Story – Robert McKee's Creative Storytelling Magazine Issue 005 – Drew Carey - Page 67

MCKEE INTERVIEWS DREW CAREY both screwed, because no matter what I say, you’re going to say, “Yes, Doctor.” And you say, “Hello, Nurse.” Now I’m a nurse. You could add to it and go, “You look lovely in your dress today.” Now I’m a female nurse. Okay, now the audience has to let you pimp me a little bit. The audience has a laugh because now I have to change and act female, and I have to agree with everything you say. “Well, let’s get the operation going.” So now we’re going to operate. That doctor can do a lot of things. They can do lunch, but now I say we’re going to operate. This is how you make the list. If we’re going to do an operation, there’s scalpels and things. You’ve seen doctor movies, so you start to do things in your head and just move around stage making lists in your head. “I’m going to arrange my scalpels, I’m going to wash my hands, I’m putting my mask on,” so that’s the list. But it’s only three or four things you’ve got to think of, so it’s easy. You’re not making a big list. To do a stand-up routine, you might make a list of 20 things and really pore through some research, depending on the subject. You need three or four things just to get to the next line because while you’re doing your action—putting your mask on—you’re thinking of the next “and.” You’ve agreed that you’re going to operate, and now you’re thinking of the next “and.” “Boy, I wish I hadn’t been drinking.” Now I have a drunk doctor on my hands and I have to think of what a nurse would be doing, and how to deal with the drunk doctor. As long as you keep adding to it, then you keep the scene going. RM: Amazing, but it seems to me inside all of that, of course, you’re building jokes. DC: Yeah. RM: So you’ve got to be concerned about a number of things, and certainly the timing. use word puns. It’s all the things they use in comedy writing, but in improv, a lot of it is exaggeration and making it bigger than it needs to be or more dangerous than it needs to be. RM: But I’m just thinking that in the midst of… DC: I didn’t answer the question. RM: No, no. In the midst of an improv, there has got to be a sense that we’ve gone too long without a laugh. DC: Oh, yeah. Right, a lot of time. DC: Right. RM: So then what? RM: How do you build a situation to a point where the audience’s attention is peaking, and then where do you get a punch to explode all of that tension? DC: In improv, you’re not really looking for punchlines, per se. The “ands” are really the punchlines back and forth and the actions. You’ll find yourself in funny situations. This little yes/and formula really works some magic sometimes, because, you’ll be thinking of an “and” to put in there and you’ll add something ridiculous. That’s where it really is—you’re looking for a comic exaggeration or a minimization or something like that. DC: Well, then you start sweating and maybe somebody from the back will come and help you out. We were doing a show and there was two doctors—that’s what they ended up being. They said, “Let’s operate on this guy,” and I ran up to be the guy they were operating on. I walked in, and I said, “Sorry I’m late.” There was actually a lull, and you just reminded me. It was like a month ago, so there was little lull there, so I just walked in and I said, “Sorry I’m late.” I lay down on a stool, and I got a big laugh because it was like, “Okay, well, time to get operating.” And then they realize there’s no body there. So that’s the way you add things. There are also improv games that RM: There’s an expression in Story Magazine // Issue 005