THE SWEET SMELL OF CESS (old comedy sketch)

Today's script was written as an exercise in style, I was going for the pace and self-importance of Ernest Lehman's The Sweet Smell of Success.  For better or worse, this sketch was never produced. Photograph by Herman Yung.


(E.G. KREELY, walks out onto his Penthouse balcony.  KREELY wears a smoking jacket and holds a drink.  He surveys the city like a King overlooks his Kingdom.)

KREELY: God-damn, will you look at this beautiful, god-awful city.  I hate it.  And I love it.  I’m complicated that way.

(CHAUNCY walks out of the shadows)

CHAUNCY: Yes, Kreely, you’re quite the enigma.

KREELY: (still looking outward) Chauncy, when I invite a guest to my penthouse I don’t expect him to call me an ass-cleansing solution.

CHAUNCY: That’s an enema, Kreely.

KREELY: Come again, Chauncy… I must’ve misunderstood.

CHAUNCY: (catching on) I said “I apologize”

KREELY: (turns, smiling) Apology accepted.  You’ll find I can be a forgiving millionaire.  Because, believe it or not, I grew up on the streets of those slums.

CHAUNCY: One would never believe it.

KREELY: Now, can I get you another Colt 45?

CHAUNCY: No, thank you.

KREELY: Honey bar-b-cue corn chips?

CHAUNCY: No.  Thanks.

KREELY: Credit card with a seemingly-low interest-rate?

CHAUNCY: No.  I was hoping we could discuss business.

KREELY: All in good time, man.  I’m still reminiscing about the nobility of being poor.

CHAUNCY: Of course.

KREELY: They say when you’re poor, you don’t know where the next meal is coming from.  But I was broke and I knew exactly where the next meal was coming from – a tin can. 

(KREELY laughs, CHAUNCY offers a fake chortle)

KREELY: Clever don’t you think?  I’m taking a class on writing bumper stickers.  I’m halfway through writing a new one. Can you think of anything that rhymes with “No Fat Chicks”?

CHAUNCY: Sorry, I’m drawing a blank.

KREELY: Of course, with Chauncy it’s all business all the time.  So what is it this time?

CHAUNCY: Well, Councilman Harris and I were hoping you might lend your influence.

KREELY: Big bad Kreely, shaking up the political world.  I love it!

CHAUNCY: Yes, and we’re trying to –

KREELY: Elect a former bootlegger?  Or a part-time prostitute?  Or, no, don’t tell me, a corrupt chimpanzee?

CHAUNCY: No, elections were two months ago.  And that’s just it.  The new Mayor is making radical changes.

KREELY: I know all about change, Chauncy.  Since I became rich, I change my socks everyday.  I’ve become quite fond of change.

CHAUNCY: Well the new Mayor wants to change the schools.

KREELY: Chauncy, I make no secret about this – I dropped out of school in the grade that comes after 3rd grade.

CHAUNCY: I know, you’ve told me. If you’d just listen, please. The Mayor’s cutting the Breakfast Programs.  We can no longer provide free breakfasts to underprivileged children.  I thought you would help because -

KREELY: Because I love breakfast?  Yes, I make no secret about that either.

CHAUNCY: Uh, right.  See we need your help to fund the program.

KREELY: (smiles) Isn’t it ironical?  A kid from the streets rises to power and now the very system that tried to crush him comes begging on its hands and feet.

CHAUNCY: We just want –

KREELY: Want, want, want.  I’ll tell you what you want: To give jobs to your lazy friends, so they can dish out bowls of Mueslix instead of getting a real job!

CHAUNCY: No, no –

KREELY: And you want to take money away from honest businesses like the makers of Choc-nutty Breakfast bars, or Apple-butter-chunk cereal.

CHAUNCY: Kreely –

KREELY: Let me tell you, mister, I might be new money, but I’m nobody’s puppet.  Or muppet.  And definitely no Cabbage Patch Koosa.

CHAUNCY: I’m just trying to make -

KREELY: Trying to make me sick?  Well you succeeded. 

(KREELY dramatically throws a glass at Chauncy’s face.  The glass, however, is empty.)

KREELY: Miguel!

(A manservant rushes onto stage with a bottle of Thunderbird.  He refills the glass and disappears. KREELY tosses the drink in CHAUNCY’S face.)

KREELY: I’d sue your sorry ass if I weren’t so uncomfortable around lawyer-types. Now get out.

(CHAUNCY starts to exit.  He stops halfway)

CHAUNCY: Are we still on for go-karts on Sunday?

KREELY: We’ll see, Chauncy.

(KREELY returns to the edge of the balcony and looks at the city)

KREELY: (to himself) We will see…


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting this up; I couldn't but chuckle.