Greetings fellow fiends!
Sadly, we haven’t had time to produce a sketch to release this month because we’ve been occupied with holiday festivities and endless Nic Cage movie marathons. That being said, we’re still going to give you a nice little treat since we haven’t shared any new content since late December. We’ll dive into the Comedy Fiends archives and outline a selection of slightly humorous behind-the-scenes details regarding one of the sketches from 2016.
Last January we released “An Old Salt’s Tale” for all the world to see. A few folks loved it, many didn’t understand what in the wide wide world of sports was happening. The feedback from the folks that disliked it said it took way too long to reach the big, visual punchline at the end. There are many “jokes” we sprinkled throughout it, but they’re all in the dialogue, which is probably why it doesn’t register for the viewers that disliked it; visual punchlines are more successful than aural ones. Unless we’re talking about flatulence. Perfect example: the timeless Eddie Murphy film The Nutty Professor. :)
How did the idea for the Old Salt come to be? Billy and I dreamt up this ever-inebriated man via Facebook messages and text message chains. At the end of every text chain/FB message it was revealed the Old Man was either on the toilet or he didn’t have any pants on. Classy. Initially, it never occurred to us he’d be an old sailor, but we needed a reason for him to ramble for a ridiculous amount of time. That’s when we thought about the infamous Quint monologue from Jaws. We’d make the sketch an homage to one of the greatest monologues in film history. There are a several similarities between that scene and "An Old Salt's Tale,” the caliber of performance not being one of them.
Filming the big monologue in the bathroom went, for the most part, well. It was a heavy amount of dialogue to memorize and we had to do 8 to 10 takes. One moment I remember vividly is my cat springing onto a loosely attached shelf in the closet and knocking it down in the middle of a take. The shelf almost hit Mike, the cinematographer, which would’ve been a bad turn of events. Orson usually ends up knocking things over during shoots so it’s an occurrence we’re getting more and more accustomed to. Another blooper-esque detail: I ran baby powder through my hair to make it appear gray, but a small amount found a home on my peacoat collar. It’s clearly visible in the shot if you look for it. Congratulations if you noticed it on the first viewing. You win a pack of menthol cigarettes.
We filmed the exterior shots on a sidewalk right outside my apartment on a very frigid Sunday. It was -7, the perfect temperature to lay on a concrete sidewalk. Before we ventured into the cold, we concocted a fake blood mixture out of ketchup, chocolate, and antibacterial soap. Once we were outside, I quickly dumped the fake blood on the sidewalk to lay next to for the shot and it froze immediately. We stared at it. The blood looked like shit. Just a frozen blob plopped onto the sidewalk. Very unrealistic. We were so cold we decided to go with it. LET IT RIDE, BABY. We quickly grabbed a few takes and then hopped into my slightly warmer car to review them. We quickly realized we had to make a few adjustments even though our bodies didn't want to. We stepped out into the cold and did a few more takes. Eventually, we got it. As we drove away, we saw a guy walking his dog along the sidewalk and it started licking the frozen blob of fake blood. A few days later I checked to see if there was any sign of the fake blood on the sidewalk. Nothing. I imagine all of the neighborhood dogs walked past it and had a quick little snack. If that is the case, thanks for cleaning that up, guys. Really appreciate it. Hope that chocolate and soap didn’t murder your insides.
After having a year to reflect on what we’ve created, Billy and I are very satisfied with the final product, but acknowledge its imperfections. There’s always room for improvement. Give it another watch if you’re willing. Maybe you’ll pick up on the jokes buried in the dialogue. If you don’t, just remember: a lot of dogs ate fake blood to get this sketch made.
You’ll hear from us next month.