Here’s another sketch from the early days of FFNL. The guest host for this episode was Lucy Morals, the ringleader of burlesque/variety show troupe Romantasy Cabaret. So I decided to write a piece about her auditioning new talent (who just so happens to be the protagonist of a certain famous nursery rhyme). And of course there’s the gratuitous inclusion of “The Humpty Dance” because Digital Underground is the shit and I try to sneak that song into as many things as humanly possible.
A Star Is Hatched
The scene opens on a stage where a group of burlesque performers have just finished
rehearsing a number. LUCY MORALS is sittin on a director’s chair off on stage left, sitting close to the audience. Standing next to LUCY is WENDELL, who is wearing tailors’ clothes with a measuring tape draped over his shoulders. He watches the girls with blatant boredom.
LUCY gets out of her chair and approaches the burlesque girls.
Much better this time, ladies! At this rate, we’re going to blow minds and break hearts at the big show, which is, oh, only 3 days away! I’ve got just a few notes for you all before you go-
LUCY consults a clipboard.
Vanessa, less jazz hands. Marcy, I’ve told you before: stop chewing gum while you’re dancing! If I catch you chewing gum one more time, I’m going to make your next dress entirely out of used Bazooka Joes!
MARCY starts to raise her hand.
And no, you don’t get to read the comics!
MARCY puts her hand down.
Priscilla, you need to be just a little bit more sexy. This isn’t a church pageant, you can let youself go. And Nadine, you need to be a lot less sexy. Tone it down, girl: this is burlesque, not amateur night at a strip joint.
The girls nod along to the notes. A few of them may pull out little memo pads and scribble along to LUCY’S feedback.
Alright, ladies, dismissed!
The burlesque performers walk offstage. LUCY walks over to WENDELL.
You know I normally don’t audition new acts this close to a show.
You won’t regret it, Lucy! This woman is a vision, a goddess!
She better be, Wendell. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve put together an excellent show. This will be the best Romantasy Cabaret ever! But it needs… something new, something surprising, something that will really wow the audience. Give em something they couldn’t even imagine was possible.
Lucy, dahling, you have nothing to worry about. This girl, she’s got razzle, she’s got dazzle, and pizzazz, and va-va-voom, and joie d’vie! She’s the future of burlesque, Lucy! The next Satan’s Angel, the next Gypsy Rose Lee! She is going to redefine the art of the tease! She will be to burlesque what Picasso was to painting!
As WENDELL is getting heavy with the hyperbole, 2 stagehands come onstage. They set up a brick wall scrim on the backwall and set down an elevated platform. Once the scrim is up and the platform is set down, the stagehands scurry offstage.
And this next big thing, she got a name?
H.D. Miss H.D.
Let me see if she’s almost ready…
WENDELL walks over to the back of the stage and pokes his head offstage.
LUCY (talking to herself)
H.D.? High Definition? Hot Damn?
WENDELL (yelling offstage)
Are you ready, dahling?
H.D. (from offstage)
WENDELL (quickly walks back over to LUCY)
Mahvellous, simply mahvellous! Such a professional. And wait until you see her demeanor onstage! So cool, so reserved, so poised. But when that shell comes off, look out! All the king’s horses and all the king’s men won’t be able to put your audience back together again! Shall we let her work her magic now, Lucy dahling?
LUCY sits back in her directors chair, WENDELL stands next to her, almost hopping in place, giddy with excitement.
Alright, kid, let’s see what you got!
A pause. The lights go off. In the darkness H.D. gets on top of the elevated platform. Music starts playing: Digital Underground’s “Humpty Dance”. It plays in the dark until the vocals kick in. The lights come on and we see H.D.: H.D. is dressed in a giant egg suit. A hole is cut in the middle for her face to stick out, and holes are cut out for her arms and legs to stick out of. She may be wearing garters, stockings, fishnet gloves, anything that screams “burlesque!” and heightens the absurdity that she’s dressed up as a giant egg. As “Humpty Dance” plays, she starts dancing sensuously, a very serious and determined look on her face. She should be dancing in the egg suit for about a minute, before she exaggerately starts wobbling on the platform and then with a melodramatic look on her face falls off the platform. She rolls on the ground for a moment, and then gets back on her feet. Her egg suit is now cracked. She begins “stripping” by removing parts of the egg suit, tearing off chunks of eggshell and hurling them towards the audience with a wink. By the end of her routine, she’s gotten out of the egg suit and like most burlesque performances, ends up wearing nothing but panties and pasties. In H.D.’s case, though, the pasties are designed to look like fried eggs.
Once the music cuts off, H.D. holds a “Ta-Da!” pose for a moment, hands thrown in the air. There is a long pause. LUCY stands up from her chair. She paces the stage for a moment, a grim, serious look on her face. She walks up towards H.D. and as she speaks she thrusts her finger forward, pointing at H.D. with each word she says, giving it extra emphasis.
LUCY (sounding angry)
THAT…. WAS…. WITHOUT… A… DOUBT…
She balls her hands into her fists, shaking furiously.
THE SINGLE GREATEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE! YOU’RE IN THE SHOW, KID. HELL, YOU ARE THE SHOW!
H.D. and WENDELL squeal with joy.
Ohmygodohmygod… thank you! Thank you! I just don’t know what to say…
Well, you’ve got to say something, you foxy breakfast dish.
Miss Morals, I just wanted to say that…. LIVE FROM PHOENIX, IT’S FIRST FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE!