"I Hate David Schwimmer"
A One Act Play
Dedicated to the Great and Incomparable
(THE SCENE OPENS UPON A TASTEFULLY FURNISHED ONE BEDROOM NEW YORK CITY CONDO
OVERLOOKING CENTRAL PARK. RECLINING ON THE COUCH, LEAFING THROUGH A COPY OF
THE MAGAZINE "ENTERTAINMENT" IS BRUCE EVANS, AN EARLY MIDDLE-AGED ACTOR OF
FADING GOOD LOOKS. HE IS WEARING A LONG WOMAN'S BLOUSE DRAPED OVER A LONG SKIRT,
WITH DARK WEB STOCKINGS AND HIGH HEELED BOOTS. LYING ON THE COCKTAIL TABLE IS A
FULSOME WIG AND A FULL DARK PHONY BEARD. HIS WIFE, LAURA WHITFIELD, WHO HAS
RETAINED HER MAIDEN NAME FOR PROFESSIONAL PURPOSES, WELL-DRESSED AND EARLY
MIDDLE-AGED ENTERS FROM THE VESTIBULE.)
Laura: What are you doing in my apartment and on my couch?
And, I can't believe it! You cleaned up. I didn't
believe you would ever shave again! And, what are you
doing in that get-up?
Bruce: It's from my last show, "The Eager Transvestites." Max
is bringing a producer over. So I'll need to audition
for him. Although, I don't believe it will make any
difference. I won't get the job, anyway.
Laura: That's what I like. A positive outlook.
Bruce: (STANDS UP AND WAVES HIS ARMS) Face it, Laura! I'm a
has-been! I'm over the hill! (DRAWS THE SKIN AROUND HIS
FACE) Look at my face! It's crinkling!
Laura: For God's sake, Bruce. You're only 40 years old!
Bruce: Look at David Schwimmer and see where he is!
Laura: (EXASPERATED)Will I have to hear about Schwimmer again?
Bruce: That nerd! That geek! That long string of bologna. They
say he earns a million dollars an episode on that
abominable TV show!
Laura: I wish you had never known him!
Bruce: Known him? He knew me! He kissed my ass all those years
at Northwestern. He thought I was a great actor. I was
his role model! I did "Shakespeare in the Park," for
God's sake. They're still talk about my Hamlet! And,
he's a nerd and makes a million dollars an episode.
Laura: (WALKS TO THE WINDOW AND POINTS DOWN) Well, why don't
you do Shakespeare again? They do it down there in
Central Park every Summer.
Bruce: (DROPS HIMSELF DOWN ON THE COUCH, SUBDUED) I can't
anymore. I'm allergic to cut grass and those bastards
keep cutting it all the time.
Laura: You mean you won't! There are off-off Broadway calls
all the time. Ever since you lost that soap opera job,
your life has stopped.
Bruce: Off-off Broadway? I have my standards.
Laura: And, I have the money! So, I support you while you
don't shower, sprout vegetation, crinkle up and blow
away. And, why are you using my apartment for this
Bruce: Have you seen mine?
Laura: No, I haven't looked in since the Department of
Sanitation taped it off as an environmental hazard.
Laura: (SHRUGS) OK! When are they coming? (THE DOOR BUZZER
SOUNDS) That must be them.
Bruce: Now, Laura, don't queer this deal for me.
Laura: Please don't use that word when you're wearing that
getup. (SHE STARTS TOWARD THE VESTIBULE) Coming!!
(THERE IS AN EXCHANGE OF HELLOS IN THE VESTIBULE AND MAX, A MIDDLE-AGED AGENT
IN A NEAT BUSINESS SUIT FOLLOWS HER INTO THE ROOM WHERE THEY EMBRACE WITH
Laura: Max! So, nice to see you again!
Max: Me too! (HE LOOKS AT BRUCE) What in the hell are you
doing in that outfit?
Bruce: It was from my last off-off Broadway play.
Max: You had a job? And, you didn't tell me?
Bruce: Don't worry! There was no commission. I wasn't paid
anything. The only reason I took it, was I could go
incognito. (PUTS ON THE WIG AND THE BEARD) Didn't I
Max: Thank goodness I didn't know about the play! If I had
seen you, I would have fallen in love.
Bruce: You're my `so-called agent.' If you could get me some
decent gigs, I wouldn't have to do this.
Max: If you hadn't screwed up your big chance, I wouldn't
have to find you other gigs. Do you have any idea of
how many people would give their asses to land a spot
on "Tomorrow's Another Day?"
Bruce: That show is for a bunch of sexually frustrated
Max: That show is for a sexually frustrated bunch of
housewives who want to see buff young studs with their
shirts off and crawling under the covers with buff
young females. And, that is what you got paid big money
for. And, that is what paid for my new house in The
Bruce: (SIMPLY) It was demeaning.
Max: What!? Money is never demeaning.
Bruce: I mean David Schwimmer gets a million an episode and he
can't even do a decent Shakespeare.
Max: (FRUSTRATED) Swimmer doesn't have to do Shakespeare to
earn his agent big commissions!! And, that God-Damned
Shakespeare stuff! That's what got you fired!
Bruce: It's their fault. They told us, to keep it more
spontaneous, learn the plot line for the day and
Max: You didn't have to improvise the Romeo speech on live
television, trying to get that girl into bed.
Bruce: It worked for Romeo!!
Max: (HOLDS HIS HEAD IN ANGUISH AND LOOKS UP) Aurrgg!
Bruce: O.K.! I was big time on daytime TV. I was on that soap
for years. I was featured in all of those fan
magazines. Just a little slip. Why wouldn't they hire
Max: Because they couldn't take your arrogance anymore!
Bruce: Why can't you get me another gig? I can do
Max: So can a hundred thousand other hams. OK! Sit down. I
am about to tell you the facts of life.
(BRUCE PLUNKS DOWN ON THE COUCH. STILL WEARING THE WIG
Bruce. My father already told me about those things.
Max: Bruce. You're forty years old.
Max: The sexually frustrated housewives want to look: How's
your body these days?
Bruce: Pretty good.
Max: (TURNS TO LAURA) Laura?
Laura: (SHAKES HER HANDS DESCRIPTIVELY) Pretty saggy.
Bruce: It's charisma and acting ability that counts, anyway.
Max: That doesn't do much for lust. Face it Bruce! You are
at that awkward age where you're too old to be a
hormone-rousing stud and too young and good-looking to
be a character actor.
Bruce: (CHILD-LIKE EAGER) How about a sexy romantic lead?
Max: Let's not push it, Bruce. You don't even sleep in the
same bed with your wife, anymore
Bruce: (LOOKS AT HIS WIFE WITH POUTING ANGER.) You been
talking again? (SHE SHRUGS) OK! Where's the big-time
Max: (LOOKS AT HIS WATCH) They should be here right away.
Max: He is bringing along the playwright.
Max: Moe Gottlieb. He recommended me to this producer for
Bruce: I know him! He wrote a play? He's a nerd. He's a clone.
He's another David Schwimmer.
Max: That nerd may get you into a movie job.
Bruce: A movie job? You mean Hollywood?
Max: Not in that outfit. Not unless you want to be female
King Kong. Get out of that damn ape outfit and get back
Bruce: (EAGERLY) I'll be right back! (HE EXITS TO HIS OWN
Max: Laura. How do you put up with that guy?
Laura: (SIMPLY) ) I love him.
Max: You love him and you buy him the apartment next door
and live separately?
Laura: It's just that I can't stand him.
Max: Well, being a lawyer, I suppose you can rationalize
that. (HE HEADS FOR THE BAR)But, for me, I need a
couple of drinks to reconcile that paradox.
Laura: I mean, it's just that I can't stand him now. When
he was on that show, he was forceful, manly, confident,
regal, even. (PAUSE, THEN QUICKLY) ....OK!.. sexy. But,
when that blew up, he became like a crushed teen-
ager, never shaving, rarely showering, clothes all over
the furniture and floor and moping around the apartment
all the time, unable to face the world. It was like his
whole adulthood had been sucked out of his body.
Whenever, I could tolerate the smell, I felt like I was
making love with jail bait.
Max: You don't know actors, then. They come alive only in
roles. Take those away from them and they become empty
Laura: Anyway, I sent him to the best adolescent shrink in
town. He spent the hours quoting Shakespeare
from the couch. Finally, the shrink gave up. Said it
the first terminal case of arrested childhood
development he had ever run across. In fact, he
read a paper on that syndrome at his next convention.
Max: You, a prominent lawyer, how in the world did you ever
get hooked up with him?
Laura: (COYLY) Oh! it was very romantic. He came as a date
with one of our receptionists at an office Christmas
Party. (USING HER HANDS TO DEMONSTRATE) We passed near
the buffet and both turned and did a double take. He
moved up very closely and whispered: "You are so
fucking beautiful!" and in no time we on the couch in
Max: He tells you that you are "so fucking beautiful," and
that was enough for a "pickup?" (MAX REACHES IN HIS
BREAST SUIT POCKET AND PULLS OUT A SMALL NOTEBOOK)
Oh! I've got to remember that line.
Laura: It was more than that. He was whispering Romeo's
balcony scene lines to me as we headed for the couch.
Max: (SCRATCHES OUT THE ENTRY) You can forget that stuff.
Laura: (WISTFULLY) Can you imagine that? A virginal graduate
of Princeton and Columbia Law School, done in by that
simple and exquisitely lyrical line, "You are so
fucking beautiful!" (THE DOOR BUZZER SOUNDS) Oh! That
must be them. (SHE GOES INTO THE VESTIBULE TO THE DOOR.
WE HEAR THE EXCHANGE Welcome!
Voice: Is this the Whitfield apartment?
Laura: Of course! Come right in!
(THEY COME THROUGH THE ARCHWAY. MOE GOTTLIEB IS A MESSY, ARTISTIC GREENWICH
VILLAGE TYPE. A REAL NERD. RICHARD MORGAN IS A SHARPLY DRESSED C.E.O TYPE, WITH
A SLIGHT SUPERIORITY SMIRK ON HIS FACE. A MAN WHO APPEARS TO KNOW HOW TO GIVE
ORDERS AND GET THEM OBEYED. GOTTLIEB SPOTS MAX)
Moe: Max!! (THEY DO A "SHOW BUSINESS EMBRACE)
Max: Hello, again, Mr. Morgan. And, this is Laura Whitfield.
Morgan:(KISSED THE BACK OF HER HAND) How lovely! I understand
your husband is an actor. Max has told us a lot
about him. We have a great spot for him,
....if he's the right guy.
Laura: You produce movies?
Morgan:We call them feature pictures, Mrs. Whitfield.
Laura: Please be seated and tell us about them. (MOE AND
MORGAN SIT ON THE COUCH. LAURA DROPS INTO A CHAIR.Max!
would you, please, do the honors with the drinks?
Morgan:No! No! Nothing for me. I never drink during working
hours. (MOE LOOKS LIKE HE WOULD LIKE SOMETHING BUT
MEEKLY WITHDRAWS AND SINKS DEEPER INTO THE COUCH. MAX
TAKES HIS DRINK AND MOVES INTO THE OTHER CHAIR) See
Laura: Please call me Laura.
Morgan:OK! Laura. Well, there's nothing much to tell, Laura. I
got into this racket quite accidentally. You see, I'm
an importer of Korean autos and they're getting big in
this country, so I'm amassing more loot than I can
handle, tax-wise, that is. So, my tax accountant
suggested some convenient tax loss writeoffs and
nothing is better for that than making flop movies.
Laura: So, your business is making "flop" movies.
Morgan:Not exactly! It didn't work out that way...yet. We
made a mistake. We started with porno stuff, like
maybe you heard of one called, "Lesbos in Paradise."
Moe: I saw that one! (LOOKS SHEEPISH AND SINKS BACK INTO THE
Laura: No! I can't say that I have.
Morgan: Well! We made three of them like that and they were
cash cows. To our dismay, they sold big time in every
cowtown across the land.
Laura: Gee! I'm sorry.
Morgan:If there is anything I hate, it's having Uncle Sam
reaching for the hard-earned money in my pockets. So,
I rethought. We will make serious movies to be sure to
Laura: Like Shakespeare?
Morgan:Yes! Something like that.
Laura: Then, my husband is the man for you.
Morgan:Even though I feel most comfortable in my little abode
in Baltimore, I've become attached to Hollywood.
Nowhere else is plump T and A available freer than
Laura: T and A?
Max: (LEANING FORWARD) You don't want to know what that
Laura: Yes, I do!
Morgan: I thought everyone knew what that is: It's tits and
Laura: Oh! Then my husband is definitely the man for you.
Morgan:Where is your husband, by the way?
Max: (NERVOUSLY) He'll be here right away. He's getting out
of costume to meet you.
Morgan:I don't have much time, you know! Anyway, Moe, here, he
panhandles me in Central Park and I find out he's a
writer. So, he comes up with this sure flop, if I ever
Moe: Thanks, Mr. Morgan.
(BRUCE WALKS IN, LOOKING DEVASTATINGLY HANDSOME, NEAT AND TRIM IN SLACKS AND
WHITE SHIRT. HE SMOOTHS BACK HIS HAIR WITH AN EASY
Moe: (LOOKING SHOCKED) What the hell are you doing here?
Bruce: (TAKEN ABACK) What the hell are you doing here?
Moe: We are auditioning Mrs. Whitfield's husband for a
Bruce: I am Mr. Whitfield! I mean Mrs. Whitfield is my wife. I
mean she isn't Mrs. Whitfield. She is Mr. Evans. I mean
Max: This is too confusing for me. I'm going to get another
drink. (HE ADVANCES TOWARD THE BAR)
Morgan:(TO MAX) Wait a minute! Is this the guy we're supposed
to be auditioning?
Max: In the flesh!
Morgan:You told me this guy was going to be a grungy, hairy
Max: I was wrong, He's still in costume.
Bruce: I can be grungy, hairy and neurotic better than anyone.
Wait! I'll bring my costume from next door.
Max: (URGENTLY) No! No! No! No! Don't do that! Believe me!
He is very capable of being grungy, hairy and neurotic.
Laura: I'll say!
Bruce: What is this movie about anyway?
Morgan:Tell 'em, Moe!
Moe: (IS CHOCKING. TO BRUCE:) I didn't know that you were
the Mr. Whitfield!
Bruce: I am not! I am Mr. Bruce Evans. And, you are a
clone of David Schwimmer.
Moe: I should be so lucky! He makes million dollars an
Morgan:Who brought him into this? Who's David Schwimmer?
Laura: He was my husband's classmate and best friend at
Northwestern University Speech School.
Bruce: Ex-best-friend! That nerd makes a million dollars for
each episode on TV.
Morgan:Well, I like that. He can't be all bad!
Bruce: He's terrible! He can't even do a decent Shakespeare!
Max: (SOFTLY) Neither can you.
Bruce: (SWINGS HIS HEAD) I heard that! (MAX SHRUGS INNOCENTLY)
I bust my ass to be the first in our class to get a gig
on television and he sets up a cockamamie little
theater in a storefront on Lincoln Avenue, with a bunch
of other nerds and they all end up big stars on
television and in Hollywood. And, what did I get?
Shirtless and in bed with some soap opera starlet.
Max: Like Jack Kennedy said: Life ain't fair, Bruce.
Bruce: Shut up!
Morgan:Tell him what the movie is all about, Moe!
Moe: You tell 'um.
Morgan:I said: Tell him!
Moe: (HALTINGLY) Well, it's about this TV soap opera star...
Moe: Well, he gets his ass kicked off of the show.....
Moe: (VERY RAPIDLY) and nobody wants him...and he can't get
another job... and he becomes a grungy fruitcake,
supported by his lawyer wife and.....
Bruce: (LUNGES AT MOE AND WRAPS HIS FINGERS AROUND HIS NECK)
You bastard! You stole my life!
Moe: (AS THE OTHERS ARE PULLING BRUCE OFF, MOE IS
RUBBING HIS THROAT AND EXCLAIMING) I didn't know that
you were Mr. Laura Whitfield!
Morgan:(CROSSES HIS ARMS AND LEANS BACK ON THE COUCH) You
know? I like this. Good action! I think you're in, Mr.
Bruce: I am not Mr. Whitfield!!
Morgan:But, I'm not fully convinced that you can be grungy
Laura: Just take a look at his apartment! Come. I'll show you.
(THEY EXIT, LEAVING MAX, BRUCE AND MOE BEHIND)
Moe: EARNESTLY) Bruce! This is my best work! It's a deep
psychological plot about the emotional decline of a guy
who goes nuts in frustration at not being recognized as
the talent he is. If you play it right, you could win
an Oscar and screw Morgan with a financial success.
Bruce: Can the breakdown start with him doing Shakespeare?
Moe: I can work that in.
Max: Is this guy for real?
Moe: I'll say! You know that "little abode" in Baltimore he
mentioned? It's really a forty acre estate with 30
rooms and 15 bathrooms in the house. You know how he
gets coast-to-coast? He spends 3 days in his Hollywood
office and 4 days in Baltimore.
Bruce: How does he do it?
Moe: Has his own jet plane.
Bruce: He has a jet plane?
Moe: Just a seven passenger job. He says he hates catching
colds on regular business class flights.
Max: Poor boy!
Bruce: (HOLDING HIS HEAD) I can't believe this. I will be
playing a nut case based on my own life and he'll be
hoping the picture fails.
Max: Well, it's a little like type-casting, there.(BRUCE
SHOOTS HIM A DIRTY LOOK.)
(LAURA AND MORGAN WALK BACK IN)
Bruce: You're back already?
Laura: We glanced through the door. We didn't dare walk in.
Morgan:I'm convinced! By the way, who's the broad that left
those clothes on the couch over there?
Bruce: My mother.
Morgan:She wears a false beard?
Bruce: Hormone problems.
Morgan:OK! Let's finish this up. Where's the phone? I want to
get my office in Hollywood before it closes
(HE TAKES IT OFF THE CRADLE AND DIALS A NUMBER)
Laura: Be my guest!
Morgan:Thanks! I will. Hello, Betty? Get Chad for me.
I don't give a damn if he's in a meeting. Get him for
me. (PAUSE) No body at all. I don't know why I hired
her. Chad? I've got our lead. Who? He's a
nobody. You wouldn't know who he is. Screen test?
What screen test? He doesn't have any pimples. He's
playing a grungy psycho. I don't care how he looks. All
right! I'll bring him back with me. Get the contracts
ready. What do you mean how much? How much are we
paying Mona Lynch?
Bruce: Mona Lynch! She's up for a supporting Oscar!
Morgan:(HAND OVER THE MOUTHPIECE) We signed her up cheap,
before she made that picture. Now, she's squealing like
like a stuck pig. (BACK INTO THE MOUTHPIECE) OK! give
him half of that. What percentage of profits? Hell. I
don't know. Give him 5%. No, make that 10%. We're not
going to have any profits anyway. What's his name? I
don't know! (TO BRUCE) What's your name?
Bruce: Bruce Evans.
Morgan:Is that your real name? I thought it was Whitfield.
(BRUCE HOLDS HIS HEAD IN PAIN) Ok! it's Bruce Evans.
Evans. E-V-A-N-S. See you tomorrow. (HE HANGS UP) Done!
I'll have my car pick you up at seven sharp in the
morning. We take off at eight. Be ready. Dress grungy.
Comeon Moe! (MOE LOOKS BACK AT EACH OF THEM AS HE
FOLLOWS MORGAN. HE SHRUGS HIS SHOULDERS. THEY LEAVE
THE OTHERS IN STUNNED SILENCE. FINALLY)
Max: I wonder what commission he pays.
Laura; (TO BRUCE) I can't believe you accepted that. It is so
demeaning. That man is an animal.
Bruce: (A CHANGED MAN, HE PULLS HIMSELF UP SMOOTH AND SEXY)
It's Hollywood, Baby! That's where you find the best
and freest T and A. And, that's where I'll find David
Schwimmer, that God-damned nerd. I'm coming David.
Watch out David! I'm coming! !! HE TURNS TO LAURA,
EYELIDS HALF WAY DOWN AND VERY SEDUCTIVELY.) By the
way, have I ever told you how fucking beautiful you
Laura: No! Tell me.
Bruce: (TAKES HER IN HIS ARMS) You are fucking beautiful!
Laura: So are you!
Bruce: So am I what?
Laura: Fucking beautiful..... again. (THEY KISS PASSIONATELY
Max: (CLAPPING HIS HAND TO HIS HEAD) Oh! my God!