Thursday, March 19, 2015

Library of America Story of the Week Read-Along 268: Moss Hart, Franklin D. Roosevelt Inaugurated Tomorrow (#268)

Moss Hart, "Franklin D. Roosevelt Inaugurated Tomorrow": A sketch from As Thousands Cheer (1933) from American Musicals: The Complete Books and Lyrics of 16 Broadway Classics 1927–1969:

Usually I post LoA analyses on Sunday, but for very good reasons (SXSW), I didn't get to read this until today. I will soon post more about SXSW, but for now, I leave you in the capable hands of Moss Hart, playwright and guy with funny name.

And when I say I'm leaving you in his hands, I mean it. This week's selection is five quick pages of silliness, so you might as well go read it: on the eve of the Roosevelt inauguration, Mr. and Mrs. Hoover fight and make jokes about themselves. It's early Daily Show with Jon Stewart. And like the Daily Show at times, some of the jokes are so broad that it feels like Hart could've written "pause for laughter" pretty confidently. I mean, this exchange was sure to get a laugh after Mrs. Hoover is caught trying to steal a portrait of President Washington:
Mrs. hoover: All right, I’ll put it back. We’ll just go back to Palo Alto with nothing at all to show for your having been President of the United States.
Mr. hoover: Nobody else in the country has got anything to show for it either.
Maybe that exchange would only get a cold rueful laugh, but a laugh nonetheless.

Also, how funny to imagine the primary blockbusters on Broadway as sketch revues, with singing and dancing. Maybe it's time to bring that back? A revue of YouTube stars might not be the worst way to lose money on Broadway.

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