca bubbles, but don't you remember how you shlurped it down just the same. These days, Mom comes home tired from work and you know she'd make tapioca every night of the week but it just takes too damned long. That's why our sponsor wants you to know about INSTANT Tapioca. So quick. So easy! Just follow the simple directions. First, pour in bowl, mix with water -- and let sit for 20 minutes. Next, bring to boil,10 minutes. Next: Pour and let sit for thirty minutes. And that's all there is to it! One hour later you've got Instant tapioca! The Grandmother treat!

 

(Wackey sings to the tone of Oleanna)

 

Instant tapioca! Instant tapio-a-ca

Instant tappy, tap tap tappy, instant tapio-a-ca

It's not great but it's not bad

We ate when it was all we had

Instant tappy, tap tap tappy, instant tap-i-o-a-ca!

 

And now, do we have a volunteer contestant from our studio audience?  Ah, yes, sir, won't you please come up to the stage. (Mort steps onto the stage.) Could you please state your name?

 

            Mort

 

Mort.

 

            Ron

 

Mort who?

            Mort

 

Mediocre.

 

            Ron

 

That's your last name?

 

            Mort

 

Actually, I'm Morton M. Mediocre.

 

            Ron

 

How unusual. What does the middle “M” stand for?

 

            Mort

 

Mediocre. It stands for mediocre, too. I'm very very mediocre.

 

            Ron

 

So your whole name is Morton Mediocre Mediocre?

 

            Mort

 

Yeah. My folks didn't want me to get my hopes up.

 

            Ron

 

Well, Mort, you've certainly come to the right game show! Chances of you winning anything on Hedge Your Bets are nearly nil! This is the only game show where, if you win, you can wake up tomorrow still living on welfare.

 

            Mort

 

Well, at least I won't have to pay a lot of taxes on the money!

 

            Ron

 

Right you are! And you can't win enough to go on a decent spree, either!

 

            Mort

 

I'm so, uh, so, so so-

 

            Ron

 

So so? Is that what you were going to say, so so?

 

            Mort

 

I think so. I'm not sure.

 

            Ron

 

Uh, you tend not to be sure of yourself, is that correct?

 

            Mort

 

I guess. (Beat)  People say I should see an analyst. (Beat) But when I look in the phone book I can't decide which one.

 

            Ron

 

You're mediocre at that, too, are you? Well, never you mind. You have ten dollars to start with, so how much of that would you like to wager on your first question?

 

            Mort

 

What's the category?

 

            Ron

 

There they are! Up on the wall! Twenty-five choices, from our list of famous failures.

 

            Mort

 

Uh, I'm sorry. I don't know which failure to select. They all look so terrific.

 

            Ron

 

Oh, of course you don't. Well, why not try “forgotten automobiles”?

 

            Mort

 

I guess one failure's as good as another.

 

 

 

 

            Ron

 

For five dollars, the name of which car manufactured by Ford Motor Company became synonymous with failure?

            Mort

 

Edsel?

 

            Ron

 

Edsel is right! Congratulations! You have fifteen bucks!

 

            Mort

 

Wow! I'm so, uh, so—

 

            Ron

 

Happy? Were you going to say “happy”?

 

            Mort

 

Well, not exactly. I mean, five bucks ain't a whole lot to be happy over.

 

            Ron

 

Anyway, you've got fifteen dollars now. You can wager up to seven dollars and fifty cents on the next question. How about it?

 

            Mort

 

Could I just wager five dollars?  That way, if I lose I can still walk out with your ten spot.

 

            Ron

 

Of course. And the category?

 

            Mort

 

Oh, suppose I try the -  uh –

 

            Ron

 

Yes?

 

 

            Mort

 

Uh, the, the ---

            Ron

 

Category. What's your category?

 

            Mort

 

Uh, uh—

 

            Ron

 

Oh, why not try “Lost Cities?”

 

            Mort

 

(shrugs) Okay, I suppose.

 

            Ron

 

For five dollars, what famous city is said to lie at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean?

 

            Mort

 

New York?

 

            Ron

 

I am so sorry! The correct answer is (beat) Baltimore! Baltimore, Maryland, disappeared from view two years ago. Don't you remember President Bush's Commission on Global Warming investigated and concluded there never was any city of Baltimore? Baltimore was a myth! Ah, well, at any rate, collect your ten dollars as you leave and here's your free package of Grandma's treat, INSTANT TAPIOCA! (Mort declines the package.)

 

            Mort

 

No thanks! I ain't gonna eat that shit. I may be mediocre, but I'm not stupid!

             

            Ron

 

But, but, why not?

 

            Mort

 

What do you think my grandmother died of?   BLACKOUT

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