Thursday, February 09, 2006

The source of the sauce gag

Since writing my last post, seven (yes, 7!) readers have emailed to tell me that the 'may the sauce be with you' (at the end of the post) is quite possibly the worst joke they have ever heard. They didn't comment on the blog because that would be hurtful. But they felt the need to email and register their disapproval. Standards are slipping, it seems.

And so I feel the need to explain. You see, weekday posts are generally written at my desk. Luckily my work involves reading and checking manuscripts on screen all day so penning the odd blog posting can be easily concealed. However, weekend posts are obviously written at home. I tend to sit on the sofa with the lap top on my knee while Scrappino mucks about around me. He is usually either watching Dr Who, sticking stamps in his album (bizarrely, not nearly as dull a hobby as you might imagine) or painting an AirFix plane (amazing how that's the first reference to the planes on this blog. I might well have to come back to those). What it means though is that posts written at home at the weekend can be seen by Scrappino.

The post about Star Wars was written while Scrappino was still suffering the tail end of his flu. So I sat on one side of the sofa, laptop on knee, and he sat on the other, head on my shoulder, nose sniffling and his throat breathing heavily like Darth Vader (appropriately enough). As I wrote, he had one eye on the TV screen and the other on the computer screen. He read the conversation we'd had earlier that day, recalling my inability to follow the plot of the Star Wars films. And about his Yoda impersonations. And then I (very proudly) recounted his (yes, his) gag about the tomato sauce. Because, you see, it was Scrappino's gag. It went something like this:

Me: Where's the tomato sauce?
Scrappino: On the table, it is.
Me: Can you pass it to me?
Scrappino: Yes. (He gets up and fetches the sauce - then hands it to me) May the sauce be with you.

Now, I must admit that I laughed out loud. Because, for an eight year old, that's really not a bad gag at all. I mean, it's quite a clever play on words and given the fact that, at the very moment he said it, Anakin Skywalker was in the process of transforming into Darth Vader, it was quite a topical gag too. So I have to admit that I was very proud of him. For someone who likes to make others laugh, it's brilliant when your offspring show that they can do it too.

So, when I was writing the post I included Scrappino's gag and wrote how proud I was of it. But Scrappino, reading over my shoulder, wasn't happy. He was adamant that I shouldn't put it in the post. In fact, he wasn't that keen on the whole Yoda impersonation thing either. So, mother and son reached a compromise. I'd include the Yoda conversation but would take out the sauce gag. But when we read the finished post it didn't seem to have a particularly strong ending. Scrappino thought (everyone's a bloody critc) that without the sauce joke there would be no 'end' to the story, and he knows from school that every story has to have a 'beginning' a 'middle' and an 'end'. Except Star Wars, which has an 'end' a 'beginning' and a 'middle'. So I tentatively suggested that we put the sauce joke back in. He agreed, reluctantly, on the condition that I pretend that it was my joke and not his. I asked why he didn't want the joke attributed to him but he just shrugged and said 'dunno'. As good an answer as you often get from an eight year old. So, we doctored the story somewhat and the gag became mine.

What is amazing is that, when I explained to the seven critics (the ones who'd emailed to say that the joke was the worst they'd heard in a long time) that the joke was actually Scrappino's joke, suddenly it became the gag of the week. My god, isn't he hilarious.! How funny! What a great sense of humour! This about a gag that seconds before had been so poor it would have been rejected from a Jim Davidson routine. So the question is this. Why is a joke funny when Scrappino makes it, but terrible when I make it? And should I be encouraging him to write more of my material in future? Or should I just throw in the towel and put the kid on the stage instead of me? Answers gratefully received…


Anonymous Anonymous said... must remain true and not succumb to the dark side.

Hu' Flange-Gusset

3:03 pm  
Anonymous Z said...

Definitely cultivate Srappino's talent!
Maybe you should set him up with his own blog?! - It might even win Best Humour Blog next year!
(Btw, I think you've come joint 6th for Best New Blog - many congrats and mazel!)

3:47 pm  
Blogger Philipos said...

Scrappino's decision to have the fictional R.X say the line showed good editorial instinct. He realized that if the fictional Scrappino said the line it would induce universal vomiting –truly the gag of the week-whereas having the fictional adult quip the words merely elicited the throwing of large, real objects. It was a good "gag" and you should be proud that the fictional you got to say it.

10:48 pm  
Blogger MC Aryeh said...

Go Scrappino! Perhaps an opening spot on your tour is in order. After having seen Spaceballs, "may the sauce be with you" doesn't seem nearly so bad...even when said by an adult!

2:13 am  
Blogger R.x said...

Anon - I'll do my best to make sure Scrappino is not tempted by the dark side. But flaunting your flange-gusset isn't helpful...

Z - Can you imagine if Scrappino had his own blog? I'm not sure the world is ready for his Dr Who/Spitfire/StarWars ramblings. Thanks for the congrats - but I'm not sure if you were being ironic. Joint 6th?? That's worse than coming last...oh well, there's always next year...

Ploni - 'truly the gag of the week' - brilliant. Almost choked on my breakfast reading that. Do you want a guest spot some time?

MC - welcome back. We've missed you. Nice idea, but I think I'll stick with that old advice about not putting your kids on the stage...

10:30 am  
Anonymous Jason Strugnell said...

Rx I'm still bewitched by all the snuggling up under duvet in the big chair mentioned in the previous post. How big is the Big Chair? Room for two?

The answer to your questions was d) !! I studied Wendy Cope while at university. Standards have fallen, they let anyone in these days.

1:59 pm  
Blogger R.x said...

Jason - the chair is plenty big and there is definitely room for two people - but since i still don't know who (or where) you are, i think we'd best leave it there for now...

4:45 pm  

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