Life Imitates Art

So I’m at the grocery store this evening picking up a few things, and on my way through the cereal aisle I notice an interesting product: Harmony, “A Low-Fat Nutritional Cereal For Women”. The implication being of course that it’s chock full of estrogen-ey goodness, or something.

I couldn’t help but laugh. A few years ago, I did some work with an improv/sketch group here in D.C. called Tangent Improv. One of the other members of Tangent was Will Knapp, a buddy of mine from my Montgomery Playhouse days and one of the funniest people on and off stage I know.

Anyway, Tangent’s show was a mix of improvisational games and pre-written sketches, and Will and I both helped out in the writing of the sketch bits. One recurring type of sketch was a short piece for just one or two actors, designed to give the rest of the cast a moment to catch their breath between improv games and get props and so forth moved on and off stage. Frequently these pieces took the form of commercial parodies, since commercials fit the time target so closely.

So one show, we were ginning up these sketch bits, and we decided that the short pieces would all be parodies of cereal commercials. And Will comes back with this bit that absolutely floored me, it was so funny:

“Multiple O’s: The Cereal For Women”.

The bit itself was very simple, just a man and a woman at the breakfast table. The woman tells us how much she LOVES her O’s, she can’t get ENOUGH of them, she’d have BOWL after BOWL if she could. The man isn’t paying attention at all, he’s reading the newspaper. Annoyed, she tries to get him to try it, but he won’t go near it. Finally, she gets him to take a taste, and he puts one spoonful in his mouth and announces “YUM! That was GREAT! Well, that’s it for me, I’m done,” and gets up and leaves the room.

Well, maybe you had to be there 🙂 But I still remember it as one of the funniest bits we ever did. I wish I still had the script! What made it funny was the way it had two different jokes in it — one about the sexual politics between men and women, and another about the sheer ludicrousness of a “cereal for women” (pure marketing, they’re telling you who their target customer is rather than what’s in the product). And now it’s actually on the shelves! God bless America…