The Last Laugh by Michael G Wilmot


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This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent


CHARACTERS

Randy (M) A children's party clown

Norma (F) Randy's wife, co-owner of Hinata Gardens Restaurant

Phyllis (F) Friend of Norma and Randy, co-owner of Hinata Gardens

SETTING

An apartment in a three floor walk up

The stage has a living room set with a half wall
dividing the living room and the kitchen. The living
room is furnished in ordinary living room furniture
There is a couch and two end tables with a cordless
phone on one of the tables. There is a TV, but the
screen is not visible to the audience. There is a hall
leading to the bedrooms stage right and the door to the
exterior hall is in the upstage left living room wall.
There is a door to a closet on the stage left wall.
There is a large salami, some celery stalks and a loaf
of bread on the kitchen counter. These may or may not be
visible to the audience depending on the height or
placement of the half wall.

ACT ONE

It's one o'clock Sunday morning. The living area is
illuminated only by the flickering glow of the
television set. The kitchen area is in darkness. The end of a
television newscast is heard.

TV V/O: "In other news, the vote on the proposed tax hike
has effectively split Peytonville city council
delaying their decision until their next meeting a
week from Monday. And this just in, the Peytonville
Pouncer has struck again, another victim was found
just one hour ago under a railway trestle with the
Pouncer's calling card in his shirt pocket. The
calling card, as in the previous three incidents, was
simply a business card containing only the words
"You're Welcome". The latest victim is Tony Scarpetti,
a man known to police as "Big Tony" who was recently
acquitted of drug trafficking charges when all
witnesses mysteriously disappeared. This brings to
four, the number of victims attributed to the
The Last Laugh Wilmot- 519-932-0342 2
Peytonville Pouncer over the last twelve months.
Police have no leads. We'll bring you the latest
developments in just under five hours on our six am
newscast. And that's the news. Coming up next, an
encore broadcast of yesterday evenings Peytonville All
Stars ball game."

SFX from TV set: a sports crowd cheering

Game Anncr: (on TV) "Ladies and gentlemen, the National
Anthem"

As the National Anthem (instrumental version) plays, lights
slowly up on the kitchen to reveal RANDY in a
clown costume including mask (Randy can wear clown make-up
instead of the mask if so desired) standing at the kitchen
counter. One hand is behind his back. As the Anthem
continues to be heard from the television set, he slowly,
menacingly, reveals the hand behind his back is holding a
large knife. He holds the knife up, looks at it for a short
time. His gaze shifts to the salami on the counter. He
raises the knife…. then starts to cut slices from the
salami. NORMA enters from the hallway stage right. She is
wearing a bathrobe. She turns off the TV.

NORMA: If you're going to roll in after midnight at least
do it quietly.

Randy moves the mask up on top of his head

RANDY: I was listening to that.

NORMA: What, were you singing along?

RANDY: I only do that at ball games.

NORMA: Why are you still wearing that?

RANDY: (ignoring the question)I called you for a ride home
an hour ago, where were you?

NORMA: Phyllis and I hung out after work and had a couple
of drinks.

RANDY: Are you sure that's all she had? A couple?

NORMA: You'd drink too if you were her.

RANDY: It's been over a year now, she needs a new
girlfriend.

NORMA: I don't think she drinks because of Brenda.

RANDY: Still, I worry about her. She'll probably call us at
three a.m. crying her eyes out.

NORMA: You know very well she has nobody else to call.
Besides, she's a chef, she's allowed to be temperamental.

RANDY: Her husband murdered her girlfriend, I think that's
enough reason by itself. We need to spend more time with her.

NORMA: Glad you mentioned that, we're going to her place for
dinner tomorrow evening.

(Randy enters living room area)

RANDY: Both of us? I'm actually invited? It's usually just
the two of you.

NORMA: Because you don't like Japanese food!

RANDY: Just once she can't make a nice prime rib?

NORMA: She's a trained Japanese chef, what do you expect her
to make.

RANDY: So all she can cook is that weird tiny food?

NORMA: Don't you dare call it that tomorrow night! People pay
top dollar for that at the restaurant.

RANDY: Then she should sell it to those people. Tell her to
come here and I'll make lasagna. She loves my lasagna.

NORMA: I've already told her we're coming, so quit complaining
and maybe you'll actually enjoy it.

RANDY: What I do enjoy is a good old salami sandwich on rye
with deli mustard and I happen to have one half made.
You want one?

NORMA: No, not this time of night!

RANDY: Are you sure, the salami's already sliced.

NORMA: Yes I'm sure, and you don't want one either.

RANDY: I don't?

NORMA: No you don't.

RANDY: (pointing the knife at Norma) Don't tell me what I can
or can't eat, I'm a grown man!

NORMA: Stop waving that thing around!

Norma snatches the knife out of his hand and puts it on an
end table.

NORMA: Eat that sandwich and you'll be up all night
complaining of heartburn! And why didn't you change
before you came home?

RANDY: I didn't have a change room.

NORMA: Not again! You have to put a private change room in
every contract. Kids don't need to walk in on a half
naked clown, there's no therapy for that kind of
trauma.

RANDY: They wouldn't buzz me into the building unless I was
in costume, so I had to change in a public washroom.
I'm changing in the middle cubicle with a guy on one
side of me groaning and a guy on the other side of me
singing "I'm a Little Teapot"!

NORMA: Ahh, the glamour of showbiz. Tomorrow, we're going to
re-write your contract and make sure you have a change
room. Now sit down, I'll make you a sandwich.

RANDY: I thought it would give me heartburn?

NORMA: The way you make it yes, the way I make it, no.

RANDY: So no salami, no deli mustard?

NORMA: Lettuce or cucumber.

RANDY: What goes with the lettuce?

NORMA: Nothing. It's after midnight, your stomach will thank me.

RANDY: My stomach doesn't even know who you are, I've never
mentioned you. I want salami.

NORMA: Well you can't have salami. Lettuce or cucumber.

RANDY: No. No lettuce… no cucumber. What kind of a man eats
a salad sandwich? What kind of man can't control his
own midnight snack? I'll tell what kind of man, a man
who doesn't command respect, that's what kind of a
man! Nobody's going to look at me and say "There goes
Randy, the salad sandwich eater!" If you wrap lettuce
in bread and eat it, you might as well put a big
sign on your back that says "I am not a man!" No
way, you're not doing that to me, I'll put what the
hell I want in my sandwich and they can laugh out the
other side of their smarmy, wise ass faces! They're
gonna rue the day they messed with me! So don't you
try to feed me salad sandwiches!

NORMA: (pause) Where the hell did that come from?

RANDY: Why can't I have salami!!??

NORMA: Because you'll wake up in two hours thinking you're
having a heart attack!

RANDY: Fine, I won't have anything and I'll wake up in two
hours dead from starvation.

NORMA: What is wrong with you?

RANDY: (pause) They stole my clothes.

NORMA: Who did?

RANDY: The kids.

NORMA: When?

RANDY: Tonight.

NORMA: You let kids at a sleep over party steal your clothes?

RANDY: Those "kids" turned out to be university students.
They told me it was a sleep over party for eight year
olds because they knew I wouldn't come if I knew the truth.

NORMA: Why would they want a clown?

RANDY: They called it "ironic".

NORMA: And they stole your clothes?

RANDY: They took off down the hallway with them. You try
chasing somebody in clown shoes. It was the funniest
thing I did all night.

NORMA: But why would they do that?

RANDY: Because they're assholes, Norma. They had me making
obscene balloon animals all night. I thought if I did
what they wanted everything would be fine, so what did
I do? I swallowed my dignity and went along with
their little games only to be chased out of the
building with a fire extinguisher at the end of the night.

NORMA: Did they at least pay you?

RANDY: With twenty dollar bills folded into paper airplanes
and tossed off the balcony. I lost one of them when it
landed in the parking lot dumpster. I have my limits.

NORMA: We're going back there right now.

RANDY: The clown's wife drags him back to retrieve his
pants. How's that going to look? Besides, they tossed
them down the garbage chute, I'll go back in the
morning when the super opens the utility room.

NORMA: People have no respect for clowns anymore.

RANDY: There's a beautiful history behind this… Emmett
Kelly and all the great circus clowns. Buster Keaton,
Charlie Chaplin, Red Skelton, they were all clowns.

NORMA: But you're not Buster Keaton, you're not Emmett Kelly.
You're Daffy Dumpling. People will have to grow to respect you.

RANDY: When? It's been ten years Norma! Ten years since I
quit the Insurance Agency, what the hell was I thinking?

NORMA: Well I quit law school didn't I?

RANDY: That was a long time ago. Besides, you quit for a
good reason.

NORMA: I could have stayed and maybe made a difference but
I didn't, did I.

RANDY: You saw that smart lawyers were always going to get
criminals off on technicalities and followed your
conscience. Why did I quit? I wanted to be a clown.

NORMA: You quit to pursue your dream.

RANDY: And you quit because you couldn't pursue your dream.
NORMA: Life has a way of working out.

RANDY: For you it did, you have the restaurant. What do I
have? Five pairs of floppy shoes, a clown suit and a
lifetime supply of skinny balloons! I should have
stayed at the Agency.

NORMA: Then you'd be a sad miserable person working in an
office every day.

RANDY: Let me work at Hinata Gardens with you and Phyllis.

NORMA: Then you'd be a sad, miserable person working in a
Japanese restaurant every day. I didn't marry you to
make you miserable.

A pause while Randy and Norma look at each other. Randy
obviously wants to say something

NORMA: (holding up the knife) Don't say it!

RANDY: Come on, we all get along great!

NORMA: You can't, there aren't any openings.
Norma puts the knife back on the end table

RANDY: Why can't I do what Phyllis's husband did at the
restaurant?

NORMA: After what he did, do you really want to be associated
in any way with that man? Really?

RANDY: I won't do exactly what he did…

NORMA: You mean you won't murder Phyllis's new lover then
disappear out of the country with your lover?

RANDY: Why did he have to kill Brenda?

NORMA: If he's ever caught maybe we'll find out.

RANDY: Wait a minute, new lover? Phyllis has a new girlfriend?

NORMA: I didn't say that… did I?

RANDY: A new boyfriend?

NORMA: Why would she have a new boyfriend?

RANDY: Well, her gate does swing both ways…

NORMA: Does that turn you on?

RANDY: I can't say it turns me off…

NORMA: So… Phyllis's new boyfriend, is that the job you want
to apply for?

RANDY: Do I have to resign my current position?

NORMA: Not necessarily.

RANDY: Now, you're just teasing me.

NORMA: I love both of you she loves both of us

RANDY: Maybe I should start taking my vitamins

NORMA: Now you're teasing me.

RANDY: So we just have to figure out who is teasing whom.

NORMA: Maybe we'll never know…

RANDY: Oh I get it… nice distraction technique. Let's get
back to you giving me a real job at the restaurant.

NORMA: It's to distract you from trying to fill a
non-existent opening.

RANDY: Come on, you guys own the place, you can make an
opening!

NORMA: You are not working at the restaurant, end of story.
Phyllis loves you, I love you, but we don't want to work
with you. Besides, that's not what you really want and
you know it.

RANDY: I know, I know. But it's been getting harder every day
to put up with all the assholes. I just want to be
taken seriously, is that too much to ask?

NORMA: Often, what we want doesn't come easily. But if this
is your true calling, you'll prove the assholes wrong.

RANDY: You're right. I was born to do this. I love this.

NORMA: Well?

RANDY: I'm not going to let anybody ruin this for me. It's
time for Plan B.

NORMA: What was Plan A?

RANDY: You giving me a job at the restaurant.

NORMA: Luckily, you have a Plan B.

RANDY: Yep, I'm going to show those idiots who stole my
clothes they screwed with the wrong clown.

NORMA: Sounds ominous.

RANDY: Ominous is just the beginning.

He picks up the knife

They're going to come face to face with one ugly, pissed off clown.

NORMA: (taking the knife from him) I don't suppose you have a
Plan C.

RANDY: I have to do something!

NORMA: Who says?

RANDY: I do! I'm finished being pushed around, they don't know
who they messed with.

NORMA: You have their names?

RANDY: No.

NORMA: So they don't know who they messed with and you don't
know who it is who messed with you. Sounds like a good start.

RANDY: That doesn't matter, I know the apartment number. Now,
they're on my list.

NORMA: Your what?

RANDY: My list. For the last couple of years I've been
keeping a list of everybody who's crossed me and
now, it's payback time. Oh yeah, this has been
building for a while. Nobody shows me any respect

NORMA: I respect you.

RANDY: Really? What do you say when people ask what I do for a
living? Huh?.. .what?

NORMA: (pause) Early years entertainer.

RANDY: I rest my case.

NORMA: I'm not embarrassed by it, it's just that some people
can't hear the word "clown" and still respect the
artistry. But the kids Randy, the kids love you.

RANDY: I know. Why do you think I've put up with it so long.

NORMA: Because you're a sweet and caring man who loves to
make children laugh.

RANDY: The kids laugh with me but the grown-ups laugh at me.

NORMA: Pay no attention to them.

RANDY: Well I have been paying attention and I'm gonna take
care of everyone on the list.

NORMA: Is this my sweet and caring man talking?

RANDY: This is your man who's going to start standing up for
himself talking.

NORMA: And just how do you plan on doing that?

RANDY: You've heard of the Peytonville Pouncer?

NORMA: Uhhh, of course. Why?

RANDY: Bingo!

NORMA: Bingo? What the hell does that mean?

RANDY: I mean… "Bingo"!

NORMA: I still have no idea what you're talking about.

RANDY: I mean "Bingo!" as in "the light bulb goes on", as in
"inspiration strikes"!

NORMA: You're inspired by the Peytonville Pouncer!?

RANDY: Exactly! If he can do it, so can I!

[end of extract]



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