Jackie Slater is a lousy comedian performing in a dive, and trying to keep the audience interested. They’re not, and Jackie quickly introduces the dancing girls and goes back to his dressing room. His agent, Jules Ketterman, is waiting for him, and Jackie complains that he should have been out front faking some laughs. Myron Mishkin, the owner, comes in and dismisses Jules’ excuses for his client, and then tells Jackie that his next performance is his last. When Jackie objects, saying he has a three-week contract and he needs time to warm up, Mishkin tells him to read his contract and leaves. A depressed Jackie sits heavily down and tells Jules that he was a fat as a child, and the kids at summer camp used to shove him off the dock and laugh. That was when Jackie decided that he’d become a comedian when he grew up. Despite Jules efforts to reassure him that he’s good, Jackie just wishes that he could make people laugh...Read the full recap
Host: On display this evening a pastiche of painting from oddball land. The poet Sir Max Birbaum observed that no one ever died of laughter. Object of brush and palette, the rebuttal. The clown is Jackie Slater, his occupation, a comedian. His aspirations, to collect funny bones and hang them on the walls of his life to hide the cracked plaster and yellowed wallpaper that is part of the interior decoration of failure. Poor Jackie Slater, a bad joke told in a foreign language in an empty hall, the comic unable to coax laughter. The painting is called Make Me Laugh and this lifeless limbo is called the Night Gallery.
Jackie Slater: Hey, uh, how do you like this suit, huh? Sort of a chopped-liver gray, huh? Uh, the wife.. well, it's a nice fit, you know, but the wife says it looks more like a convulsion, huh?
Jules Kettleman: He warms up slow, Mr. Mishkin
Myron Mishkin: It's 102 out there. This stiff couldn't warm up in a boiler room.
Jackie Slater: I want to make people laugh.
Chatterje: I have in mind an ill-starred venture, having to do with a retired schoolteacher in Spokane, Washington. A Civil War buff. Passionate admirer of the Great Emancipator. Wanted only one thing, to be in Lincoln's shoes. Wound up in an insane asylum, claiming he was a woman's sock. Had to be restrained from sticking darning needles into his head.