This is surreal short original script about a man named BOYD who makes his living laughing for films at the dawn of sound for motion pictures.
- Download the free .pdf screenplay version: Weight of Laughter
INT. INTERVIEW BOOTH – LANDING RECORDING STUDIO
BOYD sits uncomfortably in front of a microphone, while infamous Disc Jockey, MILTON RADNER speaks the introduction that starts the show for all radio listeners.
MILTON RADNER: …He began working on the stage alongside movie great Nathan Dawson, Edward P. Greenstone, Martin Manick and the late Jacob Freeman. Critics have defined his laugh as the laughter of the age, describing it as impeccable, encouraging, desirable, warming, pleasurable, powerful, intoxicating and unforgettable. He specializes in motion pictures…for those of you who think you may not know him, here is a laugh clip to help you recognize today’s special guest, Boyd Dampson.
Laugh clip of Boyd gets played over the speakers.
There you have it! Without further ado, I welcome the great master of laughter…BOYD DAMPSON!
Clip of applause.
So tell me Boyd, how does it feel to be the laughter of America?
BOYD: It feels…fine.
MILTON RADNER: Allow me to put my question to you this way…How does it feel to raise the spirit of American men and women during this time of economic and war crises?
BOYD: Well, I, I am certainly happy to help.
MILTON RADNER: Not much for words but much for laughter. You are truly amazing, sir. Let me ask you, what motivates you to do your work?
BOYD: Well, I, I have a family to support.
MILTON RADNER: A true American! How did you get started in laughter?
BOYD: …(clears throat) One day I—Mr. Gleck from Hanson & Hanson, overheard me laughing out-loud when I was in the middle of rehearsing a skit for the Mickey Larson Show, and I, I was approached to do an audio dub for a talking picture. That’s how it began.
MILTON RADNER: Boy George, I bet you thank your lucky stars Mr. Gleck was within ear shot that day! Ha! Ha! Ha!
BOYD: I was pleased, yes.
MILTON RADNER: You are quite the busy man. It is to my understanding that you will be heard in the up and coming film adaptation, “Rigid Response”. Is that right?
BOYD: That is correct, ye–
MILTON RADNER: Let me ask you this: Will you actually be appearing, YOU, yourself, in any upcoming motion pictures?
BOYD: In the physical sense?
MILTON RADNER: Yes, sir.
BOYD: I don’t think so…
MILTON RADNER: No burning desire to do something else, other than laugh?
BOYD: Laughing is just fine.
MILTON RADNER: Don’t you get bored or tired of laughing all the time?
BOYD: No, it suits me just fine.
MILTON RADNER: Fine, Fine! Everything’s always FINE, eh BOYD? Don’t you find it odd to laugh out-loud over things that have no right being funny?
BOYD: Well, I—
MILTON RADNER: How do you find the muster to laugh so heartily, at work that is simply, NOT FUNNY?
BOYD: Well, I—
MILTON RADNER: Honestly! Don’t you get disgusted with yourself? How do you continue your bullshit work? You go into a network studio or a comedy show or a motion picture BOOTH and you laugh, laugh, laugh your pathetic face off, for no apparent reason and get paid MEGABUCKS, while there are children starving in this country because mommy and daddy don’t have the money to feed little Becca or little Bobby because there is no Goddamn work! How-do-you, sir, live with yourself, taking such a high paid salary for work THAT DOES NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO MATTER??!!! (pause.) I just want to say that it has truly been a pleasure and an honor sir, to have interviewed you and I humbly and gratefully thank you, from all of us Americans, for the work that you produce, and we all, I am sure of it,look forward to more laughter. Thank you for lifting our spirits and may God Bless you…
Boyd clears his throat.