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Killing the Joke

Here’s a classic joke, told on film sets around the world, that I absolutely love.

A producer, a director, and a DP are scouting locations. As they’re wandering around, one of them spots a lamp. Naturally, they decide to rub it, and, just as naturally, a genie pops out.

The genie says, “Since there are three of you, I will grant you each one wish.”

The DP says, “I want to live on a beach in the south Pacific, where I can film the most gorgeous sunsets in the most beautiful settings for the rest of my life.”

The genie says, “Done,” and POOF! The DP disappears.

The director says, “I want to make the biggest, most epic movie ever, with a limitless budget, a cast of thousands, and all the time I need to shoot it.”

The genie says, “Done,” and POOF! The director disappears.

Then the producer glances at his watch and says, “I want them both back here in five minutes.”

🙂

A simple joke, based solidly on stereotypes we all know and the rule of three.

It’s not a hard joke to tell, but somehow, the AD I wrote about yesterday ruined it. He killed it. He shot it twice in the back of the head so its joke mother couldn’t have a joke open casket funeral.

Here’s his version, told during a rehearsal to an audience of grips, electrics, and PAs:

Okay, so a director, a producer, and an AD are out on a scout…

This is a seemingly unnecessary change, but most crew members deal with ADs more than producers, so I can see how this makes the joke more identifiable to the audience. Plus, it throws a little self-deprecation into the proceedings.

Along the way, they find a lamp. They rub it, and a genie appears. The genie says, “I will grant you one wish each.”

The director says, “I want to live on a beach in the south Pacific, where I can film the most gorgeous sunsets in the most beautiful settings for the rest of my life.”

The genie says, “Done,” and POOF! The director disappears.

The producer says, “I want to make the biggest, most epic movie ever, with a limitless budget, a cast of thousands, and all the time I need to shoot it.”

The genie says, “Done,” and POOF! The producer disappears.

Okay, it’s a little odd to transpose the stereotypical behavior this way, but I can dig it. It doesn’t really hurt the joke.

Then the AD goes,

And here our real AD pauses to take a deep breath…

I want that director [gasp] and that producer [gasp] back here, RIGHT! NOOOOOOW!

Everyone just stared at the guy. They couldn’t figure out if the joke was over, or what.

I knew the punchline, and I was still baffled. Underplaying the final statement is what makes it play. The producer (or AD) doesn’t even realize what an asshole he’s being. Anger just muddies the waters.

The best part is, the actual producer and director were on the set, and they heard the shouting. Later, they said they were afraid to come out, because they couldn’t figure what they had done to make the AD so pissed off that he would scream for them across the stage.

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3 Responses

  1. That is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time. From now on, when I tell that joke, I’ll convey it exactly like that. I can’t wait to see reactions.

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