Esteemed theatre professor William W. Demastes is publishing a three-volume set of monologues from American plays through Applause Books. Volume 2 was recently released and I’m honored he included a monologue from “Advice to the Players.” There’s some wonderful theatre writing here for both actors to study and casual readers to enjoy. Click on the cover to get a copy.
My agent keeps telling me to stop caring if what I write has literary value, and just put out something that will sell. But that worries me. I don’t have an agent.
So Robin Williams gets to heaven and there’s a long line of people waiting to go through the Pearly Gates. Being the good guy that he is, he doesn’t use his celebrity to cut ahead, he gets in line and waits like everybody else. When he finally gets to the front, Saint Peter asks him his name.
“Na-Nu, Na-Nu,” says Robin.
Saint Peter doesn’t get it. He looks at his list, puzzled. “That name isn’t on here,” he says. “Who are you again?”
Robin does ten minutes, riffing wildly – impressions, one-liners, funny faces and moves, all rapid-fire. Everybody behind him in line is cracking up, bent over laughing, loving it. Saint Peter, unamused, just stares at him.
“Sir,” says Saint Peter, “I’m not sure you understand the significance of this situation. Now, please be serious.”
Just then Groucho and Jonathan Winters stick their heads out through the gate. Jonathan waves at Robin, who waves back.
“Hey Pete,” says Groucho. “Let him in. He’s with us.”