Apropos

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A director, FIGS, sits while an actor, CLIVE, gets into character.

FIGS

Okay…no, wait. Hold on a second. Not ready. Okay now go.

CLIVE

Mama, you ain’t got to worry no more. I ain’t gon’ let anything happen to ‘lil Jamal.

FIGS

No. Do it with more Sydney Poitier.

CLIVE

Why Poitier?

FIGS

Why Poitier? Come on.

CLIVE

Okay. (Poitier-ly) Mama, you ain’t got to worry no more. I ain’t gon’ let anything happen to ‘lil Jamal.

FIGS

No, that doesn’t work either. Try Samuel L. Jackson.

CLIVE

I do a really good Woody Allen. How about that?

FIGS

Hmm. Jewish angle. I like it. Try Sammy Davis, Jr.

CLIVE

What’s wrong with Woody? I can do a mean Woody.

FIGS

I’m sure you can. But do Sammy.

CLIVE

Fine. You’re the boss.

FIGS

Goddamn right I’m the boss. Sammy. Go.

CLIVE

(Sammy-esque) Mama, you ain’t got to worry no more. I ain’t gon’ let anything happen to ‘lil Jamal.

FIGS

Better. Closer. Warmer. Not there yet. Try it in a vaguely Cosby way.

CLIVE

Why is my character seem so angry all the time? Half the lines have exclamation points.

FIGS

Look at you!

CLIVE

What about me?

FIGS

People like you, they always yell. You people are always angry.

CLIVE

‘People like me’?

FIGS

Yeah, what are you, six and a half feet tall? You’re a giant! Now come on. Do a Cosby read.

CLIVE

I don’t think that would be apropos.

FIGS

‘Apropos’? I didn’t know people like you knew those words.

CLIVE

There you go again. What about people like me give you that idea?

FIGS

Well, you said in the audition you never went to college.

CLIVE

Let’s just get this back on point here. Here, (Bogart-esque) I’ll read it like Bogart.

FIGS

No, don’t do that. Try Uncle Remus.

CLIVE

Race has absolutely nothing to do in the quality of a television character! A great character has to have substance and authenticity. Whether that character is black has absolutely nothing to do with that reality.

FIGS

Whoa there big guy. Tap the brakes. You were hired to do a job, and that job is to do what I tell you. And I tell you I want Uncle Remus. So if you don’t like Uncle Remus, there’s the door.

CLIVE

But this character has so much more depth. He’s not the angry black guy, or the comically scared black guy, or the militant black guy, or the perpetual criminal defendant black guy, or the successful black doctor who also was a criminal in his youth. He’s just a kid, worried for his mama, worried for his brother Jamal, just trying to do right by God above and the people he cares about, right here in the world.

FIGS

Listen. I have three more commercials to do today. I don’t have time for this.

CLIVE

Jamal, he’s just in over his head. Too tired, too stressed. One of these days he’s gonna make a mistake, he’s gonna fall asleep at the wheel, and we’ll get that phone call. ‘Are you Jamal Washington’s brother?’ And I’ll be like, (Long pause) ‘Yeah.’

FIGS

It’s a goddamned ad! Jamal’s not even human! He’s a dog! Did you even read the script?

CLIVE

I skimmed.

FIGS

This is an ad for doggy stairs. You know, so your stupid fat dog can get on your stupid bed and be fat on the bed.

CLIVE

(Pacino-esque) Mama, you ain’t got to worry no more. I ain’t gon’ let anything happen to ‘lil Jamal.

FIGS

Sure. Good. Great. That makes no sense. What is that, Al Pacino?

CLIVE

(Booming, Christopher Lee-esque) Mother! You needn’t worry any longer! Look upon me, your son, as the stalwart guardian of poor, obese Jamal. Hark! I shall hold a vigil, and together, you, mother, and I, with rotund, moribund Jamal will laugh in the face of gravity!

FIGS

Just leave, please.

CLIVE

Think of me for the sequel.

Created: Dec 10, 2010

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