CLICHE WHORES
original script by Vincent Truman
as performed in Suspicious Clowns 5: Clown on a Hot Tin Roof (Sept - Oct 2003)
© 2003 Vincent Truman/Suspicious Clowns

Commentary on "Cliche Whores" by Vincent Truman
"The best material, for me anyway, is about stuff that pisses me off. The root of this scene came from one conversation I heard in a smoking lounge, in which four people rattled off about 50 cliches in 2 minutes and never once actually said anything to each other. You know - 'how are you' - 'can't complain - and if i did, who would listen?' - 'i hear ya. keeping you busy?' - 'thank god it's friday', etc. Just maddening. So, utilizing the old find-and-replace technique, I made the cliches in this scene like sex or a drug... a complete addiction. I recall this being a rather hard sell to the group when I presented it, because there's not a lot of jokey jokes, but it plays very well in front of a smart audience."

The Cliche Whore: Lauren Ryland
Man: Jeb Cadwell
Cop 1: Cynthia Whitworth
Cop 2: Sarah Snow
Interviewer/Host: Arthur Simone
Renata: Kelly Stanley
Dr. Emmet Wilhemi: Vincent Truman

Lights fade up. Car pulls up to woman on street corner.

WOMAN
Hey, mac, wanna cliche?

MAN
(nervous, but anxious)
Yeh.

She gets in car.

WOMAN
You a cop?

MAN
No, no… so how much for how much?

WOMAN
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
(beat)
Thank God it’s Friday.

MAN
(getting excited, takes out cash)
Yes. Here….

WOMAN
A-OK, baby. I’ve seen a million of ‘em. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

MAN
Oh wow.

They freeze.

INTERVIEWER (VOICEOVER)
What are you are witnessing is a growing trend in the underbelly of modern society.
The purchase and transfer of illicit clichés in cars, alleyways and seedy bars.
This is not recommended for younger or more sensitive viewers.

They unfreeze.

WOMAN
How much is on your plate? You’re the apple of my eye.
Buy one get one free. When it rains, it pours.
Don’t… don’t…. don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.

The cops enter, walk around to the driver's side.

The United States is a democracy!

COP 1
Hey buddy.

MAN
Officer!

COP 1
What are you two doing in there?

MAN
Nothing, nothing.

COP 2
Uh-huh. She’s as close to you as white on rice.

MAN
(swooning at the cliché)
Oohh…

COP 1
I thought so. Get out of here, lady. Step out of the car, sir.

WOMAN RUNS OUT OF THE CAR AND EXITS. MAN GETS OUT OF THE CAR.

COP 1
You like cliché whores, do ya?

MAN
No, no. I’m a married man.

COP 1
Not getting enough cliches at home, are ya?

MAN
No. I have never paid for clichés in my life!

COP 2
Oh no?

MAN
No!

COP 2
That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

MAN
(suddenly seduced)
Ooohh…

COP 1
Alright, mister, you’re coming with us.

MAN
You’re barking up the wrong tree!

THE MAN EXITS WITH COP 1 AND THE SCENE SWITCHES TO INTERVIEW.

COP 2 SITS IN ‘DRIVERS SEAT’.

INTERVIEWER
So what you’re saying is there are men who pay women to cliché them.

COP 2
Yeh. Sometimes in broad daylight. There’s two types of cliché whore:
you got yer He Likes Me for Me Girls and the Dark and Stormy Night Girls.

INTERVIEWER
Dark and Stormy Night?

COP 2
As in It Was A Dark And Stormy Night, yeh. The He Likes Me For Me Girls
are usually just trying to score a quick hit of social acceptance.
The Dark and Stormy Night Girls… well, those are hard core offenders.
They’re hooked on the cliché, and that’s how it spreads. No protection.

INTERVIEWER
Protection like…?

COP 2
Irony, insight… practically any amount of intellectual protection is better than none.

INTERVIEWER
What happens if cliches spread?

COP 2
Chaos. Total communication breakdown.

BLACKOUT.

RENATA
I don’t normally do clichés, man, unless I’m out partying with friends.

INTERVIEWER (VOICEOVER)
Renata, a part-time bartender in Chicago’s trendy Wrigleyville area, spoke to us
about casual cliché use.

LIGHTS UP.

RENATA
I mean, I don’t go looking for it. If it’s at a party, yeh, I might, you know,
get behind the eight ball. OK – occasionally, I’ll go for it
hook line and sinker. But it’s totally casual, man.

INTERVIEWER
What about the charges that clichés lead to harder things?

RENATA
That’s just what the government says, man.
The chances of getting hooked on clichés are, like, one in a million.

BLACKOUT.

INTERVIEWER
But evidence suggests that, once in the grip of clichés, it is almost
impossible to break free. The man we saw picking up the cliché whore earlier
eventually became a patient at the House Designed
to Break One of the Habit of Clichés, or HDBOOTHOC.
We spoke to him and his psychologist, Dr. Emmet Wilhelmi.

LIGHTS UP.

MAN
Yadda yadda yadda. Sup. Sup. Sup. Sup. Chillin’ like a villian.

WILHELMI
Martin – we’ll call him Martin, although his name is Henry Winslow – Martin has been
with us for some time. Breaking someone of clichés is a very arduous and long process.

MAN
Long? Long time no see. Long time no see.

INTERVIEWER
Martin, how are you feeling these days?

MAN
Cool as a cucumber, cool as a cucumber.
Give the devil his due. I stand out like a sore thumb, so it’s easy to nip it in the bud.

WILHELMI
As you can see, he can hear you and he can speak…
but he is unable to communicate in original thought.

INTERVIEW
(to MAN)
Can you understand what I’m saying? How long have you been here?

MAN
If you love something,
set it free. If it doesn’t come back it’s not meant to be.

WILHELMI
In fact, Martin has been with us for five months now.

INTERVIEW
Is he making progress?

WILHELMI
We’ve actually stopped treatment on Martin.

MAN
Pay dirt!

INTERVIEWER
Why’s that, doctor?

WILHELMI
He’s funny. And he makes a mean Tex-Mex Omelette. Six eggs.

MAN
Well, six of one, half dozen of the other.

INTERVIEW
Doctor, is there anything positive to be found from using clichés?

WILHELMI
It’s never a dull moment.

BLACKOUT.

LIGHTS UP. THE INTERVIEWER IS ALONE.

INTERVIEWER
So what have we learned here tonight?
Besides that sidewalks are mostly made up of concrete?
Don’t look to the leaders of the nation -
there is no war on clichés. Yet the damage is irrefutable.

Perhaps clichés are merely the next step in the evolutionary process,
a deconstruction of language as we know it,
an invalidation of communication on anything more than the most perfunctory level.
until we become big brown globs of poo-poo-ca-ca that have the ability to wear matching socks.
I’m Pretty Penny Workerbee. Good night.

BLACKOUT.

 

SUSPICIOUS CLOWNS MAIN PAGE