Writing Switch: A form of Mad Libs by a couple of mad lads
Improv! It’s a really funny concept that often ends in really unfunny fashion. If you’re talented and smart enough to excel off the cuff, it’s great, but no one thinks your go-to butter-churning bit is funny. Why would you even go colonial?
However, this is where we find ourselves after essentially improvising this column idea. It started off as madlibs, but we were too busy listening to bootleg Eminem CDs on family road trips to learn the rules. We switched to picking categories and finished with selecting places/activities/people for each other, some bartering included. It is the offseason, after all — this is the time to tinker/get weird. So enjoy a night at the improv with the Super Laugh Bros.
Place: Kemo Sabe • Activity: Shoplifting • With: John Denver
SB: In the early days of Kemo Sabe, John Denver was visiting Aspen. As he was strolling through what would later become his park singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads” because he, too, could never get the song out of his head, an evil wizard from the future popped out of the shrubbery.
“Johnny D, I’m sorry, man. I don’t have anything personal against you but I can’t handle the ‘Take Me Home’ sing alongs anymore. I was on Broadway Street in Nashville the other night, and they played it four times at three different bars. I woke up humming it. I’m just going to give you a little jail time to temper that career. Abra cadabra!”
Upon walking into Kemo Sabe, possessed by the wizard, John Denver slipped a couple high-end handkerchiefs into his back pocket. A man in the back corner walked up to John Denver, leaned up to him and whispered, “Agent Michael Scarn. Stick ’em up. I’m holding a gun.”
Using his lone improv tactic, Agent Scarn unknowingly preempted a career-ending robbery and him and John Denver went on to defeat the wizard and everyone sang “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
Place: Aspen jail • Activity: Brewing toilet alcohol • With: Lance Armstrong
BW: The guy who (allegedly) held people at gunpoint on Independence Pass stormed into Shaun’s cell. Braden threw a Power Rangers pillow at Shaun’s head, missing but knocking over his McDonald’s bag. Shaun lurched out of the cot.
“It doesn’t need to ferment that long!” Braden screamed, pulling a smartphone out of his rectum. “Do I need to make a call?” He waved the device inches from Shaun, who recoiled either in fear of its pungent aroma or the repercussions of a message to Don Tony Chachere.
Shaun had arrived at the Aspen city jail seven hours ago on suspicion of drinking at the Colorado Mountain College disc golf course. Now the inmates were in a frenzy as his urine potentially still contained the alcoholic contents of those four Modelos — even though he has to pee very frequently — and boy were they thirsty.
Shaun stirred a thermometer around the bowl, and it read 78 degrees; the gluten should be fermenting nicely. “It’s almost ready,” he mumbled.
Suddenly the cell block went quiet. A whirring, or maybe a humming, approached. Lance Armstrong dismounted and entered the room.
“I need fresh piss,” he barked, grabbing a mason jar from the windowsill that overlooks the Rio Grande.
“But that’s my starter!” Shaun objected. “Also, I wouldn’t call it fresh.”
Armstrong growled, took off his Livestrong bracelet and snapped Shaun across the nipple. Shaun winced and let out a small cry.
“The Aspen 5K Turkey Trot is tomorrow and I will NOT be embarrassed again,” Armstrong sneered, giving the jar a shake and taking a swig before storming out.
Shaun stared back into the toilet bowl. Only one pint, for all these co-mingling men and women, was left until the judge returns Monday to grant parole.
Place: Lobby of The Little Nell • Activity: Protesting • With: Angry parents
SB: Jan, upon hearing that The Little Nell was hosting a social media star conference, flooded into the lobby of the hotel in protest with other parents.
“Do you know how depressing it is for your child to be part of the Lo-Gang,” one parent shouted.
Another lady shrieked, “Think of the children!”
Jan decided to take out her phone to tape the protest so she could put it on Facebook. When she finally got the camera app pulled up, it was the perfect time.
The crowd started chanting, “Rights not likes! Rights not likes! Rights not likes!”
Jan, confused, turned to the enthused parent next to her and asked, “What rights are we lobbying for?”
The woman, drunk with rage, turned and yelled, “I don’t know but it rhymes!”
She then wheeled back in the crowd and screamed, “Let’s go viral!”
It was at that moment Jan realized that not only are these people idiots but she was still recording. She proceeded to slink out, unnoticed and slightly ashamed, but smiled as she uploaded the video to Facebook; a viral moment achieved.
Place: Rubey Park Transit Center • Activity: Visitng the lost and found • With: A street performer
BW: The ride back into Aspen from Snowmass was bumpier than usual, and I anxiously watched as my snowboard bobbled and jostled in the bus’s ski rack next to a broomstick.
Its presumed owner was sitting right across from me on the parallel seats at the back of the bus, while a frog occasionally burped inside his pocket and his hat kept yelling “GRYFFINDOR!” He smiled, unblinking, through half-moon glasses and a disgustingly soggy weepy eye.
The bus hit a pothole near the Castle Creek turnoff. As a tear was jostled onto his cheek I saw the broomstick dislodge from its holster and abscond into the center of the roundabout.
“Pick a card,” Dumbledore instructed, oblivious to the turn of events, holding out in front of me a Magic the Gathering deck. I made a selection. It said “Charizard.” The rest of the cards burst into flame and a baby Charmander crawled out of the ashes.
We disembarked at the transit center and I heard him say “Oh, dear. It appears I’ve lost my broomstick” to a ticket attendant in a voice that was like a bad Richard Harris impersonation. He felt around his two robe pockets and I wondered briefly if he was wearing anything underneath. “No matter,” he wheezed before drawing a large Slim Jim from his sleeve and stumbling down the path toward the Escobar patio.
Place: Dispensary • Activity: Trying out products . • With: City officials
SB: After a contentious City Council meeting, elected officials went out to look for a way to let off some stress. They couldn’t find a restaurant that was open during offseason, so they decided to go to the dispensary.
After showing their IDs, everyone but Steve Skadron — he forgot his ID — walked up to the display case.
“Hi, what are we looking for today?” the budtender asked.
“Cannabis,” Bert Myrin responded.
“OK, we have indica, sativa, hybrid, edibles, wax, shatters, oils, caviar, THC sodas, CBD sodas, dabs and a few other things. What are you thinking?”
“Ohhh, dabs sound fun,” Rachel Richards responded.
“I’ll take two CBD sodas,” Ward Hauenstein followed.
“I guess I’ll go … caviar,” Ann Mullins said.
After completing their purchase, the City Council members walked out to tune of “Electric Avenue.” They then snuck off into a nearby alley and started to try their goods.
Richards wielded her blowtorch, Ward chugged his sodas, Bert sparked a joint and Ann ate her caviar. A few minutes later, Rachel wondered off in search of chicken wings, Bert started in on a 45-minute paranoid rant about development, Steve Skadron listened because that was the only way he could hit the joint and Ward kept going on about how high he was.
It was at this moment Sheriff Joe DiSalvo walked by.
“Guys, how many times do I have to tell you not in public? You have homes. Goddamn it. You let Ann eat caviar again?”
Place: Glory Hole Park • Activity: Swinging • With: Rich old guy
BW: The murderous half moon rose like a clipped toenail being vacuumed from behind the couch. Bestern West wiped the snot from his brow as he moved to inspect the next tree. The name plate had been stolen years ago, now hanging in some ski bum’s subsidized apartment next to neighborhood watch and mile marker 420 signs. According to an old Google Maps printout, though, he knew he was in Glory Hole Park.
A port-a-potty once sat here, West thought to himself while running his fingers through a 6-by-6-foot square of dead grass. He examined a trampled spot in the shape of a pair of boots to its immediate right. That’s when West heard the squeak of swinging.
Glory Hole was a park, sure, but never a playground. Children didn’t climb the monkey bars here; couples with stale bread loaves harassed ducks, people too scared of the indoors read their Kindles and a red-haired townie named Dirty Dan took his smoke breaks with a new girl on a V8 visa every Thursday at noon.
Bestern screamed in surprise when a naked man wearing a crown tapped him on the shoulder. “Will you ‘old the camera, luv?” He followed the grinning crowned man into an enclave with “Fort Toad” above it.
Inside, pairs of men and women — some lovers, some siblings, some strangers — straddled each other atop monolithic A-frames. Their chains groaned and rubber seats squeaked as they swong back and forth with a velocity that sliced through the air.
With a holler, a couple suddenly ejected, making 1440 tomahawk fakie backgrips and landing in the sand pits provided.
The crowned man leaned into Bestern’s ear, discreetly handed him an Ikon Pass and whispered, “I know absolutely none of this makes sense right now.”
“Without any exception the worst snow storm known since the advent of the railroad west of Leadville has been raging over the crest of the continental divide since last Thursday,” asserted the Aspen Tribune on January 31, 1899.