Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul, MN
TR (ANNC): A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets. But on the 12th floor of the Acme building, one man is trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions: Guy Noir, Private Eye.
GK: It was late January, the most depressing time of the year, a real low point, when you're getting sick of winter and you realize it has a long way to go, and you're being punished for what? You're not sure. I sat and looked out at the gray sky and the gray snow and I had a vision of a hot pastrami on rye with a slice of raw onion and I called Danny's Deli.
TK (TEEN): Danny's Deli. Wendell speaking. What can I get you, Mr. Noir?
GK: How'd you know it was me?
TK (TEEN): I could hear you wheezing in the phone.
GK: You know customers by their breathing?
TK (TEEN): No, just you. What can I get you?
GK: I was thinking about a hot pastrami, Wendell.
TK (TEEN): We're out of pastrami.
GK: How can you be out of pastrami? You're a deli. That's like a tavern being out of beer.
TK (TEEN): We're out of beer too.
GK: You got corned beef?
TK (TEEN): We do.
GK: Corned beef on rye.
TK (TEEN): Out of rye.
TK (TEEN): Out.
GK: Whole wheat?
TK (TEEN): We got bagels.
GK: Okay, a poppyseed bagel.
TK (TEEN): All we have is blueberry.
GK: Blueberry bagels?
TK (TEEN): That's it.
GK: Could you pick the blueberries out of the bagel?
TK (TEEN): I don't think so.
GK: Okay, corned beef on a blueberry bagel. Got onion?
TK (TEEN): Bermuda onion.
GK: What to drink?
TK (TEEN): Bubble-Up.
GK: Corned beef on a blueberry bagel with Bermuda onion and Bubble-Up. How about dessert? Let me guess. Baba au rhum.
TK (TEEN): Nope.
GK: Banana bread.
TK (TEEN): Nope.
GK: Raspberry cobbler.
TK (TEEN): Nope.
GK: What? I give up.
TK (TEEN): Blue cheese balls.
GK: Corned beef on a blueberry bagel with Bermuda onion and Bubble-Up and blue cheese balls. Can I get that delivered?
TK (TEEN): Nope.
GK: Why not?
TK (TEEN): Bobby our delivery boy is sick with the bubonic flu.
GK: Oh boy. How about you, Wendell?
TK (TEEN): I'm going to Florida today.
TK (TEEN): Biscayne Bay. (STING)
GK: So I was just about to go to Danny's Deli to pick up my food when there was a knock on the door. (KNOCKS) Come on in, the door's unlocked. (DOOR OPEN, CLOSE. FOOTSTEPS) She was middle-aged, medium height, a few extra pounds in the midsection----- what can I do for you, ma'am?
SS: I need your help, Mr. Noir. It's about my husband. He's a Green Bay Packers fan.
GK: I see. I know the type.
SS: We sleep on Packer sheets, we use Packer towels, we have a Packer sofa. Our house is green with gold trim. He installed a Packers toilet seat. It's a big G and you sit on it and it says "Go Pack." Gerald has told me he plans to be buried in a Packers coffin.
GK: And now that they're in the Super Bowl, he's high as a kite.
SS: Super Bowl Sunday has been planned like the D-Day invasion.
GK: So where in Wisconsin do you live?
SS: We don't.
SS: We grew up in Green Bay but we moved here twenty years ago for Gerald's work.
GK: What does he do?
SS: He's a psychiatrist.
GK: Of course.
SS: There were no jobs for psychiatrists in Green Bay. Everybody is bipolar. If the team wins, mania, if they lose, depression. So we are the only people in our neighborhood with a statue of Vince Lombardi in our front yard. People look at us like we had two heads. We've never met our neighbors.
GK: So you want me to try to calm him down? Maybe leave town? Repaint the house?
SS: It isn't Gerald I'm worried about. It's my daughter Jessica.
GK: What's wrong?
SS: She grew up with terrible self-esteem problems. She never could bring friends home. Never knew when her dad would start singing the fight song in public. And now she is dating comedians. Stand-up comedians. The neediest males on earth. Look at this video. (SCATTERED BOOS, CLAPS)
TR (FAT COMIC): So ---- I'm a full-figured guy. Big deal. Get over it. Good luck. I go in a restaurant, they bring me a menu, I say, Okay. In my high school graduation picture, I was the front row. You got to go a long way to get on my good side. I got a beeper on me so I don't back over people. That was a joke!
TK (OFF): Booo!
TR (FAT COMIC): When I went to buy a suit, the only thing they had in my size was the dressing room. I put on my BVDs and I stretch em out so far that they spell BOULEVARD. Get it?
TK: Sit down!
TR (FAT COMIC): Yeah, watch out or I'll come out there and sit on you. So anyway there were these two penguins on an ice floe and the one penguin says to the other penguin...(CLICK, VIDEO ENDS)
GK: He was a boyfriend of hers?
SS: He was No. 3. (BRIDGE)
GK: So I went in search of Jessica and found her at a comedy club called the Chuckles Factory. A dim room off a bar, chairs, a little stage, a microphone on a stand. The stage looked like a place where people go to die. Six people in the audience and no two of them sitting together, all of them busy texting their friends. And Jessica onstage at the microphone...
ER (ON MIC): Does anyone here know: Are raisinettes female? I guess so. Anyway, speaking of vegans. I am not one. I know people who are but I'm not one myself. I'm a carnivore because I respect vegetables and I don't want to kill them. Cows I don't like so I eat them. Tomatoes, no. Tomatoes have integrity. How many people here are vegans? Let's see a show of hands. Okay. So why did the tomato go out with the prune? Huh? Because he couldn't find a date. And then he went to get the prune and he got all embarrassed and turned red because ----- he saw the salad dressing.
SS (OFF): Get off the stage!!!!!
TK (OFF): Go home! Booooo! (BRIDGE)
GK: Jessica. Hi. I'm Guy Noir.
ER: My mom sent you, didn't she.
GK: She did.
ER: Well, I don't need your help. Sorry. I'm okay.
GK: I liked your standup.
ER: I totally bombed.
GK: Naw. You gave a bunch of Minnesotans permission to vent their hostility. People here are locked into a deferential way of life. You gave them an opening to get out their aggressions. They're better people for having booed you. But your mom is concerned about these jerks you're dating.
ER: Tell her to butt out.
GK: She just wants to see you be happy with someone mature and responsible, is all. Someone who pays his bills and
ER: What are you, the dating police?
GK: Just trying to be helpful.
ER: Not interested.
GK: I'm sensing that.
ER: I want an artist ---- someone with soul ---- vulnerability, openness, raw emotion ---- someone who puts it all on the line-----
GK: You're describing a lot of ten-year-olds now. Jessica, I'd like you to look at a video of Leon. The guy with the doll on his lap. The ventriloquist.
ER: I know who he is. I dated him. I loved him.
GK: I know. A ventriloquist...
ER: He was an alternative ventriloquist.
GK: Take a look. (AUDIENCE CHATTER, OFF)
TR (LEON): So tell a joke, Woody.
TR (DOLL): You tell a joke, it's your show.
TR (LEON): Come on, pal. We're dying here.
TR (DOLL): You're dying. I'm wood, I'm already dead.
TR (LEON): Help me out.
TR (DOLL): Make me.
TR (LEON): Come on. Please.
(CROWD STARTS TO HISS AND BOO, DERISIVE LAUGHTER)
TR (DOLL): I'm leaving. Get your hand out of my shirt.
TR (LEON): Then you won't be able to talk.
TR (DOLL): I've got nothing to say anyway!
TR (LEON): Tell the one about the penguins.
TR (DOLL): You tell it.
TR (LEON): Go ahead. Two penguins on an ice floe...you're gonna love this one, folks. (BOOING, LAUGHTER. SUDDEN CUT, CLICK)
GK: Not a great moment in comedy.
ER: He's more of a conceptual comic.
ER: He's got this whole idea of anti-comedy. It's very now.
GK: Now is a very short moment. You blink and it's over. So what happened with you and Leon?
ER: He were together for three months and then he said he needed to focus on his writing career.
GK: Well. I would agree with that. And let me ask you: did he ever buy you dinner?
ER: No. Why?
GK: Ever put any gas in your car?
GK: Let's look at your next boyfriend, Craig.
ER: Do we have to?
GK: It's just a short video... (START. AUDIENCE MURMUR)
TK (ON MIC): Hi. My name is Craig and I hate myself and pretty soon you will too.
ALL (CROWD): Hi, Craig.
TK (ON MIC): Today I beat my own previous record for number of consecutive days I've stayed alive. But why do I bother? You tell me. I'm so weird, people ask for my I.D. when I pay cash! The Red Cross won't even let me be an organ donor. They're afraid ugliness is contagious. Laughter sure isn't, I can tell you that. What are you—an audience, or an oil painting? (AUDIENCE RESTIVENESS) Oh shut up. You think you can do better, come on up. I dare you. Go ahead. Throw it. I dare you. Throw it. (SMOOSHED OF TOMATO) Okay, that does it. You want to see comedy, here's some comedy. (HE SMASHES A FOLDING CHAIR, CRIES OF ALARM) (CRUNCH OF GLASS) Hey, I'm bombing so I may as well bomb. (BIG EXPLOSIONS, CUT SHORT. CLICK)
GK: Kind of a challenging comedian.
ER: He came back to the apartment every night after his gig and he cried in my arms.
GK: So you lived together.
ER: For three months.
GK: Let me ask you. How much rent did he pay?
ER: Nothing. Why?
GK: Just asking. Did he ever chip in on groceries?
ER: No. But he didn't cook.
GK: Did he ever clean the kitchen? Wash dishes?
ER: No, but that was our deal. He'd eat at my house and wash the dishes at his other girlfriend's.
GK: Why do you go for losers, Jessica?
ER: Why does anyone fall in love?
GK: I think that one reason is that people believe they'll be happy. Did you think you and Craig would be happy together?
ER: I don't know what that means.
GK: It means you smile sometimes. Maybe laugh.
ER: When you grow up in a Packer house in the land of Vikings, there's not a lot of happiness, let me tell you. We were weird. Weird. People hated us and when people in Minnesota hate you, they pretend not to see you. You're invisible.
GK: I see.
ER: I want to do comedy so I am visible. So people look at me.
GK: Some comedians would be better off if they were invisible.
ER: I want to be visible, Mr. Noir. I want to be seen. Or I want Ricky to be seen. That's Ricky Rosso right over there. He's my boyfriend.
GK: The skinny guy with the glasses getting up on stage?
ER: Just listen.
TR (GEEK ON MIC): Hi I'm Ricky Rosso. iPods are getting so tiny. Mine's so tiny it got lost in the pocket of my jeans. Not the big pocket. The little pocket inside of the big pocket. I was going to buy a pocket protector for it but then I realized I could just use one of my condoms. (SMATTERING OF APPLAUSE) People call me the human encyclopedia. You know why? Because nobody ever looks at me and I'm too heavy to carry around. Hey. Thank you. I'm Ricky Rosso. Tell your friends.(SMATTERING OF APPLAUSE)
TR (GEEK): Hey babe. Did I kill?
ER: You totally killed baby.
TR (GEEK): That's what I thought. Hey who's this guy?
GK: Noir. The name's Noir.
TR (GEEK): Listen, I gotta go get some gas. Okay? Bye. (FOOTSTEPS OFF)
GK: Let me ask you about Ricky...
ER: The answer is, no, he didn't buy me dinner, didn't pay any rent, and he owes me $500 for snow tires.
GK: Okay. Just checking.
ER: Love isn't about money, Mr. Noir. It's about a connection between two souls, it's about fulfilling each other. Ricky fulfills me in ways I can't even describe.
GK: So I went outside (FOOTSTEPS ON SNOW, WIND) and there I found Ricky siphoning gas out of Jessica's car. (SIPHON)
GK: Hey, Ricky----
TR (GEEK): Oh hey it's you. (STOPS SIPHONING) Just sticking this hose in here, testing the gas float. What can I do for you?
GK: I'm an agent, Ricky, and I'm working for Fox, looking for comedic talent and I think your Human Encyclopedia idea is something that could go to TV, maybe to feature films. We are very very excited.
TR (GEEK): Wow. I don't know what to say.
GK: What would you say to a 1.3-million-dollar development deal? (TR CHOKES AND STAMMERS) Here's my email, kid. Write me tomorrow, give me your banking number for a wire deposit, tell me when you can start, and we'll talk.
TR (GEEK): Wow! Yes! Thank you!
GK: Don't mention it.
GK: I walked next door to a coffee shop and had a latte and I waited 20 minutes and then I went back into the comedy club and found Jessica. She looked pretty bleak. Where's Ricky?
ER: He broke up with me. He said we were moving in different directions, and he was probably going to move to L.A. and he didn't want a long-distance relationship. So I told him I'd move to L.A. And then he said maybe he'd move to New York or Paris. And since he didn't know where, we should just go our separate ways. And then he got on the phone and talked to a Maserati dealer about buying a Maserati. Why, Mr. Noir? What's wrong with me?
GK: Nothing's wrong with you, Jessica. You just met the wrong people. You're in the wrong place. You need to move back to Wisconsin.
GK: Down deep you're a Packer fan. You have to make peace with the Pack. You love them and there's nothing you can do about it. You need to be among your own tribe, Jessica.
ER (SNIFFLY): You're right. It was weirdness that drove me into comedy and into meeting all those losers. And if I just return to the herd, I'll be okay.
GK: I think so. Give it a try.
ER: But what if the Packers lose?
GK: It's okay. It's not about winning or losing, Jessica. It's about feeling good about yourself.
ER: You really are a Vikings fan, aren't you. "Not about winning or losing"???? It's all about winning. I'm outta here. Tired of being around you losers.
ER: Don't look at me or I'll smack you one in the chops. Get a life, Noir. Stop being a joke. (FOOTSTEPS, DOOR SLAM) (BRIDGE)
GK: Mission accomplished. A young woman's self-esteem restored, even as yours truly gets another kick in the shins. Any way I can be of service.
(BRIDGE)TR (ANNC): A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets. But on the 12th floor of the Acme building, one man is trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions. Guy Noir, Private Eye.