Same or Different


John Malpede
47 Bond Street
New York, New York 10012
(212) 674-2101

(J.M. enters in sportscoat and tie, faces front, nods to audience, and begins walking in place.)

J.M.
You’re just walking through life.  (He gestures to feet.)  Everything seems fine, the trees grow up (He moves his hands, parallel to one another, up his body to indicate the outline of a tree trunk), everything is straight ahead.  (He makes a short, definite movement with his hands to emphasize the certainty of this.) Then, something happens that’s like this.

It just doesn’t fit, and not only that, it calls into question everything that’s straight up and down like this.  So, in fact, you’re no longer sure whether everything is like this

Or whether it’s like this.

You become very confused, and not just about the specific thing, but about everything.  See, if everything really is like this

And you thought it was like this

Then the truth is you’ve been going around living your life like this.

Uh-hu.  You can see that this could be a problem.  It’s at times like this, when everything is really up for grabs and it’s important to be able to answer for yourself the question: “Are things the same or are they different?” We’re going to be looking into this question and developing our survival skills here tonight as we play “Same or Different.”

I see there are a lot of celebrities in the audience tonight, and at this time, I’m not going to ask them to stand up for our applause because after all, many celebrities when they go out for the evening wish to do so as private individuals, and I certainly respect that.  So at this time let me extend an invitation to all those celebrities in the audience who wish to stand up and be acknowledged by your applause, please, now.

The other day I was leaning on a light pole and this guy came up to me and said:

(J.M. becomes the GUY by shifting his weight to the other leg.  The character is a gruff, WORKING CLASS MALE.)

GUY
“I wouldn’t stand there like that.”

J.M.
(Shifting weight to other leg)  Huh?

GUY
“I wouldn’t stand there like that!”
J.M.
You wouldn’t stand here like this?

GUY
“No.”

J.M.
Well, why not?

GUY
“I don’t want to.”

J.M.
There is a man in the audience whose profession it is to sort things out.  Milton Harber of Rutland, Vermont, will you come up please.

(J.M.’s eyes follow imaginary MILTON up from the audience.  J.M. plays MILTON as drawling, farmer.  Initially he is shy, but he gets excited as he talks of his profession.)

Thank you, MILTON.  Good to have you here.  Tell the audience what you do for a living.

MILTON
I’m a chicken sexer.

J.M.
A ‘chicken sexer’?

MILTON
That’s right, Johnny, I sex chickens for a living.

J.M.
Sounds illegal Milton.

MILTON
No, no.  Not at all, Johnny.  Johnny, when they’re small, there’s no way you can tell the male and the female chicks apart.  Of course later on you can.

J.M.
Later on?

MILTON
Sure, the difference between a rooster and a hen.

J.M.
Roosters are red –

MILTON
Not necessarily, Johnny, but there are a number of different ways to tell them apart when they’re grown up.

J.M.
But when they’re your there’s no way to tell them apart – male and female

MILTON
Well, it’s not like human babies.  There’s no thing you can point to on the chick and say, “See, that?  That’s a male!” or “See that?  That’s a female!”

J.M.
And yet it’s your job to tell them apart at birth.

MILTON
Gotta be done, Johnny.  No one wants to be feedin’ a whole lot of male chicks.  No, gonna sort our and slaughter most of them males.  See they’re all coming down the conveyor line like this (he extends hands, and follows movement of chickens along imaginary conveyor belt.) – and you got5ta take them lay-ers off like this.  And the males just keep going down the line to this mechanical arm and it comes down and flattens ‘em one, two, three.  Just like this, whup, whup, whup.  (He claps his hands together several times demonstrating how the mechanical arm flattens chicks.)  It’s fast and simple, Johnny, and you got your layers all safe right over here.

J.M.
Milton, what’s important for us to know is: How do you do it?  If there’s nothing to look for in the chick, how can you judge its sex?

MILTON
Well, Johnny, I don’t have any special powers or nothing.  I mean anyone could learn to do it the same as I did.


J.M.
How’s that, Milton?

MILTON
Well, you learn by bein’ with someone who is doin’ it.  Ya’ know, someone who already can sex the chicks.  And what you do is, as the chicks go by, you look at ‘em and just, sort of, guess “male” or “That one’s a female” and the fella who can tell, he’ll say “Yup” or “Nope.”  And after a while, it could take a year or two depending, you get so you’re able to call ’em as you see ‘em and be right about 99% of the time.

Ya’ know, I got some chicks backstage with me.  So I could give you a lesson right now, Johnny.

J.M.
Well, Milton, thanks for offering.  But now it’s time to play Same or Different.

MILTON
Thank you, Johnny, but ya’ know I just gotta tell you about something that happened to me the other day that really does beat all.

J.M.
Well, uh –

MILTON
I was leaning on a lamppost and this guy comes up to me and says, “I wouldn’t stand there like that.”

J.M.

Like this (J.M. imitates the GUY’s rough gravely voice) – “I wouldn’t stand there like that.”

MILTON
Ya!  Like that!  So I says, “Huh?”

J.M.
(As GUY)  “I wouldn’t stand there like that.”

MILTON
You wouldn’t stand here like this?

J.M.
(As GUY)  “Right, I wouldn’t stand there like that.”

MILTON
Why not?


GUY
“Why not?”

MILTON
Ya, Why wouldn’t you stand here like this?

GUY
“If I were you I wouldn’t stand there like that, that’s all.”

MILTON
But, you are standing there like that.

GUY
“Ya, I am.  But if I were you I wouldn’t stand there like that.”
MILTON
Hu?  (Long pause.  Exasperated.)  Well, why not?

GUY
“I wouldn’t want to.”

J.M.
Hu!  That must have been the same guy who came up to me the other day.  Well, yo heard me talking about him before, when you were sitting in the audience.

MILTON
Well sure, Johnny.  That’s why I told you.

J.M.
Thank you Milton.  (They shake hands.)  Thank you for being with us.  And now (turns to audience) it’s time to play “Same or Different.”

Here’s how you play:

The carved coconut Indian, (J.M. holds up a coconut that has been carved and painted as an American Indian.)  And Friday.  (In his other hand J.M. holds a cube with the word “Friday” printed on one face.)  (J.M. addressing the audience:)

Same or Different?  Are they the same or are they different?

(Audience response.)

J.M. (cont.)
I’d say different, right?  O.K.?  Different!  Now, what about the 8-ball (Holds up 8-ball) and the number eight (holds up white 8 printed on black cardboard)? What about it?  Same or different?

(Audience response.)

Same? Different?  Not sure, hu?  Fifty-fifty?  Well let’s see.  What about this very special item, the miniature Korean crown shrouded in plexiglass (J.M. holds up paper-weight of same) and the inverted feather duster (J.M. hold up upside-down feather duster).  Same or different?

(Audience response.)

Same?  Different?  You don’t know?  You’re sure they’re no the same?  O.K.  It’s a tough one.  What about the feather duster and the coconut-chief?  Ah!  Same, hu?  Same.  O.K.  I think we’re getting somewhere.  Uh-huh.  I can sense real development in your ability to sort things out.

In the audience we have another interesting fella along the lines of the chicken sexer.  Would you come up, Mr. Farber.

(J.M. plays DUCK RABBIT SEXER as he did CHICKEN SEXER – i.e.,  RURAL SOUTHERNER.)

J.M.
Welcome, Mr. Farber, and you are a _____________?

FARBER
“I’m a Duck-Rabbit Sexer, Johnny.”

J.M.
A “Duck-Rabbit Sexer.”

FARBER
“That’s right.  Until they’re matured, you can’t tell them apart.”

J.M.
Let me get this straight.  A baby duck is indistinguishable from a baby rabbit?

FARBER
“Yup!”

J.M.
Amazing!  But true!

FARBER
“If I may, Johnny, I’ll give you a demonstration.”

J.M.
Good.  Fine.

FARBER
(Picks up Duck-Rabbit sign.)  “What do you see, Johhy?”

J.M.
Ask the audience.

FARBER
(FARBER holds up Duck-Rabbit sign to audience.)



“Well, what do you see?”

(AUDIENCE: “Duck,”  “Rabbit,”  “Duck.”)

“Duck!  That is correct!

“Now relax, close your eyes for 10 seconds.  Now look.  What do you see?

(AUDIENCE: “Duck,”  “Rabbit,”  “Duck.”)

“That’s right!”

“And now?”

(“Duck, duck.”)

“No.  No.  That’s a rabbit.  A rabbit.  Look again.  A rabbit.  It’s O.K., O.K.  You’ll get it.”

J.M.
Excuse me, Mr. Farber, but I’m confused.

FARBER

“Hu?”

J.M.
I’m confused. 

FARBER
“Hu?”

J.M.
(Emphatically)  I’m confused.

FARBER
(Surprised)  “Oh, you’re confused.”  (Long pause.)

J.M.
Aren’t you going to ask me about what?

FARBER
“Hu?”

J.M.
Aren’t you going to ask me about what?

FARBER
“Ask you about what?”  (Exasperated.)

J.M.
About being confused

FARBER
“What about being confused?”

J.M.
I’m confused

FARBER
“Oh!  You’re confused.  Well, don’t dump it on me, Johnny.  Jeez, you invite me on as a guest.  I mean it’s not fair.  (He shakes head.)  Just don’t do it.”

J.M.
(J.M. steps forward and addresses audience.)  Thank you for playing “Same or Different” and may all your confusions be peut-etre.



END














Ċ
Jaekyung Jung,
Apr 8, 2009, 9:53 AM