67Two Minute Comedy

"Give us Two Minutes... We'll Give You Too"

A Series of Two Minute Comedy Sketches for short attention span theatre

Reward-Free Work
A Two Minute Comedy

Myra B. Nettleding -  a tightly wound woman, 55
Stewart Bristol - a TV chat show host, 40

Lights up on a simple TV chat show set.  Bristol rises exuberantly…

Bristol: Ladies and gentlemen please welcome five time Fiddle Award winner, grandmother, and best selling author… Myra B. Nettleding!

There is a burst of applause and music from the studio audience.  Myra enters.  She is wearing a conservative dress and a peculiar A-frame hat made of wood.  The hat shades much of her face.

Bristol: (surprised) Whoa, Mrs. Nettleding!  That is some kind of fashion statement! 

He hurries to her.  They attempt an air kiss and fail.

Bristol: (brightly) Well, Myra, I don’t know whether to kiss you or re-tar your roof!!

A big laugh from the audience.  Bristol gestures to sit.

Bristol: Let’s sit down and get to some business Myra.  (they sit)  So, Myra, I hope you don’t mind me asking but well, I’ve never seen such a fashion accessory.  What do you call it?

Nettleding: (dry) A hat.

Bristol: Ah ha!  Of course but what, kind of hat would this be?

Nettleding: A proper one.  Why?

Bristol: Well, I mean it’s not often we get a guest who comes on wearing what looks a little bit like a… a birdhouse.  (laughter) Um, no offense Ms. Nettleding.

Nettleding: (abrupt) It’s Nettle-ing.  My name is Nettle-ing.  The “d” is silent. 

Bristol: Aha ha, that’s… That’s very interesting Ms. Nettle-ing.  They told me to use the “d” but they must have been mistaken.

Nettleding: They were.  Pronunciation and spelling are two skills indicative of a good education. 

Bristol: Yes of course.  Have you ever been an educator Ms. Nettle-ing?

Nettleding: No.  I really don’t like children very much.

Bristol: You don’t?  I thought all women liked children.

Nettleding: Don’t be absurd.  Children are a necessary nuisance born of original sin.  They are nasty little creatures with little to recommend them outside the fact that they are small.

Bristol: (the joker)  And they don’t eat much, right Mrs. N…? (laughter)

Nettleding: Yes, provided you don’t feed them.

Bristol: Oh dear, I guess I’m glad you were not my Mum!

Nettleding: You’d be far better behaved if I had been. (laughter)

Bristol: Ouch!  Well, Mrs. Nettle-ing why don’t you tell us about your book “Reward Free Work.”  What’s the book about?

Nettleding: You’ve not read it?

Bristol: Um, no, sorry I admit I have not.

Nettleding: Yours is the kind of laziness that is pushing this world to the precipice of doom. 

Bristol: (amused) I’m sure it is.  What is the book about Mrs. N??

Nettleding: “Reward Free Work” is an idea that’s been around for centuries.  The Romans made good use of it with their domestics.  The premise is that people behave far better when they are unrewarded than when they are rewarded.

Bristol: So, like if you have an employee you should not tell them they’re doing a good job?

Nettleding: Absolutely not.  That is a primary violation. 

Bristol: Not even a little pat on the back and a thank you?

Nettleding: Totally unnecessary.  If your worker is doing a good job they should know it.  Having to tell them they’re doing so only makes you obsequious and cloying.

Bristol: Wow!  How about salary raises?  Is that also a forbidden reward?

Nettleding: The entire concept of salary should be thrown out.  If you take care of your workers’ essential needs, why should they be paid a salary?

Bristol: (stares) You can’t be serious?

Nettleding: I can and I am.  If your worker has all it needs to survive and travel to and from work - why give them a salary?  It only encourages them to waste the money on frivolous things.  Utter junk like books and movies and cable TV!

Bristol: Wow, Mrs. N… I had no idea you were so contradictory!  You really suggest in this book that people stop paying  employees?

Nettleding: Of course you ninny.  That’s what Reward-Free Work is about.  Living frugally. 

Bristol: But we live in a material world based on market trading.  People need a currency to trade for goods and services.  How can a person survive without money or a tradable commodity?

Nettleding: They will if you give them only the necessities.  My book outlines how to convince people to work for the joy of working.  To be productive and to contribute to the community without expectation of garish rewards. 

Bristol: Goodness gracious Ms. N., that sounds a lot like slavery.

Nettleding: An ancient tradition wrongfully maligned. (audience murmurs)

Bristol: Ahh can see why you wear the wooden hat Ms. N.  You never know when a rock might fall on your head.  (laughter)  Speaking of which we’re almost out of time but can you tell us the history of a hat like that?

Nettleding: It is a protection to ward away the sun.  Sunlight is extremely dangerous for some of us.  You may not know it but the sun emits deadly ultraviolet rays.  Some of us prefer the coolness of the shadows and a lower incidence of skin cancer.

Bristol: Well, that seems very sensible Mrs. Nettle-ing.  And if anyone really needs you they can just knock on your roof!  (laughter) I’d like to thank you for coming in Ms. N.  Good luck on the book tour; the book is “Reward Free Work” available at major book stores now… (applause) One last question?

Nettleding: Yes.

Bristol: Seriously, do you ever worry about... woodpeckers?  I mean if you’re sitting quietly and suddenly there’s this hammering sound… (improvise) 

Laughter, music rises, applause and we…