A Comedy Tonight

by Lead Fox

DISCLAIMER: All the characters used in this story belong to MCA/Universal. The routines used are also versions of existing material, with copyrights to (among others) the Marx Brothers, Abbot and Costello and Marvin Hamlisch. I believe the others are in the public domain, but if I am incorrect, please let me know! If you have comments or suggestions (and please be keep criticism constructive) feel free to e-mail me at: ericakhem@hotmail.com. Thanks!

[SCENE OPENS to an empty stage in a crowded theatre. There is a lot of noise from behind the proscenium: grunts, murmurs, war cries, etc. As the house torches are blown out, LILA enters onto the stage from the right. She waits patiently for the noise to die down from the audience and, then reads from her scroll. ]

LILA: "Hello and welcome to the first, and last, "Xenaide." We would like to start out by thanking you all for coming out tonight, and thanks to the theatre owner, Vaudevillous, for letting us use his stage. And he would like to remind everyone that there is a two-ale minimum for this evening. Alright, with that out of the way, we are here tonight to bid a fond farewell to Xena, my sister Gabrielle, Eve, Virgil and all the other still-surviving reoccurring characters from the Xena Scrolls. Xena and Gabrielle have been very fortunate these past thirty-two years, and have given us all many fond memories and stories. Tonight they would like to say good-bye with a laugh and smile. And they would also like to remind you that leather and horse feed is rather expensive, so please feel free to drop a few dinars in the baskets on your way out. And now, on with the show. May I present-- "The Forced Into Early Retirement Players"."

[A loud fanfare and the cast runs onto the stage from the wings. They are (in order of appearance ): XENA, GABRIELLE, EVE, VIRGIL, ARES, APHRODITE, KAHINA, GRUNHILDE, ODIN, SARAH and LILA. When the cheers of the crowd die down, the eleven players link arms and music begins to play. The curtain comes up and rows of AMAZON DANCERS (lead by VARIA ) dance behind them in sync with the main characters' dance.]

[Sung to the tune of "ONE" from "A CHORUS LINE" ]


One, final presentation, 'fore we are off the air

One little complication-- our rehearsals were rare

So Eve does not know her lines and it does show

Plus Gabby can't really sing, but she tries, you know?

We hope to make you laugh and we hope will all enjoy

So clap and be generous with your cash.

Now, please, give us your attention or do we really have to mention

(all indicate XENA ) She'll kick your--

(spoken )

KAHINA: "Hey Xena, do you always wear that leather getup?"

XENA: "I sure do. Just last week I killed a warlord in my breastplate."

KAHINA: "Really?"

XENA: "Yep. How he got in my breastplate, I'll never know."

(sung )


Who will be the first mess up? We have all placed our bets.

Now it is time to dress up, it's as good as it gets.

And if someone does screw up while they are on the stage,

We all just pray it's not her (all indicate XENA ) she's prone to rage...

O-kay, let's start the show now, we're gonna try our best

For these girls are second best to none, hon

Now, let's get it up and going, since it's our last showing

Let's have...

We'll have...

You'll have...

Please have fun!

[All bow in unison, and then run off stage, leaving GABRIELLE and EVE alone on stage ]

GABRIELLE: "So Eve, you'll never believe who I ran into on the way here tonight."

EVE: "Who, Gabrielle?"

GABRIELLE: "Heiphestus, the formerly disfigured God of volcanoes."

EVE: "Oh, so he's not disfigured anymore?"

GABRIELLE: "No, he just lost his godhood!" [GABRIELLE mugs to the audience ]

EVE: "Oh, so he's still disfigured? That's horrible." [GABRIELLE looks at EVE ]

GABRIELLE: "Well, uh...yeah...but..."

EVE: "I know! I'll go see if I can cure him in the name of Eli!" [EVE skips off stage ]

GABRIELLE: "It's just, you think he's better, but in fact he's just not a God...that's why it's funny..." [GABRIELLE slinks off stage ]

[Black out. When lights come up again APHRODITE is center stage. There is an empty bench to her right and VIRGIL sits on a stool to her right. A sheet separates the stool and the bench.]

APHRODITE: "Okay, so here's the deal. Virgil here has, like, a snowball's chance in Hades of getting it together with Gab, so we're gonna set him up with one of these foxes here, okay?"

[EVE enters and sits on the bench ]

APHRODITE: "Bachelorette number one is a wicked cool warrior-babe in training. She's well-traveled, well-toned and says the main inspiration of her life is her mother."

[SARAH enters and sits on the bench ]

APHRODITE: "Bachelorette number two says she really wants to go where everybody knows her name and hopes that they will be glad she came. She also dances, sails and looks forward to spending more time with her remaining family."

[KAHINA enters and sits on the bench ]

APHRODITE: "Bachelorette number three is a big fan of sun, sand and, when she can find it, surf. She runs her own tribe and likes playing a new sport she invented called polo! Okay, so let's, like, start the game."

VIRGIL: "Number one, what's your idea of a fun time?'

EVE: "For a while I was really into adventures and backflips and ruling by my sword...but now I like to spend hours at a time praying and repenting in the name of Eli and forgetting all about my dark past."

VIRGIL: "Okay...Number two, sweetheart, where are you been all my life?"

SARAH: "Well, I have spent most of my years in slavery, being the forced concubine to a series of North African sheiks and beating the other nameless women of the harem. But I'm trying to forget all about my dark past."

VIRGIL: "Uh-huh...Number three, I like a mysterious girl, are you mysterious?"

KAHINA: "Well, I know how to hide in the sand and attack in the middle of a sand storm while keeping my eyes open."

VIRGIL: "I guess that counts as mysterious."

KAHINA: "But I don't have a dark past I'm trying to forget."

VIRGIL: "Oh really? Well, well, well..."

APHRODITE: "Oh wait, hold on a second. I just got word that, like, Kahina here is way too old for you. I mean, come on, she's in, like, her third character of the Xenaverse already. So come on Melosa--I mean Kahina, we got someone else to take your place."

[KAHINA shrugs, gets up, exits and is replaced by GRUNHILDE ]

APHRODITE: "Whoa, and I thought I was blonde. Okay, so our new bachelorette number three is a hot babe from the frozen north. She digs horseback riding, bird watching and escorting the dead into Valhalla."

VIRGIL: "Bachelorette number three?"


VIRGIL: "If you could be any tree, what tree would you be?"

GRUNHILDE: "Is that a crack about me being made out of twigs for thirty years?"

VIRGIL: "What?"

GRUNHILDE: "Why didn't you ask me what I would like to do on a date or if I'm mysterious?"

VIRGIL: "Um, okay, sorry. So...what do you like to do for fun?"

GRUNHILDE: "Well, first off I would try really hard not to think about how my finger got cut off and how my son was killed just because I was trying to save the world from the power of the ring. And I'd try not to focus on being locked in a quarry for over thirty years until I learned to forsake love..."

SARAH: "Wow, and I thought my past was dark."

EVE: "That's so awful. And so was yours, Sarah. I mean, I know how hard it is to not be called by your given name."

GRUNHILDE: "Well, I think it's awful what happened to you too, Eve."

EVE: "You know, I just love your little helmet."

SARAH: "And Eve, you have really great hair..."

VIRGIL: "Um, hello?! What about me?"

APHRODITE: "Oh it's all me, me, me isn't it? (to the girls ) Is he always like this?"

EVE: "Yep."

SARAH: "Say, who wants to go on a cruise?"

GRUNHILDE: "That sounds great."

EVE: "Sure, let's go."

APHRODITE: "Oh, I'm totally there."

[SARAH, EVE, GRUNHILDE and APHRODITE exit together.]

VIRGIL: "Hey, what about me? Hello? (no answer ) This game sucks."

[VIRGIL gets off his stool and starts to exit, whistling the 'Joxer The Mighty' theme. Gabrielle enters the opposite side, limping slightly in a pair of ragged boots.]

GABRIELLE: "Hey, Virgil!"

VIRGIL: "Oh hi Gabrielle. What's wrong?"

GABRIELLE: "Well, I busted up my last good pair of boots on the way here."

VIRGIL: "So why don't you get some more?"

GABRIELLE: "You didn't hear? The boot factory burned down."

VIRGIL: "Really? What happened?"

GABRIELLE: "Some heal started it." [GABRIELLE mugs to the audience ]

VIRGIL: "Was anyone hurt?"

GABRIELLE: "I'll say. Two hundred soles were lost." [GABRIELLE mugs to the audience ]

VIRGIL: "Gabrielle! That's not like you to laugh at so many people's misfortune. Quite frankly I'm a little disappointed." [VIRGIL exits, shaking his head ]

GABRIELLE: "No, wait. It's S-O-L-E-S, not S-O-U-L-S. Like in your shoes!" [GABRIELLE storms off stage ]

GABRIELLE: "Xena, can you please find me a partner who's a little less empathetic?!"

[Black out. Lights come up again on the AMAZON DANCERS and SARAH. Rhythmic music plays and they dance. Over the music, off stage voices can be heard. ]

(off stage)

GABRIELLE: "Xena, I can't perform under these conditions."

XENA: "Hush, don't talk so loud. Here, pull this."

GABRIELLE: "Like this?"

XENA: "Mmm-hmm, perfect. Now just keep your hands right there."

GABRIELLE: "Listen to me, Xena. I'm giving you all I can."

XENA: "I know."

GABRIELLE: "But I'm not getting anything back here."

XENA: "What do you mean? You got two climaxes in that last one."

GABRIELLE: "And they both got screwed up the straight man."

XENA: "You can't blame the straight man for everything. Don't stop pulling."

GABRIELLE: "Wow, your hands are strong. Anyway, I won't stop. I don't think we want to expose ourselves while those amazons are dancing."

XENA: "So what do you want me to do for you?"

GABRIELLE: "I want you to do it with me."

XENA: "You want me to play the straight man?"

GABRIELLE: "Like it's such a stretch. You're already doing it with Ares."

XENA: "I think I'm getting a cramp."

GABRIELLE: "Here, switch hands with me. You tug on mine and I'll hold on yours."

XENA: "Can't you ask Aphrodite?"

GABRIELLE: "No, she's way too...blonde."

XENA: "You want to do it with Grunhilde?"

GABRIELLE: "I barely know her."

XENA: "There's no time like the present."

GABRIELLE: "No, I'll just do it with Odin."

XENA: "My fingers are slipping..."

GABRIELLE: "No, don't let go."

XENA: "I can't hold it anymore...I think it's going to come..."

[The upstage curtain falls crashing to the ground, revealing the backstage and XENA and GABRIELLE, looking very surprised. GABRIELLE is holding the rope for the downstage curtain and the rope for the upstage curtain is swinging just above XENA's head.]

XENA: "...loose..."

[GABRIELLE lets her rope go and the upstage curtain falls. The audience roars with laughter and ODIN rushes onto the stage, in front of the curtain.]

ODIN: "Well, I guess that's the last time we let the mortals run the backstage crew, eh?"

[XENA pops her head out between the curtains ]

XENA: "This is going to take just a second." [XENA pulls her head back inside ]

(off stage)

XENA: "I told you not to stop pulling!"

GABRIELLE: "Me? You're the one who let the rope slip!"

ODIN: "Well, I guess it is my turn then! Mortal followers of Xena, I present to my own original segment: 'Dumb Domesticated Animal Tricks'"

[GABRIELLE pops her head out between the curtains]

GABRIELLE: "Can't do it, Odin, Vaudevillous won't let the horse in the theatre."

ODIN: "What about my ravens?"

GABRIELLE: "They flew south for the winter."

ODIN: "My ravens flew south for the winter?"

GABRIELLE: "Hey, you're the one who hired outside of the union."

[GABRIELLE pulls her head back inside ]

ODIN: "Okay, fine. In that case, I have a hilarious collection of misprinted headlines from news scrolls around the known world..."

[XENA pops her head out between the curtains ]

XENA: "Pssst. Can't do that, either."

ODIN: "Well why not?"

XENA: "There was...an accident. [ODIN raises an eyebrow to XENA ] Okay, so Grunhilde bet me I couldn't remember how to set things on fire from a distance."

ODIN: "Oh no..."

XENA: "Well hey, at least I made five dinars!" [XENA pulls her head back in ]

ODIN: "Okay, okay, I see how it is. Pick on the Norse god, he can take a joke. Well I've got one trick left up my sleeves that will make theirs pale in comparison. I give you, Odin, The King of All Norse Gods' Glimpse Into The Future! Do any of you have a question about the future?"

AUDIENCE MEMBER: "Will democracy finally be restored, or will we still be forced to accept power being passed on to the son of our previous leader?"

ODIN: [Pause ] "Well...I have some good news and I have some bad news..."

(off stage )

XENA: "Okay, we're ready!"

ODIN: "Oh thank goodness..." [ODIN rushes off stage.]

[Curtain comes up and CALLISTO stands, in full "evil Callisto" army garb. She picks her fingernails with her sword and looks expectantly to the off stage wing. GABRIELLE enters the stage. She is taken aback by who greets her. ]

CALLISTO: "Hi, Gabrielle."

GABRIELLE: "Callisto?! How...aren't you...and Eve..."

CALLISTO: "It's showbiz, Gabrielle, it doesn't have to make sense."

GABRIELLE: "Oh...kay."

CALLISTO: "So, hi Gabrielle."

GABRIELLE: "Hi Callisto. How are you today?"

CALLISTO: "Horrible, emptiness, death, oblivion, the whole deal. Oh! But I did run into someone much worse off than me!"

GABRIELLE: "Oh really?"

CALLISTO: "Yes, on the way here I came across this poor villager, Rubio, who told me he hadn't had a bite for days."

GABRIELLE: "Oh no..."

CALLISTO: "So you know what I did?"

GABRIELLE: "I'm afraid to ask."

CALLISTO: "I cut his head off!" [A large fanfare. CALLISTO does a curtsy ]

GABRIELLE: "Aaargh!" [GABRIELLE storms off stage. CALLISTO shrugs and exits ]

[Blackout. When the lights come up again ARES and XENA are center stage. Behind them is the backdrop of a battlefield and the layout of an army fort. ]

ARES: "So, Xena, I hope you have forgiven me about that little misunderstanding with the twenty-five year freeze and all."

XENA: "Forget about it Ares, it's forgotten. In fact, I've decided now that the show is over to get back into the warlord business."

ARES: "You have?"

XENA: "Sure. Battles, forts, temples, all for the glory of Ares and all that good stuff. There's just one thing."

ARES: "What's that?"

XENA: "Well, it seems that us warriors have all sorts of strange names these days."

ARES: "Example?"

XENA: "For starters, Who's on look-out, What's on tower guard, I Don't Know's on gate patrol..."

ARES: "Okay, tell me your regiment."

XENA: "I just did."

ARES: "Oh. Who did you say is on look-out?"

XENA: "Yes."

ARES: "The warrior's name?"

XENA: "Who."

ARES: "The warrior on look-out."

XENA: "Who."

ARES: "What is his name?"

XENA: "No, What is the name of the warrior on tower guard."

ARES: "That's what I'm asking you."

XENA: "Who is the warrior on look-out."

ARES: "I don't know!"

XENA: "No, he's on gate patrol."

ARES: "Wait a second."

XENA: "No, he's the boiling oil man."

ARES: "What?"

XENA: "He's on tower guard."

ARES: "Just tell me who is on look-out"

XENA: "Yes, that's the warrior's name."

ARES: "That's who's name?"

XENA: "Yes."

ARES: "Tell me his name."

XENA: "That is his name."

ARES: "That's who?"

XENA: "Right."

ARES: "Look, do you have a look-out or not?"

XENA: "Of course we do."

ARES: "Who is doing it?"

XENA: "That's right."

ARES: "What is the name of the guy doing it?"

XENA: "No, What is on tower guard. The warrior on look-out is Who."

ARES: "I don't know."

XENA: "He's gate patrol." [Pause ]

ARES: "Okay, if you have to ask the look-out a question, how do you get his attention?"

XENA: "I yell his name."

ARES: "And that warrior's name is?"

XENA: "Who."

ARES: "The warrior on look-out."

XENA: "Who."

ARES: "If you shout his name, who turns around?"

XENA: "You got it."

ARES: "No, I don't got it. All I want to know is what's the warrior's name on look-out."

XENA: "No, What is on tower guard."

ARES: "I'm not asking you who is on tower guard."

XENA: "Who's on look-out."

ARES: "I don't know!"

XENA: "Gate patrol."

ARES: "How did we get to gate patrol? I thought we were talking about look-out."

XENA: "Well, you said his name."

ARES: "I said who is on gate patrol?"

XENA: "No, Who is on look-out."

ARES: "So what is the name of the warrior on gate patrol?"

XENA: "No, What is the name of the warrior on tower guard."

ARES: "I don't know!"

XENA: "Gate patrol."

ARES: "Now I'm back to gate patrol!"

XENA: "If you don’t want to talk about gate patrol, stop bringing him up." [Pause ]

ARES: "Okay, okay...so you have your defensive warriors set. Do you have any offensive warriors?"

XENA: "Well, yeah most of the them are. Perverts, too."

ARES: "Who is a pervert?"

XENA: "No, Who is too busy keeping a look-out."

ARES: "I don't know."

XENA: "He's on gate patrol. I thought you didn't want to talk about him anymore."

ARES: "I don't!" [Pause ]

ARES: "Okay, okay...do you have an archer?"

XENA: "Yes."

ARES: "What's his name?"

XENA: "No, What is on tower guard."

ARES: "I don't care about the guards. I want to know about the archer."

XENA: "Why."

ARES: "I just want to know."

XENA: "I told you."

ARES: "You told me what?"

XENA: "He's on tower guard."

ARES: "Your archer is on tower guard?"

XENA: "No, the archer is sitting over there." [points into audience ]

ARES: "Why?"

XENA: "Right."

ARES: "No, why is the archer sitting over there?"

XENA: "You got it now."

ARES: "I don't got anything! Just tell me the archer's name!"

XENA: "Why."

ARES: "Because!"

XENA: "No, he's the spear man." [Pause ]

ARES: "Okay, look, do you have a boiling oil man?"

XENA: "Yes, In A Second."

ARES: "So you haven't hired him yet?"

XENA: "Yes I did."

ARES: "You just aren't telling me?"

XENA: "I am telling you: In A Second."

ARES: "Why won’t you tell me now?"

XENA: "You want the archer to tell you?"

ARES: "What?"

XENA: "No, he's on tower guard."

ARES: "I don't want to know the tower guard, I want to know the name of the boiling oil man."

XENA: "In A Second."

ARES: "Tell me now!"

XENA: "I just did!"

ARES: "Tell me who is the boiling oil man!"

XENA: "No Who is..."

ARES: "Don't you dare tell me who is tower guard."

XENA: "He's not. What is the man on tower guard."

ARES: "I don't know."

TOGETHER: "Gate patrol." [Pause ]

ARES: *sigh* "Do you have anyone else?"

XENA: "We have an ax expert."

ARES: "What's his name?"

XENA: "No, What is on tower guard."

ARES: "So who is the ax expert?"

XENA: "No, Who is on look-out."

ARES: "Tell me the name of the ax expert."

XENA: "Hold On."

ARES: "I don't want to, I want to know now."

XENA: "You do know now."

ARES: "I know what?"

XENA: "Of course you do, he's one of your loyal followers."

ARES: "Who is?"

XENA: "Yes, him too."

ARES: "This is driving me crazy!"

XENA: "Oh, he works the catapult." [Pause ]

ARES: "You know, I'm a pretty good warrior myself."

XENA: "Of course you are."

ARES: "I'm not just all talk and god magic. I can fight too."

XENA: "I know you can."

ARES: "So let's say I want to join your little warrior camp. One night I'm out riding scout patrol and I see some bandits coming over the hill. I race back to camp and I tell who?"

XENA: "That's the first thing you've said right all day."

ARES: "I don't even know what I'm saying!"

XENA: "Well at least you did the right thing."

ARES: "By telling who?"

XENA: "Yes."

ARES: "And now who tells everyone else?"

XENA: "Naturally."

ARES: "Oh, okay, now we're getting somewhere! I ride back and tell who."

XENA: "Naturally."

ARES: "Naturally?"

XENA: "Yes, naturally."

ARES: "I got it! So Naturally is on look-out."

XENA: "No, Who is."

ARES: "Naturally."

XENA: "You got it."

ARES: "So Naturally is the name of the warrior on look-out."

XENA: "No, Who is."

ARES: "That's what I said."

XENA: "No, you go it wrong."

ARES: "So the warrior on look-out is Naturally?"

XENA: "The warrior on look-out is Who."

ARES: "Naturally."

XENA: "Yes."

ARES: "Then I'm right."

XENA: "No, you got it wrong. Try it again."

ARES: "The warrior on look-out is who?"

XENA: "Naturally."

ARES: "That's the same thing I said!"

XENA: "Well, you're saying it wrong!"

ARES: "That does it! So I am riding and I see the bandits coming. I run and I tell Who is on look-out. Whoever that is then warns What, the warrior on tower guard. What spreads the word to I Don't Know on gate patrol. I Don't Know opens the gate and the boiling oil is dropped by In A Second. Why has arrows Because has spears and When has an ax. Why does this happen? I don't know! And he's on gate patrol and you can all go to Hades!"

XENA: "What did you say?"

ARES: "I said go to Hades."

XENA: "Oh, he's my second in command."

[Blackout. When lights come up, all the players come out to the stage and bow. XENA and GABRIELLE come out last, together. At center stage, they embrace and each take a second bow. When the audience dies down, they speak.]

GABRIELLE: "Thank you. Thank you very much."

XENA: "We want to thank you for coming out and supporting our little...what did you call this?"

GABRIELLE: "Our chance to show an artistic and comedic side of ourselves."

XENA: "Yeah. And thanks for dropping a few dinars in the baskets. These people don't work for free, you know."

GABRIELLE: "And we just want to let you all know that this is not the last of us. We plan on roaming and adventuring for years still before we slow down."

XENA: "And you can count on Gabrielle to write it all down."

GABRIELLE: "So don't forget about us..."

XENA: "And we won't forget about you."

[The two take a final bow and the curtain goes down. Several minutes pass before the audience stops its roar and files out of the theatre. After everyone leaves, one torch at the edge of the stage is lit. XENA and GABRIELLE sit at the edge of the stage.]

GABRIELLE: "That wasn't funny, Xena."

XENA: "You didn't want to use Odin as your straight man."

GABRIELLE: "You could have at least told me."

XENA: "And miss the look on your face?"

GABRIELLE: "I still didn't get any big laughs tonight."

XENA: "Maybe not, but it isn't always about getting the biggest laugh."

GABRIELLE: "Easy for you to say, you and Ares got the biggest laugh."

XENA: "Yeah, but you wrote it. You know that Vaudevillous wants us to come back and do that again?"

GABRIELLE: "Really? What did you say?"

XENA: "Are you kidding? I don't even remember half of it. And besides, this whole stand up and tell jokes thing will never catch on."

GABRIELLE: "No, probably not. I guess this was kind of a silly idea, wasn't it?"

XENA: "Nah, we earned a couple of dinars and had some fun."

GABRIELLE: "So...where do we go from here?"

XENA: "I don't know....How does west strike you?"

GABRIELLE: "Into the sunset?"

XENA: "Mmm-hmm."

GABRIELLE: "Let's go."


*Author's note: "Straight Man" is a term used in Vaudeville for the person who plays dumb/asks the questions so that the other person can deliver the punch lines. The pun is fully intended.

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