Jan 25, 2022Liked by Mike Trapp

The best way to fix the ficus sketch would be, I think, to instead make it an aloe plant.

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Jan 25, 2022Liked by Mike Trapp

You know, after #1 I sat down and tried to formulate an approach to an idea I've had for ages and couldn't figure out what was wrong. This framing has illuminated both the issue and the solution. Now I have to write the thing.

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Jan 8, 2023Liked by Mike Trapp

I've reviewed and shared this and post #1 so many times. Thanks for writing them!

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Firstly, thanks for writing this and providing a space to think about comedy.

Regarding the ficus - A woman saying she's a ficus because her feet are roots and hands are fronds isn't funny. A woman who says she is a ficus because she's "easy to care for in an office setting" is funny. It also gives us the change in POV we need. This isn't about a woman who thinks she is a plant. It is about a woman who has chosen to be a plant because it is easier to exist as a plant in an office than a person in an office. That also changes the friends role from convincing her that she's not a ficus to accepting her decision that she is a ficus.

Her being a plant has a positive outcome on the office. Seeing her happy boosts morale. Do a short scene where "she seemed a bit droopy so I brought her over to the sunlight to perk her up." Have her dressed up as a Christmas ficus. Handwaive the whole eating and drinking aspect of being alive. Ending: have a drunken office party and have someone knock her over accidentallty. She'll respond with a whiny "Owww" and wince and gripe about how that really hurt.

The tag can be her sitting back at her desk with her office mates saying "...so that's how I pooped"

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Great post, definitely helpful when looking back over the sketches I’ve written so far and identifying what does/doesn’t work about them. Good news: I’ve been doing some of this subconsciously and now am able to articulate it. Bad news: I’ve not been doing it as consistently or as well as I could have, which is something I can work on in the future.

With regards to “fixing” the sketch: a transphobe tries to mock a trans person with the classic bigots-only-have-one-joke of “I identify as [thing]” (in this case a potted plant). The mockery escalates (“no, I’m serious guys, looks at me [pours water on head, eats dirt, only gets nutrients from the sun]”) until it becomes clear to everybody around them that they’re using mockery as an outlet for their true feelings: they actually do identify as a potted plant. They break down and tearfully accept this by the end of the sketch.

I worry this comes off as a little close to the knuckle, but taken in the spirit it’s intended I think it works? I.e. transphobia often comes from a place of deep insecurity about one’s own identity/role, and transphobic arguments are often ridiculous and obsessive.

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Do you outline before you write? And if so, what all are you figuring out in advance? What does your process look like?

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I think the ficus sketch could be saved by making the game “A woman thinks she’s a ficus” into more of a final stinger, and instead focusing on something more relatable, like “a woman who talks about her house plant like it’s her child”.

Sketch could start with some women talking about their children: “Oh Jenny loves to draw just like her Mum”, before interrupting with the juxtaposition “Oh yeah, Fici loves to soak up the sun, just like me!”. The sketch could heighten as the woman insists that her plant really does take after her while doing more and more plant like things, eating fertiliser, etc. before culminating on the reveal that she actually is a plant. She takes her shoes off to reveal thick matted roots instead of feet, and her skin turns to bark while vines grow from her mouth and ears as her friends scream in terror. (One for the production team to work out)

This sketch feels funny to me because of the juxtaposition between parents who feel pride and a sense of relating to their kids, and someone is trying to claim the same feeling of pride towards a houseplant. There also plenty of room for absurdity as the sketch builds, at first it seems like the woman is speaking figuratively, but then, surprise, she really is a plant person.

This sketch is pretty silly, but I think there’s a grain of truth in the feeling of affection you can have towards houseplant. For a lot of people in their early 20’s especially, there’s a real sense of pride and affection you gain the first time you nurture a plant well, and you may even do some slightly things like naming and talking to it. This sketch feels like taking that feeling to its logical extreme.

The sketch would of course be named: “I’m a real plant person!” That’s unexpected meeting the inevitable, right?

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I can't help but think that the ficus sketch could potentially work if she doesn't die at the end but instead her friends turn out to all be ficuses and she's the only actual human there. Like, maybe she's starting to lose it from a multi-year pandemic or trying to convince herself that she's a plant to avoid having to go to work or something.

But that'd mean withholding the point of view until the very end, which I'd imagine would make it kind of a long walk unless broken up with mini-twists (first thought: maybe her friends argue about various things she loves that ficuses don't do/have/eat and she tries to convince them that she's a rare pizza-eating ficus or something). I feel like I've seen sketches like this work, but at the same time, I probably find myself appreciating sketches like it less than the others that are more upfront about their point of view.

Do you generally find it better to establish the point of view early so that it can be better woven into a sketch, or does it not really matter so long as that kernel of truth eventually shows up?

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Jan 25, 2022·edited Jan 25, 2022

Cool post !

I came up with this idea about the ficus sketch

Maybe the game could be : this girl who's cast as a mute plant in her school production takes her role way too seriously. The truth element would be mocking the actors that are so serious and into their work and character that they would die for it.

The heightening would be that : In a method acting fashion she starts rehearsing all the time at home, on the subway, everywhere. And her theater teacher is so awckward and fed up with her.

The surprise could come during the heightening : she actually steals the performance, becomes a star for this role that she reprises in all kinds of productions, makes the cover of Time (still as a plant). There could be scenes where she's now grown up and fails to communicate with her husband, still in character and it makes for a sad personal life even though she's wildly successful. While at the same time still receiving standing ovations in theater rooms, being wheeled around in a big pot.

And by the end eventually receives an oscar, she's wheeled on the stage. But the trolley bumps and she falls, shattering the pot. And, dramatically, as everyone in the room is shocked and silent, she's thrown off, not knowing how to act as a plant in this moment. She then whips out a gun and shoots herself to be in accordance with her plant nature in a broken pot. And the audience erupts in applauds and admiration.

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My absolute favorite takedown of the "We Combined Random Two Things for clicks" sketch is Nick Wiger's "Gungan Style". An all-timer.

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Ficus sketch idea: A woman is trying to avoid having the breakup conversation with her boyfriend. Her friends keep telling her that she can't put off talking to him forever. Nope! You can't break up with a ficus! They tell her he's sent her a dozen texts. Sorry, I can't respond, no fingers, only fronds! Her friends threaten to feed her some fertilizer. Well, that's still better than admitting to Jeffrey that she made out with his cousin!

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Ficus sketch idea:

a new employee N is walking into the building with her Guide G. They bump into a woman outside who says "Hi, I'm Deb, your new HR. I’m just soaking up some sun, I need my sunshine"

The new employee asks for water, Deb says she doesn’t drink tap water, it’s bad for her cells.

Deb later offers her a liquid vitamin mix “it’s got potassium, nitrogen, and its really good for your fibers.” N asks “like it has fiber in it?” Deb brushes it off.

At lunch N sees Deb making a smoothie from what looks like dirt. Deb tells her it’s a cacao and quinoa or something.

The new employee is shown the conference room. Deb takes her shoes off. N asks if she should as well, and G says “no that’s just a Deb thing you don’t need to”

Deb walks to the front as though she’s approaching the whiteboard but keeps walking. She stands in a pot of soil. She takes off her headband revealing a little peanut plant on the top of her head. The look of confusion leaves N’s face and she says “oh, health nut.”

I think it lacks a punch, I don’t think her losing the confusion at the end is enough. the kernel of truth is that we all know a “health nut,” and I think juxtaposing plant behavior and health nut behavior is funny, like "huh yeah I guess we both need the same stuff."

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Idea for fixing the sketch:

starts the same, but we have a coworker point out that being a plant is rediculous and unacceptable... As they are a cat. Escalates until everyone in the office is arguing they are different things and are not being supported by eachother. Manager looks on from an office and nods at how his team is really coming together because of clear support and communication.

How's that?

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Great post, love the insights on these for sure. Gotta throw my hat in the plant ring here, just for fun.

-Plants are a hobby a lot of people have picked up.

-Lots of people get the information on there chosen hobby online.

-Group of friends sitting around talking about the niche hobbies they have picked up over the last few years.

-Plant lady starts out with normal "I got into plants" talk, but everyone around her starts to realize she actually joined a forum of plantsona (fursona) enthusiasts and in currently living her best life as Ficus91.

-Perhaps it encourages everyone else to share the true hobbies they've all been enjoying just as niche and weird as hers

-Sams just been doing sourdough though.

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Great read! I feel like this is a great explanation and really appreciate this.

Felt like the ficus sketch could be about social anxiety at party's but it didn't resonate with me very well. Could also see it going as she's not actually a ficus, she's a weed plant and high as hell and she's self conscious about how high she is.

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I thought it would be a funny sketch. Relying on the plant person to go crazy with it.

Am I broken?

This was an incredibly interesting and thought provoking and made me reflect on my previous writings.

Although I did write a Ficus sketch but I'm not sure I followed the rules brought up in the post.

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