Wednesday, March 22, 2000

Grim Reaper Interview


DAVID LETTERMAN: Our next guest has been tormenting the human imagination since the dawn of time. Ladies and gentleman please welcome ... Death!

GRIM REAPER walks out. Audience applauds. Paul Shaeffer plays a jazz-fusion take on the "Dead March." GRIM REAPER sits down.

LETTERMAN: I've got Death on my show. I can't believe it. Wow. This is a first.

GRIM REAPER: I dunno, Dave. You've died on the show before, you know.

Audience laughs.

LETTERMAN: Death is a comedian. You heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen.

GRIM REAPER: Enough with the firsts, OK? Before we go on. I'm not Death. I'm the Grim Reaper. Death is a human concept, OK? Death. Life. We don't see things that way.


GRIM REAPER: You don't want to know, pal.

LETTERMAN: OK. So .. you're not Death.


LETTERMAN: What are you?

GRIM REAPER: Grim Reaper.

LETTERMAN: So ... what is the Grim Reaper?

GRIM REAPER: It's a job description.

LETTERMAN: Wow. Why would you want this job?

GRIM REAPER: People. It's a great way to meet people. Hey, I like people

LETTERMAN: You kill people.

GRIM REAPER: Not exactly. (sighs) Here's where it gets complicated. That thing you humans call a soul? That thing that makes you you? That's basically software. When you quote die end quote, it gets uploaded back to ..


GRIM REAPER: Can't answer that.

LETTERMAN: Aw, c'mon.

GRIM REAPER: Sorry, pal. I could lose my job, OK? I'm not allowed to talk about that BLEEP. The last thing we need is another religion.

LETTERMAN: Amen to that, ha-ha-ha. Laugh obsequiously, Paul.

PAUL: Ha-ha-ha.

GRIM REAPER: I don't harvest souls. See, that's another department.

LETTERMAN: And yours is?

GRIM REAPER: Life force. I harvest the life force.


GRIM REAPER: Ah, the damn Egyptians had it all figured out. They called it "Ka" or something like that. See, that's like the interface between soul and body.

LETTERMAN: In layman's terms?

GRIM REAPER: The life force keeps the meat moving around. After the soul leaves the body, the meat would keep moving around if I didn't do my job. The walking dead, OK? It's your basic zombie situation.

LETTERMAN: So ... we have you to thank for the lack of zombies?

GRIM REAPER: Damn straight, pal.

LETTERMAN: So what's on the horizon?

GRIM REAPER: Ah, you know. Book tour. Show 'em the book, Dave.



LETTERMAN: It's ... an autobiography?

GRIM REAPER: No. Cookbook ... you didn't read it?


GRIM REAPER: (flashing scythe) Listen. This thing slices and dices. You want Julienne fries? BLEEP the vegamatic. This puppy ...

He inadvertently cuts of LETTERMAN's head.

GRIM REAPER: Oh. Uh. Sorry Dave.

LETTERMAN'S HEAD: Next up, Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders!

Tuesday, March 21, 2000

Who Wants to be a Moron?

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

For that matter, Who Wants to be a Moron?

I do! You do!


Behold the new game shows. Behold the banal, braindead world to which the candy-colored choo-choo train of the "information revolution" has so rapidly taken us. Who Wants to be a Millionaire ... Greed ... 21 ...
21 yet. As if Mediagod were saying, "History is an Etch-a-Sketch and we hold it in our hands. We can do whatever the fuck we want with it." Shake, shake, shake. "Any questions?"

So, behold the new game shows. None of that threatening middlebrow intellectuality like you see on "Jeopardy," no sir. What they're testing is how many trainspotting popcult facts you've crammed in your head like some obsessive-compulsive squirrel. What they're testing is whether the audience likes you. What it's really about is the big, big money. Hey, the show's idiotic but we've got A REALLY BIG FUCKING PRIZE! Christ, the NFL must be shitting themselves at the thought because, if that premise were true, the networks could cancel the Superbowl and get millions of Americans to watch a few spastic refugees from the Special Olympics playing turd tennis ... just so long as there's a REALLY BIG FUCKING PRIZE! Goddamn. As a semipro humorist, I always try to look on the "bright side of life" and all ...

But this shit gets me thinking that Unabomber guy was really on the beam and wishing I hadn't flunked shop.

That's a joke, you fucking morons.

And now here's...


We open on the set, a scary dais of post-industrial, metallic cruelty resembling an offworld alien interrogation chamber -- a somewhat ironic extrusion of design overkill, seeing as how it's all set up so that the CONTESTANTS can answer retarded questions. REGIS PHILBIN appears, his smiling waxy face beaming with all the warmth and spontaneity of James Vernon as the meat puppet in Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Through the miracle of Supermarionation, he crosses the room with grace and ease, despite the presence of an 8" steel rod shoved up his ass.

REGIS: Who wants to be a moron?

Thousands of hands shoot up in the AUDIENCE.

REGIS: Who already is a moron?

Most of the hands come down.

REGIS: (under his breath) Fucking morons. OK! This is the point where our (miming "quote" signs) "computer" selects ten members from the "audience" who are physically appealing but not so physically appealing that the average moron in our target viewing audience can't identify with them.

FX of rapid red-pointed scans over various faces in AUDIENCE crosscut to pattern-recognition computer database of generic faces with labels like MIDWESTERN MEDICAL SECRETARY #10, REGULAR JOE #15, etc.

REGIS reads off the names JOHN Q. PUBLIC, JOE DOKES, UR NAME HERE, etc. concluding with SALLY O'MALLY. As their names are called, the CONTESTANTS come forth and sit down in two rows of high-backed, metal chairs.

REGIS: OK, human cattle, listen up. List the Spice Girls in order of their first period.

The faces of the CONTESTANTS contort with concentration. A buzzer sounds.

REGIS: And the correct sequence would be... (drumroll, hushed breath) Can you stand it? It's...SCARY...BABY...SPORTY...GINGER...POSH!

Applause for no reason in particular.

REGIS: Hmmm looks like only one of our contestants got that right and that would be Sally! (points) That's you, kid!

Cut to SALLY, a Victoria Jackson-ish blonde in a "Catatonic State University" sweatshirt, beaming with joy.

REGIS: Get over here!

She leaps out of her chair and runs up to him. Metal straps lock down over the arms of the rest of the CONTESTANTS, holding them firmly in place.

REGIS: Sally, do you want to be a moron?

SALLY: Uh-huh!

REGIS: Great! As for the rest of you...

REGIS pushes a button. A trap door opens beneath the chairs of the LOSERS, who are consigned to waiting flames below. A brief look of horror crosses SALLY's face but she quickly forgets why. REGIS walks up to her disarmingly.

REGIS: Hi, Sally.


REGIS: She looks just like the girl next door, doesn't she, audience?


REGIS: Of course she does...she's programmed to. The girl next door ... but not too threatening.

SALLY smiles, thinking this is a compliment.

REGIS: How're you feeling, Sally?

SALLY: Well...I'm a little nervous.

REGIS: (smiling evilly) Just wait.'s question number one! We'll start with an easy one.

SALLY: Works for me!

REGIS: Regis Philbin is...

A) A painful fungus infecting the groin and anal regions.
B) The host of "Who Wants to be a Moron?"
C) The host of "Undead with Regis and Katie Lee."
D) All of the above.


REGIS: You're sure?

SALLY: I'm sure.

REGIS: Well you're right!

SALLY giggles and applauds herself while the AUDIENCE applauds along with her.

REGIS: (slightly suggestive) Let's move on to the human anatomy ... are you ready?

SALLY: Ready spaghetti!

REGIS: The hole from which doo-doo emerges is known as:

A) The ass.
B) The elbow.
C) Zeta Reticuli.
D) Kansas City.

SALLY: Gee, I dunno. Could I do like that 50-50 thing?

REGIS: Sure. Let's do that 50-50 thing!

Blooping computer noise. On the display, two answers disappear.

REGIS: And the remaining answers are...
A) The ass.
B) The elbow.

SALLY: Wow. This is hard. Can I ask the audience?

REGIS: Ask 'em.

SALLY: (to the AUDIENCE) Well...what, Audience? Which one is it?

REGIS: Help her out, folks!

We hear people shouting out "ass"... "elbow"...etc. The AUDIENCE punches in their answers which turn out to be...

REGIS: Hmm. Pretty evenly divided between ass and elbow.

SALLY: Can I call my dad?

REGIS: You want to use your lifeline?

SALLY: No. I wanna call my dad.

REGIS: And your dad's your lifeline.

SALLY: No. He's my dad. Can I call him?

REGIS: Call your dad.

She calls.

SALLY: Hello, dad? Do you....

DAD: (on voiceover) Ah, stow it. I been watching. You don't know your ass from your elbow?


DAD: Well it's your ASS, stupid. ASS.

SALLY: OK. (to REGGIE) Then I'll go with ass, stupid.

DAD: She's not my real d— (cut off)



REGIS: Are you sure?

SALLY: Well...yeah. If my dad says so.

REGIS: That's your final answer?

SALLY: Yeah. Dad's pretty smart.

REGIS: Well I guess I'd have to agree ... BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE YOUR DAD IS RIGHT!


SALLY: I love my dad.

AUDIENCE awwwwwwwws.

REGIS: Now let's move on to the vegetable kingdom.

SALLY: Wow. I didn't know they had their own country.

REGIS: Yes. And I'm the king of it. Now, here's the question, so listen up and don't strain your limited attention span. The word "tomato" refers to...

A) A form of igneous rock.
B) The third planet from the sun.
C) An edible red fruit frequently found in salads.
D) A style of Korean kickboxing.


REGIS: C? Wow, she didn't even have to think about it!

AUDIENCE: Ha-ha-ha!

REGIS: Just like that...C. You want to stick with that? C?

SALLY: Well...yeah, uh, because a tomato is, uh, like ... C. I mean it's like a fruit you like eat.

REGIS: Are you sure of that?

SALLY: Well...yeah. (rolling eyes) Kindof. (getting more and more unsure of herself) I mean I guess like uh ... like I think it's red?

REGIS: You can still change your answer, Sally. Do you want to change your answer?

SALLY: (wracked with tension, eyes going all over the place) I dunno.

REGIS: Is that a yes or a no?

SALLY: (not understanding the question) Agggh...(making a face) I had, like an accident. (starting to cry) I'm sorry! Can I call my dad again?


SALLY: Ask the audience?


SALLY: 50-50?


SALLY: I already did!

REGIS: You did? You're sure of that?

SALLY: Yeah... (eyes rolled to heaven as she desperately tries to remember what she said)


SALLY: Uh...


SALLY: (exploding) C! I mean a fruit! A tomato's like a fruit!

REGIS: (softly but with a hint of danger) Are you sure?

SALLY: No! Yes!

REGIS: Don't toy with me! (he slaps her) IS THAT YOUR ANSWER?

SALLY: (weeping) Yes!

REGIS: Is that your FINAL answer?


REGIS: (all smiles) Well, that's right!

Relief explodes on her face. The AUDIENCE laughs, cheers.

SALLY: I like wet myself....I'm so sorry. (She reaches down wiping at the stain) That's so, like, embarrassing?

REGIS: It's OK, kid. We'll get you a blow drier.

SALLY: (standing up and walking over to REGIS she puts a hand on his shoulder leaving a visible hand print) You're a very nice man.

She returns to her seat. REGIS wipes at his shoulder, a barely-contained look of disgust struggling to emerge on the puppet-like mask of his rictus-grinning face.

REGIS: Now, Sally. A slightly harder question. Are you ready?

SALLY: I guess so.

REGIS: Using a standard chi-square distribution, rank the relative frequency of obscure pop culture references on South Park for the following individuals who had their fifteen minutes of fame when animators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were still members of the 16-to-21-year-old demographic.

A) Scott Baio.
B) Brian Boitano.
C) Robert Smith of the Cure
D) Patrick Duffy.

SALLY: Oh that's easy! B. Anybody knows that!

REGIS: And that's your final answer? B?

SALLY: Well ... duh.

REGIS: And you are right on the money! B it is!

SALLY wiggles. AUDIENCE applauds.

REGIS: And now, Sally, here's our penultimate poser. Better put on your thinking cap.

She looks around.

REGGIE: It's an expression of speech.


REGIS: OK, here's the question! Who predicted that people would become stupider as technology got smarter?

A) Kornholio
B) Korn
C) C.W. Kornbluth
D) Who the fuck cares?

SALLY: (instantly) D.

REGIS: Wow, that was even quicker than tomato!

SALLY: I just know.

REGIS: And you know that you know?

SALLY: Uh-huh.

REGIS: You're sure you're sure?

SALLY: Sure.

REGIS: That's your final answer?


REGIS: Your vinyl asherah?

SALLY: Uh-huh.

REGIS: Your phenyl Anacin?

SALLY: Uh...yeah?

REGIS: Well that's right! Who the fuck cares? We don't! If it's a pop culture reference before Kennedy got his head shot off or something somebody wrote in a book, fuck it! No brain, no pain and we're feeling no pain! Because we're all morons, right?


REGIS: Now what time is it?

AUDIENCE: It's time to suck the money!

REGIS: You got it!

Music up: to the tune of "Shake Your Booty." Disco-chorus on the soundtrack as the AUDIENCE sings along to...

Suck, suck, suck!
Suck, suck, suck!
Suck the money!
Suck the money!
Suck, suck, suck!
Suck, suck, suck!
Suck the money!

REGIS: (to SALLY) As you know, Sally, our ultimate question is, indeed, a deed. Are you ready to suck the money?

SALLY: Oh yeah!


REGIS: Then bring on Mr. Moneysack!

What appears to be a large sack of money with arms and legs walks out, either some guy in one of those bigass suits you see in Disney World or a hideous, genetically engineered mutant, we're not sure. MR. MONEYSACK has roughly the same proportions as the "Grimace" in the screaming primary colors of the alternative reality of the McDonald's commercials, except that his skin is off-white, rough canvas and not a shiny purple. There's a large dollar sign in its ventral region with two googly eyes at the top. Obviously not his real eyes. Dangling betwen his legs is a large, cartoony p --

["Valve stem." That's right folks. "Valve stem." Keeping it clean.]

MR. MONEYSACK walks up to SALLY rolling its fake eyes with expectation, its cartoony valve stem bobbing up and down. SALLY looks MR. MONEYSACK in his googly eyes, looks down at his valve stem -- then eye-level again. MR. MONEYSACK bounces with anticipation and much eye-rolling. SALLY makes a wry, ironic, upwardly-mobile, gotta-do-whatcha-gotta-do-to-get-ahead face, her lips an uptilting moue, her eyes looking thiswaythat on the ceiling to see if there's any answer up there other than "Suck MR. MONEYSACK's valve stem." There isn't. SALLY kneels and sucks. MUSIC still playing...

Suck, suck, suck!
Suck, suck, suck!
Suck the money!
Suck the money!
Suck, suck, suck!
Suck, suck, suck!
Suck the money!

Cut to the AUDIENCE happily singing along. Back to REGIS.

REGIS: As you know, the more she sucks, the more money she gets, and the more her IQ goes down!

Cut to a video display. Two digital readouts side by side of IQ and bank account scrolling rapidly...

IQ Income
92 $575,834

Cut to SALLY powerfully sucking. MR. MONEYSACK is deflating, thrashing his arms. We hear jingling coin noises. Back to board...

IQ Income
67 $893,647

Back to CONTESTANT. MR. MONEYSACK down to next to nothing, flailing wildly, in obvious pain, vanishing like Wicked Witch of the West until...

IQ Income
44 $999,999

SOUND: Ding! Ding! Ding!

Go to SALLY on her knees. MR. MONEYSACK expires, cartoonhand reaching up in one last feeble gesture then falling to the floor again. SALLY gets up, wiping her mouth. Dazed, stupid, happy look on her face.

REGIS: You did it! Now you're a millionaire!

CONTESTANT: (ecolailically) Duh...I am...uh...muhuyuhuh.

REGIS: And you're also a moron!

AUDIENCE laughs warmly. SALLY smiles. Two beefy BOUNCER types appear.

REGIS: Get her out of here, boys. And make sure to get her REGIStered for the Republican Party!

They lead her off, arm-in-arm. Applause...

CU of REGIS addressing us.

REGIS: Well, that's it for our show, folks, and you can bet there'll be more of the same! In fact, as a special treat for all you "Who Wants to be a Moron?" fans, here's a little preview of a few new game shows on the horizon. If you liked tonight's show you'll be sure to love...

Crime Scene. The game show where YOU are the Forensic Specialist! Two teams race against the clock collecting bits of skull and identifying dental records to see WHO can identify the body first. And don't miss the companion show...

Quentin Tarantino's Crime Scene Cleanup! with host Harvey Keitel.

Are You My Mommy? It's sure to be everybody's favorite new attachment-issue dating game where women meet eligible bachelors who, due to the Freudian process of transference, are still trying to marry their moms.

The Ten Thousand Volt Pyramid. Based on Dr. Millikin's groundbreaking experiments on conditioned responses to authority figures, contestants see how much voltage they're willing to send through family and friends for fabulous prizes!

Whose Tongue is it Anyway? Husband, wife...or the family dog? Christ, maybe it's RICHARD DAWSON...but whoever it is it always means cash!

That's Entrapment -- the DEA Assets Seizure Game! Houses, cars and untold riches can be yours just so long as you find the evidence. You'll be sure to find it, now won't you?

Candid Bathroom Camera! Somewhere...somehow...when you least expect it, there'll be a camera in your toilet! The one with the biggest bowel movement WINS! With host, Chuck Berry.

Family Fugue State. Uncle Bob doesn't know it, trapped as he is in a soundproof isolation booth, but pretty soon he's gonna be hearing from a few nieces and nephews who're going to help him remember those years he's "kinda fuzzy on." Uh-oh. What's happening to the air?

The Magic Christian. Holy shit, would you jump into an Olympic-sized swimming pool full of steaming shit to fish out the thousands and thousands of dollars of money and prizes inside? Pat Robertson is betting you would! Only on the Family Channel.

Back to REGIS...

REGIS: Wouldja buy it for a quarter? Well I sure would! (waving) Goodnight, morons!

© February-March 2000, Jack Getz/Marty Fugate. All rights reserved. E-mail comments and feedback to Jack Getz at