Eric D. Snider

Sharing Our Journals

The Garrens Comedy Troupe:

"Sharing Our Journals"

by Eric D. Snider and Lisa Valentine Clark

Originally performed by The Garrens Comedy Troupe on March 6, 1996

BARRY: Eric D. Snider
DENISE: Lisa Valentine Clark

(Living room. BARRY is relaxing, reading the newspaper. His wife, DENISE, comes in.)

DENISE:
Hey, honey, look what I've got.
BARRY:
What?
DENISE:
It's my journal! It's the journal I kept when we were dating, and while you were on your mission!
BARRY:
(not terribly interested) Oh. That's neat.

DENISE:
It's so cool to look back and see what I wrote about everything. Don't you think?

BARRY:
Yeah.

DENISE:
Why don't you get out your old journal and we can see what we each wrote about things. Won't that be fun?

BARRY:
(He thinks this is the worst idea he's ever heard.)Oh, yeah, honey, that would be great. But I don't know where my old journal is. It's probably in storage somewhere, or--
journals
DENISE:
I found it. (Pulls it out from behind her back and gives it to him) OK, now let's read. (flips through her journal) OK, here's November 12, 1994. Did you write anything that day?

BARRY:
(reluctantly looks) Um... yeah. Here it is.

DENISE:
OK, here's what I wrote. "Barry and I went out tonight. He's so wonderful! The more time I spend with him, the more I can see that I'm in love with him. I can feel our relationship growing strong, and I'm growing in so many ways. I can't wait until we get married, and I can be with him all the time." (basks in the glow for a moment) Isn't that neat?

BARRY:
Yeah, it is.

DENISE:
Now, what did you write?

BARRY:
"Went to Denny's tonight, with Denise. I had the Moons over My Hammy; she had the steak and eggs." (he's finished; he looks up)

DENISE:
That's it?

BARRY:
Yep, that's it.

DENISE:
(she doesn't believe him, so she looks over at his journal, and sees that he's telling the truth. She looks at him incredulously) OK, let's try another one. Here's February 26, 1994, while you were on your mission. "I got a letter from Barry today, and if I've got our system figured out, he should have gotten a letter from me, too. I mail him a letter every Monday, and he gets it on Thursday. He writes his on Monday, too, so I also get them on Thursday. It's so special how we can share an experience like that, even while he's two thousand miles away. I can tell by reading his letters that he's working hard, but that he misses me. He's so sweet."

BARRY:
(still not very excited about this whole thing) OK. "Got a letter from Denise today. Seems like they come about the same time every week. Had dinner at the McClellands' house. We had roast beef, mashed potatoes, and corn -- my favorite. Afterwards, we had Sister McClelland's special fudge brownies for dessert. Those things are so good!" -- Oh, yeah, I remember those brownies...! (goes back to reading) "We get fed so well in this area. I love it. Also, we baptized Robert today. After the service, we had refreshments. Someone brought a cake, and we had some light finger food, including a nice cheese ball that we dipped Ritz crackers in. I had never had it before, but it was pretty tasty. That's why I love being on a mission -- new experiences."

DENISE:
I can't believe you don't have anything else to say!

BARRY:
Well, I was never much of a journal writer!


The following portion was cut and never performed, for fear it would make the audience too sad.


DENISE:
OK, here's one. I know you wrote something here. It's January 3, 1992 -- the day of your mother's funeral. "The funeral for Barry's mother was today. Oh, what a sad thing! Barry looked so despondent, it was all I could do not to rush over and give him a hug! How fortunate we are to know that she's in a better place, and that they'll be together again. But how sad for that dear family now, to be without their wife and mother. I hope and pray that they'll be able to pull through. They're such a good family." (by now she is crying)

BARRY:
(reading) "What a busy week! First the big basketball tournament in Riverdale -- we finished second out of eight, pretty good, I think -- then my mom died, then I had to get new tires put on my truck, then we had the funeral today. I'm pretty exhausted. After the funeral, some church people brought over lots of casseroles and stuff. Some of it was pretty good, although I didn't like the green bean salad very much. Dad's been pretty quiet lately."

DENISE:
I cannot believe you! Don't you have anything else to say?!

BARRY:
What else do you want me to say? I said everything. Basketball tournament, mom died, new tires, mom's funeral, the food. What do you want from me?!


Instead, the sketch went on this way:


DENISE:
OK, here's one. I know you wrote something here. It's from January 3, 1992 -- you remember that week. "This has been such a tragic week for Barry's family. I don't know how they're even surviving. First, Barry's dad lost his job, and they're running out of money. Then, Scruffy, the dog they've had for 15 years, died. They loved that dog like it was their own family! Such a tragic loss for them! To top it all off, on Friday, Barry's little brother was smoking in the attic and he burned the house down. They lost everything! It's almost too much pain and sorrow for me to bear. I hope they can all pull through this tough time. They're such a good family." (she is very emotional by now)

BARRY:
"What a busy week! First the big basketball tournament in Riverdale -- we finished second out of eight, pretty good, I think -- then Dad got fired, then I had new tires put on my truck, then my brother set our house on fire, the little punk. I lost all my CDs. Some church people brought lots of casseroles and stuff to our motel room. Most of it was pretty good, although I didn't care much for the green bean salad. Haven't seen the dog much lately."

DENISE:
I cannot believe you! Don't you have anything to say?!

BARRY:
What else do you want me to say?! I said everything. Basketball tournament, dad getting fired, new tires on the truck, CDs getting burned up. What do you want from me?!

DENISE:
Some kind of emotion, or feelings, or something! Something to let me know your heart is still beating!

BARRY:
You want feelings? I write my feelings sometimes. I'll read you some feelings. (looks through journal) OK, is this what you want? (reads) "I feel like my heart is going to break. Everything is crashing down around me. Everything I'd hoped for and dreamed about is suddenly null and void. People try to comfort me and help me feel better, but it's no use. It all seems like a dream, an awful, terrible nightmare, like I'm just going to wake up any minute now and it will be all over. But I don't wake up. I keep going, and I see that it's real, and that life will never be the same again." (he is very emotional)

DENISE:
(tenderly) Oh, sweetheart. That's beautiful. What were you writing about?

BARRY:
(sobbing) The day that Pittsburgh lost to Dallas in the Super Bowl! [Or any other line that fits current sports news.]

(DENISE is disgusted; lights down.)

Stumble It!

Notes:

This is one of the Garrens' most enduring sketches, having been performed in front of at least 50 audiences since its birth. We performed it at New Student Orientation, several other colleges in Utah, at cast member Dallen Gettling's wedding reception, and in a variety of other settings, aside from the occasional performances at the regular Friday night Garrens shows. Lisa Clark, my fellow cast member, came up with the idea after a similar exchange took place between her and her husband. I wrote the script based on Lisa's suggestions. Lisa and I performed together a lot, but this was our favorite sketch, mainly because we got to sit down the whole time, and the sketch didn't take too much energy. Plus, we had our lines taped inside our journals, so we never really had to memorize anything. Not having to worry too much about lines gave us the freedom to do various things with the characters, and even the very last time we performed the sketch -- at a show in September 1998 -- we were still adding little nuances and facial expressions that kept the sketch fresh and new for us.

The last line was always a sports thing, except for once, when it was, "The day they showed the final episode of 'Seinfeld.'" Indeed, if you saw that episode, you know it was sad in more ways than one.

It has been observed that each time we did the sketch, our characters became more and more bitter and sarcastic toward each other, and even after the 50th performance, Lisa and I still could not look at each other while performing it, for fear of laughing. Even though I've left the Garrens now, Lisa and I see ourselves, 40 years from now, performing this sketch at State Fairs, more bitter than ever.

On two occasions, I performed the sketch with another female cast member because Lisa wasn't available. She also did it once or twice with someone else when I wasn't around. But everyone knows those times just weren't the same. "Sharing Our Journals" was OUR sketch, the definitive Lisa-and-Eric, relationships-are-funny sketch. Doing this sketch is the one thing I miss about not being in the Garrens anymore.

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