Through an unlikely set of circumstances, I seem to have found myself in possession of a 3 page comedy sketch entitled Risk, with no clue as to who wrote it or how it ended up in a partly torn, partly burnt mess on my front door. With the possibility of this being a leak of a first class comedy writer's highly confidential new project, I had no other journalistic option but to provide an honest and objective review of the mysterious text...
classic board/strategy game of the same name, employing tedious sketch tropes into two characters, who very much exist within a one dimensional range of personality. Whilst 'Josh' takes the game way too seriously (cliché war movie dialogue galore), 'Charlie' undermines his silliness with a dry and generally puzzled disposition.
Although peppered with a heavy handed slab of nauseating post-modernism, the actual pacing of Risk isn't too bad, and manages to weave from mediocre joke to mediocre joke with a decent control over escalation: a common sketch convention, which in this case sees us go from Josh walkie-talking with his troops on the board to him spouting lines from Apocalypse Now while being tied to a chair, prisoner-of-war style. From a writer's point of view, it demonstrates at the very least a potential of sustained humour, but from a production perspective, it's hardly a surprise that this script has yet to have been made. Sudden costume changes? Alternating lighting patterns? Precise dice throws? Whatever comedic credit it had built up is squandered by this frankly amateur approach to practicality.
As for the characters, Risk's anonymous writer chose not to stray far from the norm. The 'Sane Guy/Insane Guy' setup is undoubtedly a favourite among troupe legends such as Monty Python and The Kids in the Hall, and is used here in a predictable but no less humorous manner. The problem comes in trying to picture actual actors to bring the schizophrenic dialogue (i.e. sometimes zippy, other times clunky) to life. It's no mean feat, with lines like " I've lost too many damn men to give up now!" and "Dude! You just SPAT on my carpet!" requiring a certain tongue-in-cheek seriousness that only the likes of BriTANick are capable of delivering convincingly. And based on the inexperienced vibe of the writer, it's likely the actual sketch would have relied on hokey performances from disinterested friends.
It's a shame, because when I first read the script I'd thought it to be a quite decent first attempt from a budding writer who was destined for greatness. But upon reflection, it's no wonder I'd found it in the state of tear-stained ruins that it was -- an over eagerness for production and characters had obviously meant that no self-respecting human being in their right mind would want to be immortalised in such a mess, therefore causing the unknown writer to cry themselves into a beautiful metaphor of first-world depression.