Theater Jokes


Theatrical Structure:
Producer- Leaps tall buildings in a single bound. Is more powerful than a locomotive. Is faster than a speeding bullet. Walks on water. Gives policy to God.
Director- Leaps short buildings in a single bound. Is more powerful than a switch engine. Is just as fast as a speeding bullet. Walks on water if the sea is calm. Talks with God.
Playwright- Leaps short buildings with a running start. Is almost as powerful as a switch engine. Is faster than a speeding BB. Swims well. Is occasionally addressed by God.
Actor- Makes high marks on the wall when trying to leap buildings. Is run over by locomotives. Can sometimes handle a gun without inflicting self-injury. Dog paddles. Talks to animals.
Chorus Member- Falls over doorsteps when trying to enter buildings. Says "Look at the choo-choo." Wets himself with a water pistol. Plays in mud puddles. Mumbles to himself.
Stage Manager- Lifts buildings and walks under them. Kicks locomotives off the track. Catches speeding bullets in his teeth and eats them. Freezes water with a single glance. *IS* God.
Theatrical Logic:
In is down, down is front. Out is up, up is back. Off is out, on is in. And of course, left is right and right is left. A drop shouldn't and a 'block and fall' does neither. A prop doesn't and a cove has no water. Tripping is OK. A running crew rarely gets anywhere . A purchase line buys you nothing. A trap will not catch anything. A gridiron has nothing to do with football. Strike is work (in fact, a lot of work). And a green room, thank God, usually isn't. Now that you're fully versed in theatrical terms, break a leg. But not really.
Principles For The Actor:
*Do not listen to your fellow actors (it will only throw you). *Hold for all laughs - if you don't get them, repeat line louder (face front if necessary, or laugh at it yourself). *Tension gets results. Emotion is like an orange, you must squeeze it to get the juice. *A performance, like concrete, should be molded, then set. *Your first responsibility as an actor is to find the light. *Do not look at your partner - you may not see what you want. *Always be specific, point to what you are talking about. *If a line isn't working for you, change it. *Cultivate an attitude of hostility. (NO MORE MISTER NICE GUY) *Stage managers are not actors - ignore them. *Never be afraid of ad-libbing, to get attention. *Mistakes are never your fault. *Always find something to bitch about, no matter how small or insignificant. *Never arrive on time. *Never carry make-up; someone will always have what you need. *Help stage managers keep alert by not signing in. *Never help understudies - why should they steal your business? *Help your fellow actors by giving notes whenever you feel it's necessary. If they ignore you, report them to the stage manager. *Whenever possible, give them notes immediately before they go on - it will be fresher that way. *Speak your lines as if the audience had difficulty understanding the language. *Keep other performers on their toes by making fun of their performance. *Play the reality - be aware of the audience. *The key advantage is surprise - don't let actors know what you're going to do. *The difference between amateur and pro is that the pro does exactly the same thing for money. *Create your character - find your own costume. *Never change anything that's working, no matter how wrong or phony it may seem. *When in doubt about an ad-lib, go "Whoo!" *Even if a piece of shtick doesn't work, keep using it.
Signs You've Been In The Theater Too Much:
Your weekend consists of Monday, and only Monday. "Q" is not just a letter. National holidays that fall on Monday seem pointless to you. You know more than one theory for the origin of the name "green room." You can only read from a light that is blue. You consider the red part of the stoplight the "standby." You can't remember what daylight looks like. You feel naked without your keys attached to your belt loop, or your belt without your Maglite, Leatherman, and Gerber. You know tie-line has several uses - shoelaces, belts, ponytail holders... 95% of your wardrobe is black. You watch the Super Bowl, waiting for intermission, not half-time. You tell more stories of what went wrong on shows you've done than what went smoothly. You start wondering what it feels like to be a prop. You know anything can be fixed with duct tape, Mortite, sculpter-coat, a sharpie, tie-line, and a safety pin. Your diet consists of fast food or microwaved food. Your Halloween costume in some way utilizes running blacks and gaff tape. Varying your diet means ordering the #2 instead of the #3, or eating with your left hand instead of your right. You understand the jokes in Forbidden Broadway. You insist on spelling "theatre" with an "re" - not an "er". People recognize you by the sound of your keys jingling down the hallway. Going to a restaurant means ordering and sitting down in McDonald's rather than the drive-thru. You'd heard of Mandy Patinkin before he was on Chicago Hope. "Practical," "drop," and "flat" are nouns. Instead of saying that you're leaving, you say you're "exiting." At home, you "strike" your dishes to the kitchen. If someone asks you what time it is, you respond with something like, "Half hour 'til half hour."
Two stage managers, nearing the ends of their careers, were discussing the likelihood of there being some form of theatrical endeavor in the hereafter. The first consulted a friendly medium. Later, the following exchange took place between the two stage managers:
SM1: "I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there is a wonderful theater in heaven - well equipped, spacious, plenty of wing space. In fact, there's a show opening tomorrow night."
SM2: "That's wonderful! So what's the bad news?"
SM1: "You're calling the show."
An old stage manager arrived at the Pearly Gates. As a reward for years of patience, discretion, and endeavor, St. Peter granted him a single wish.
"I've never seen a perfect blackout - can that be arranged?" he asked.
St. Peter snapped his fingers, and the darkness descended. There was not a hint of spill from worklights or prompt corner. There was total silence, not a whisper, not a footstep, not a pin drop - just complete silence and total darkness. It lasted 18 seconds.
When the lights came up again, St. Peter was gone and the Pearly Gates had been struck.
Q: Why don't stage managers get breaks?
A: Because it's too hard to re-train them.
Q: How many pencils does a stage manager have?
A: One. He can draw another one out of his hair if he loses it.
Q: How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. Complain to the director at notes.
Q: How many directors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. Give a note to the stage manager to fix it!
Q: How many stage managers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. Pull the technical director off a set installation to deal with it.
Q: How many technical directors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. Call the master electrician at home to fix it.
Q: How many master electricians does it take to change a light bulb?
A: We don't change bulbs, only halogen lamps. It's a props problem.
Q: How many props masters does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Light bulb?! When did they even get a lamp?
Q: How many theater critics does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: All of them - one to be highly critical of the design elements, one to express contempt for the glow of the lamp, one to lambast the interpretation of wattage used, one to critique the performance of the bulb itself, one to recall superb light bulbs of past seasons and lament how this one fails to measure up, and all to join in the refrain, reflecting on how they could build a better light bulb in their sleep.
Q: How many theater students does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Erm, what's the deadline? I may need an extension.
Q: How many audience members does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Three. One to do it, one child to cry and another to say, "ROSE, HE'S CHANGING THE LIGHT BULB."
Q: How many interns does it take to change a light bulb?
A: It doesn't matter, because you'll have to do it again, anyway.
Q: How many directors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: 4... no, make that 3... on second thought 4... well, better make it 5, just to be safe.
Q: How many assistant directors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One. But s/he has to check with the director first to make sure he wants the bulb there.
Q: How many producers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. Why do we need another light bulb?
Q: How many stage managers does it take to change a light bulb?
A2: None. Where's IATSE?
A3: It's on my list... it's on my list...
Q: How many IATSE guys does it take to change a light bulb?
A1: One, once he puts down the donut and coffee.
A2: Twenty-five, and a minimum of four hours. You got a @!%#& problem with that?
Q: How many electricians does it take to change a light bulb?
A: LAMP! It's called a LAMP, you idiot!
Q: How many lighting designers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. Where's my assistant?
Q: How many technicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Two, if they can find a lamp big enough and figure out how to get inside it.
Q: How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?
A1: None. "Doesn't the stage manager do that?"
A2: None. They can never find their light.
During a transatlantic flight, the Pope is busily working on a crossword puzzle. However, he gets stuck in the middle, so he turns to a playwright sitting in the next seat and says, "Excuse me, but do you know a four-letter word meaning 'woman' which ends in U-N-T?"
The playwright scratches his head, thinks for a minute, and replies, "Aunt. A-U-N-T."
The pontiff looks embarrassed, and whispers, "Got an eraser?"
Sit quietly and inhale deeply and slowly through your nose. Exhale slowly. Picture yourself near a stream. Birds are softly chirping in the crisp, cool mountain air. Nothing can bother you here. No one knows this secret place. The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity. The water is clear. You breathe deeply.
You can easily make out the face of the person whose head you're holding under the water. Look. It's the person who caused you all this stress in the first place. What a pleasant surprise. You let them up ... just for a quick breath ... then ploop! ... back under they go.
Allow yourself as many deep breaths as you want.
There now ... feeling better?
What's the difference between God and a director?
God never pretended to be a director.
What's the difference between an actor and a mutual fund?
Mutual funds eventually mature and make money.
A renowned research institution undertakes to document the spatial-cognitive processes of intellectuals in various professions. They recruit an architect, a surgeon, and a prop manager. They construct three isolation booths, completely sealed off from external interactions or stimuli. They place one guy in each booth, and give each one a set of three perfectly-matched steel balls, each about three inches in diameter. They seal the booths, and return in one week.
The architect has constructed a geometrically-perfect pyramid with the balls, yielding insights into stress dynamics and materials tension. The surgeon has placed the balls in a formation that hints at the nature of the unexplored regions of the human gene, solving some fundamental questions involving genetics and DNA.
When the prop manager's booth is opened, the interior is a shambles and there are no balls to be found. Upon inquiry, the guy says, "Okay, okay. I admit I DID lose the first ball. But I SWEAR I don't know what happened to the second one, and besides, you only gave me two balls to begin with!"
Sid Caesar, holding up repaired pants:
A playwright walks into a restaurant with his dog. The manager says, "Excuse me, sir. You can't come in here with that animal."
The writer replies, "But I'm blind, and he's my seeing-eye dog!"
The manager is taken aback: "You have a Chihuahua for a seeing-eye dog?!"
The playwright says, "I have a Chihuahua for a seeing-eye dog?"
An actress, a costumer and a stage manager found an old bottle in a pile of junk backstage. The actress rubbed it against her sleeve, and poof! A genie appeared.
"You got me fair and square," the genie said. "So you each get one wish."
"I want a world tour in a starring role," the actress declared.
"Granted," said the genie, and poof! The actress was off on her tour.
"I want a yacht and unlimited funds to cruise the exotic ports of the world," wished the costumer.
"Granted," said the genie, and poof! The costumer was off on his cruise.
The stage manager rubbed his chin, thought for a minute and said, "I want them back after lunch."
A playwright is standing at a bar, and there's no one else left in the place. "I've run out of money," he says to the bartender. "How can I get another drink?"
"Show me something interesting," the bartender replies.
"OK - what do you think of this?" The writer reaches into his pocket, and produces a mannequin dressed in white tie and tails, with a tiny grand piano and stool. "This is my twelve-inch pianist," he says, setting the piano on the bar and the mannequin on the tiny stool. "What do you want him to play?"
"How about the Moonlight Sonata?" asks the bartender. Immediately, the well-known tune tinkles out from the tiny piano. "Fantastic!" says the bartender. "Have a large whiskey on me. How on earth did you find him?"
"Well," says the writer, "Last week, I helped an old lady across the street and she rewarded me with one wish, but..."
Interrupting him, the bartender says, "Let me meet her, and I'll give you a whole bottle of whiskey."
Next week, by chance, the writer meets the old lady again. Promising her a drink or two, he leads her to the bar. As the bartender plies her with free drinks, he can't help noticing that she's slightly deaf. "You've been so kind," she says, "I'll grant you one wish."
At last, the bartender thinks, my chance has come. "I'd like a million bucks, please," he says.
"It shall be done," she says, sliding off her stool and muttering an incantation. The writer and the bartender lift her onto a bench. Suddenly, there's a noise of squawking birds outside the bar. Mystified, they open the front door. As far as the eye can see, the street is filled with ducks.
"What's all this?" the bartender says. "I asked for a million BUCKS, not a million DUCKS!"
"I'm not surprised," says the writer. "You don't think I asked for a twelve-inch pianist, do you?"

Editor: Alan C. Baird · return to synopses