Friday, 22 June 2012

Comedy sketch: So you want a pay rise?

A couple of weeks ago I posted the series of short Matt and Nev sketches I wrote for the BBC 'Jesting About' radio show. Here's a longer sketch that was recorded but did not make the final edit. Hope you enjoy it.


David Williams

FX                                                    OFFICE ATMOS

FRANK                                           You busy, boss?

BOSS                                              Frank, come in, you know my door’s always

                                                        open. Don’t stand on ceremony – perch

                                                        nervously on the edge of the chair.

                                                        This is about your pay-rise request, yes?

FRANK                                           Well, I’ve been here nearly three years now,

                                                        and I’ve never had...

BOSS                                              Three years. Time flies, eh? How many days

                                                        in a year, Frank?

FRANK                                           Eh? Oh, er... 365. (EAGER BEAVER) 366 in

                                                        a leap year.

BOSS                                              Good. Very, very good. That’s what I like

                                                        about you, Frank, you’re quick. And how

                                                        many hours in a day?

FRANK                                           (ENCOURAGED BY PRAISE) That’s easy.


BOSS                                              Of which you work?

FRANK                                           Oh, er, nine to five. (BRIGHTLY) That’s eight

                                                        hours, boss.

BOSS                                              Which is precisely one third of a day. So, over

                                                        the year. Come on, Rain Man, what’s one

                                                        third of 366 days?

FRANK                                           Mmm, that would be 122 days, boss.

BOSS                                              I said you were quick. Remind me, Frank, do

                                                        you work weekends at all?

FRANK                                           No, no. I’m staff side. We don’t...

BOSS                                              So, no Saturdays, no Sundays. Let’s see. 52

                                                        weeks in the year... By my reckoning that’s

                                                        104 days, which we take off your...?

FRANK                                           122.

BOSS                                              Which leaves...?

FRANK                                           (BEMUSED) Oh, er, 18.

BOSS                                              Very good. Now, Frank, holidays!

FRANK                                           (INTERESTED) Yes, that’s another thing I

                                                        was going to ask about...

BOSS                                              Of course, Frank, no subject barred. So

                                                        what’s your entitlement at the moment?

FRANK                                           Just 14 days, boss. I think you’ll agree...

BOSS                                              Don’t interrupt while I’m doing the sums. 18

                                                        minus 14, that’s...

FRANK                                           (HELPFUL) Four.

BOSS                                              Just got there before you, Frank. Wow, you

                                                        young guys keep me on my mettle. That’s

                                                        what I love about this business. Now, where

                                                        had we got to?

FRANK                                           Er... four?

BOSS                                              Oh, yes, four days. But of course the office is

                                                        closed Christmas Day.

FRANK                                           And New Year’s Day.

BOSS                                              Which leaves two days. Do you work Good

                                                        Friday, Frank?

FRANK                                           (BELATEDLY REALISING WHERE THIS IS

                                                        GOING) Ermmm, no. (BEAT) No.

BOSS                                              Easter Monday?

FRANK                                           (DEFEATED) No, boss.

BOSS                                              Well, Frank. You know me, always ready to
                                                         be persuaded by the facts. And in this case I
                                                         have to say your pay claim doesn’t stand up
                                                         to scrutiny. In the circumstances I think we’ve
                                                         been more than generous. According to the
                                                         figures you and I have just kicked around you
                                                         haven’t worked for this firm one single day.
                                                         (BEAT) Are you OK, Frank? You’ve suddenly
                                                         turned a little pale.

FRANK                                           I do feel a bit sick all of a sudden.

BOSS                                              (SYMPATHETIC) Ah Frank, mate, we can’t
                                                         have you working if you’re not well. Please,
                                                         with my blessing, take the rest of the day off.

FRANK                                           (WEAKLY) Thank you, boss. That’s very kind
                                                         of you.

BOSS                                              Not at all – you know my mantra; this
                                                         company’s greatest asset is its workforce,
                                                         and it has to be looked after. What time is it
                                                         now? 2 o’ clock. You get along home to bed,
                                                         I’ll let Accounts know they’ll need to dock
                                                         three hours off your salary this month.


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Would-be authors - 25 sentences NOT to include in your query letter

  1. ‘Dear Sir and/or Madam’

  1. ‘What’s that smell coming off the ms you’re holding? - that’s the smell of serious money.’

  1. ‘Friends who I have shown my book to all say things like: ‘the best story I ever read’, ‘definite best seller’, ‘it’ll make a great movie’ etc.’

  1. ‘Move over, Harry Potter.’

  1. ‘You’re gonna love it.’

  1. ‘This book is bound to fly off the shelves.’

  1. ‘This book will change the face of publishing forever.’

  1. ‘I didn’t see any other fantasy books on your list, so this is a great opportunity for you to publish in a popular genre.’

  1. ‘Your listing said no short stories, but you’ll find my short stories are very different.’

  1. ‘I have not included a synopsis as that would spoil the surprise at the end of the story.’

  1. ‘The story speaks for itself.’

  1. ‘I have not included the first three chapters as things don’t really get interesting until Chapter 4 - please find enclosed Chapters 4-10.’

  1. ‘I know you asked for only three chapters, but my book is finished and anyway I’m confident you’ll want to read on after the first three chapters so I’ve enclosed the whole thing.’

  1. ‘The single spacing and two-sided printing are not exactly according to your guidelines, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate the savings in postage.’

  1. ‘Excuse the handwritten ms - my typewriter is on the blink.’

  1. ‘You asked for submissions by post, but these days people find that email is quicker, cheaper, and gets right to your computer - please click the attachment above and start reading straightaway.’

  1. ‘Don’t take the risk of losing this in the slush pile - read it today.’

  1. ‘I’m not sure if it’s any good, but I suppose you’ll be the judge of that.’

  1.  ‘Please ignore the spelling mistaks - never my strong point at school.’

  1. ‘I noticed a few factual errors after I printed it out - but your proofreader will pick these up easily enough.’

  1. ‘As you’ll see from my pic enclosed, I have all the attributes your publicity people need for setting up celebrity interviews etc.’

  1. ‘Rather than taking up space here with my cv, here are the links to my website and Facebook page.’

  1. ‘More than twenty agents and publishers have rejected this already - please do not add your name to the list of the stupid.’

  1. ‘Please get back to me not later than the 17th - I have given the same deadline to everyone I’ve sent to so I can assess all offers and make a decision.’

  1. ‘Call me, but you’d better make it quick.’