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Fanfare
Brought to you by the Marx Brothers

Chico is a no-nonsense character, speaking in a voice that is sharp and gruff.
Groucho is self-assured but naïve.
Harpo doesn’t speak; he only mimes.
Italicized lines are directed to the audience; un-italicized lines are directed to the cast.

To appreciate the full effect of the dialog, visually imagine the Marx brothers acting, employing their trademark mannerisms.

Zeppo:  Bitar’s book was ten years in the making!

Chico:  Bitar says it’s the work of a life-a-time! And get this: he’s a-talkin’ about his a-life-a-time.

Groucho:  Can you believe that? It means the kid’s only ten!

Harpo:  …………………………………………………………………….

Groucho:  What that guy’s charade means is that Bitar’s unabridged version has nearly 2000 pages and is 60% theory, 25% application, 5% history, 5% literature review, and 5% satire.

Chico:  And five hundred percent cold air!

Groucho:  Hot air!

Chico:  Cold air!

Groucho:  You mean to say hot air, not cold air. But Bitar didn’t tell us to say anything about hot air.

Chico:  Ya, but we gotta say it anyway. We gotta warn all those suckers out there in the real world not to get takin’ in by this shyster.

Groucho:  The real world? What’s that?

Chico:  Don’t ask. If I tell you all about it, you wouldn’t sleep a wink for the rest of your life.

Groucho:  Come on, tell me. I can sleep through anything — thunder and lightening, tornados, hurricanes, blood-curdling screams — anything. Besides, I sleep with my eyes open.

Chico:  You do? Why?

Groucho:  Because I can’t sleep with my eyes closed.

Chico:  You can’t? Why not?

Groucho:  I don’t know. I forgot to ask.

Chico:  You didn’t ask? Why not?

Groucho:  I was asleep.

Chico:  Well, you should have stayed awake.

Groucho:  Why?

Chico:  So that you could ask!.

Groucho:  Ask what?

Chico:  So that you could ask why you sleep with your eyes open!

Groucho:  Why should I ask?

Chico:  So that you’ll get the answer!

Groucho: But I don’t want the answer!

Chico:  Why not?

Groucho: Because it might keep me awake at night!

Chico:  I thought you could sleep through anything.

Groucho:  I can sleep through anything — except for that!

Harpo:  …………………………………………………………………….

Groucho:  Shuddup, will ya! That’s my line.

Groucho:  What that guy is trying to tell you is this. Bitar thought of everything, and I mean everything! It’s the best organized book on the planet, plastered with boldface headings and boxed summary paragraphs throughout. Bitar even put about 60 figures in the book so that if you can’t read, you can still have fun looking at the pictures. In fact, Bitar wanted us to tell you that if you can’t read, you can still have fun looking at the words. They’re beautiful words — all 56,924,611,937,474,389.75 of them.

Chico:  How do you know the book has that many words?

Groucho:  I counted them.

Chico:  Well, I counted them, too, and I’m telling you that you’re wrong. In fact, you’re so far off, it’s not even funny.

Groucho:  That’s a joke — you don’t even know how to count.

Chico:  Neither do you.

Groucho:  Oh, yes I do! Go ahead and test me.

Chico:  Ok, how many mouths do I have?

Groucho:  One!

Chico:  Well, I’ll be…. I guess you do know how to count. Now you test me.

Groucho:  Ok, how many mouths do you have?

Chico:  That’s an unfair question!

Groucho:  Don’t panic. Just think about it. Stand still; stop breathing; and think hard!

Chico:  How do you expect me to count my mouths if I don’t even have a mirror to see them with?

Groucho:  I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you a hint. Are you ready?

Chico:  Sure. Give me a hint. But don’t give it away, whatever you do.

Groucho:  Ok, here’s the hint: you’ve got one mouth too many.

Chico:  No, I don’t!

Groucho:  Yes, you do!

Chico:  How do you know?

Groucho:  Because I counted them!

Chico:  You did? Well, why didn’t you tell me?

Groucho:  I did tell you!

Chico:  You told me? Then this test doesn’t count!

Groucho:  Why not?

Chico:  Because you’re cheating!

Groucho:  I’m cheating? Why?

Chico:  Because you told me the answer to the question that I’m supposed to answer!

Groucho:  Then answer it!

Chico:  Never! I’m not about to get tangled up with a cheater like you!

Harpo:  …………………………………………………………………….

Chico:  You tell him, Harpo! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Groucho:  You couldn’t have said what?

Chico:  You don’t wanna know.

Chico:  By the way, I gotta tell you that I know that your count is way off because you rattled off some humongously huge number that ended with .75, and everybody knows that doesn’t make any sense when you’re counting words. So you’re off by at least .25 words — and that’s only for starters!

Groucho:  You’re dead wrong! Do you want to know why?

Chico:  Not on your life, I don’t!

Groucho:  Ok, then I’ll tell you: the book has a typographical error. Word number 343,621,485 is supposed to have four letters but one letter is missing.

Chico:  You’re not kidding me, now, are you?

Groucho:  Absolutely not!

Chico:  Which letter is missing?

Groucho:  The letter t.

Chico:  Is it still missing?

Groucho:  The last time I checked, it was still missing!

Chico:  Well, why didn’t you fix it?

Groucho:  I checked my pockets, and I’m all out of t’s.

Chico:  You are? Why in the world did you run out of t’s?

Groucho:  The other day, I had to sell my last t so that could buy a dog bone.

Chico:  Well, you should have kept the t and let your dog catch a rat.

Groucho:  I tried that once, and it didn’t work.

Chico:  Didn’t your dog catch a rat?

Groucho:  I caught a rat, all right. The problem was that I couldn’t chew it!

Chico:  Well, if you ran out of t’s, then you should have used something else, like a j or a q. Those are both good letters to use when you’re in a pinch.

Groucho:  I didn’t think of that.

Chico:  You didn’t? Why not?

Groucho:  I don’t know. I forgot to ask.

Chico:  Well, you should have asked anyway.

Groucho:  I know I should have, but I forgot.

Chico:  Well, the next time something like this happens, don’t forgot! Ok?

Groucho:  Absolutely not!

Chico:  Write it down so that you won’t forget.

Groucho:  I did write it down!

Chico:  Then why’d you forget? Did you lose your note?

Groucho:  I never lose my note. I haven’t lost it for my entire life.

Chico:  So why’d you forget?

Groucho:  I can’t remember.

Chico:  I suppose that if you were at the scene of a crime, you’d forget to read your note.

Groucho:  I was at the scene of a crime!

Chico:  You were? Was he arrested?

Groucho:  Was who arrested?

Chico:  Was Bitar arrested?

Groucho:  No!

Chico:  Didn’t you call the police?

Groucho:  Of course, I called the police!

Chico:  So why didn’t they arrest him?

Groucho:  He got away before I could call.

Chico:  That’s a crime.

Groucho:  Of course, it’s a crime. I already told you that I was at the scene of a crime.

Chico:  So what happened.

Groucho:  They arrested me.

Chico:  They did? Why?

Groucho:  Because of the crime.

Chico:  So how’d you get out of jail?

Groucho:  I paid my bail.

Chico:  Where you’d get the money? And don’t tell me you robbed a bank to get the money.

Groucho:  I always keep some spare change handy just in case.

Chico:  What did it cost you?

Groucho:  17 cents.

Chico:  Really? I didn’t know you were rich.

Groucho:  I’m not anymore — which is why I joined you for this piddly fanfare job.

Chico:  You’d better tell the people about the crime.

Groucho:  You bet I will.

Chico:  Which reminds me, we gotta end this now. Our time’s a-runnin’ out, so let’s a-finish this off.

Chico:  Hey, all you suckers out there in the real world…

Groucho:  Whatever that is…

Chico:  Wat we wanna tell ya all is this. Bitar’s book answers every question and solves every problem.

Groucho:  And then some!

Chico:  So buy one now…

Zeppo:  And buy one then…

Chico:  And then a-buy one all over again!

Groucho:  But don't say we didn't warn you: the book is filled with four-letter words, and all but one of them are written with all four letters!

Chico:  That’s all we’ve got to say.

Groucho:  No, it isn’t!

Chico:  What’s left?

Groucho:  Oh, nothing…just the most important line of all, that’s all!

Chico:  Then spit it out, will you?

Groucho:  Don’t forget to toss your spare change our way!

Chico:  So that’s your line, is it? Well, you can forget about getting any spare change here.

Groucho:  I’d better get some! That’s what I came here for! Bitar is such a cheapskate. He’s not paying me enough to cover the cost of talking for five minutes, let alone trying to think at the same time!

Chico:  So don’t think!

Groucho:  I haven’t been! He’ll have to pay me a decent wage if he expects me to think, too.

Chico:  Don’t worry about it. No one will know the difference. Now let’s get outa here.

Groucho:  Hey, I’m waiting for the spare change!

Chico:  Well, I gotta tell you this: Bitar’s unabridged version is so gigantic that it comes in two volumes, and it takes a tractor to lift each volume! So after buyin’ a book that huge, those suckers won’t have any spare change. In fact, they’ll be lucky to have their shirts left.



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