adventures in character voice

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Concerned that my sitcom characters will all speak with the same vocabulary and general snark levels, as an exercise, I’ve been writing custom endings to common children’s riddles on their behalf. Now they each have answers to “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup” and “What’s black and white and red all over?” While this looks like a lot of characters, the show is about a theatre troupe. Nearly half the characters are actors, and the rest are the people they play on stage:

“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.”
“No there isn’t. It’s a… okay, it’s a fly, but keep it to yourself or they’ll all want one. Deal?”

“What’s black and white and red all over?”
“A soccer ball with… jam?”

***

“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.”
[Dramatic pose] “We’re being bugged.”

“What’s black and white and red all over?”
“Blood money.”

***

“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.”
“Great. I don’t have a costume for him.”

“What’s black and white and red all over?”
“Don’t look at me; you never specified a colour theme.”

***

“Pour little soul! One minute he’s buzzing around, maybe on his way to fulfill a lifelong dream, only to end up drowning in a savoury, alphabet-filled grave.”

“What’s black and white and red all over?”
“Fifteen varieties of our tea. Milk and sugar?”

***

“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.”
“Certified organic.”

“What’s black and white and red all over?”
“Schindler’s list. Also clown makeup.”

***

“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.”
“Oh no. I must have switched your order with the Frog’s!”

“What’s black and white and red all over?”
“I don’t think we have that on the menu.”

***

“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.”
“Don’t think I won’t add it to your tab.”

“What’s black and white and red all over?”
“Varying degrees of frostbite. I wouldn’t go out tonight, unless you want find out exactly what that looks like.”

***

“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.”
“There are worse foods it could have died in. Not many.”

“What’s black and white and red all over?”
“I’d guess ‘my pride’ but I haven’t seen that in years.”

***

“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.”
“That’s no soup. That’s the Bugmans’ hot tub. Eat more and they’ll get you for murder.”

“What’s black and white and red all over?”
“Tell it I’m not here.”

***

“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.”
“Go on. Tell someone you got contaminated soup here. I dare you.”

“What’s black and white and red all over?”
“I don’t have time for games, but it’s newspaper. Or penguin with a sunburn. Or an embarrassed zebra. Don’t you have work to do?”

***

In other news, I’m also in brainstorming mode for a kids’ cartoon show. Anyone know a good illustrator who might want to do character concept art?

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