The MacScouter's Big Book of Skits
by R. Gary Hendra, the MacScouter
The MacScouter's Big Book
of Skits is the result of compiling skits from various Internet Scouting
sources, and lots of creative people. The Big Book was revised in 1997, and is now somewhat out of date. But there are still a lot of great skits here. At last count
there are about 400 skits in the Big Book -- this may be the biggest collection
of skits in the world. With a little luck, the book will be updated irregularly,
as more material comes in.
The Big Book started with
the Scouts-L Skits FAQ, and a few other small compilations of skits. People
have sent me individual skits and groups of skits. My sincere thanks to
Merl Whitebook, the most prolific contributor to this volume. My thanks
also to Hans Hussman, Bob Jenkins, the US Scouting Service Project, the
Australian Scouting Association, and a cast of other characters.
by Merl Whitebook, adapted
by the MacScouter
Skits are usually never
longer than 3 to 5 minutes and are ideally somewhere around 90 seconds.
Sources of your skits
are imagination, Leader magazine, jokes from books, Reader's Digest, campfires,
kids, and other leaders, and of course the MacScouter's Big Book of Skits.
Watch out for scratch
skits from the kids, because they usually aren't funny, are too long and
don't make any sense, not to mention the kids forget what they're supposed
to say and do. A real bore to watch. Which leads to the next point --
reserve the right to edit or veto the kids' skits, within reason of course.
You've got to avoid swearing, hitting, and stupid, no-sense skits. Though
I have seen some original beauties from kids, as well as some wonderful
modifications from them, both of which through little if any leader intervention.
Generally, a good way
to get the kids involved in a good skit is to provide them with a choice
of about two or three skits and let them choose a tried and proven skit,
then help them modify it to the number of kids available and the theme.
Rehearse the skit beforehand.
It will increase the kids' confidence and can help to avoid whispering,
fumbling, amnesia, arguing about who says what, and all sorts of problems.
This task is impossible,
but essential to work on. The boys have to speak up so that everyone can
hear them. Who cares how good the joke is if you can't hear it. That's
where rehearsing comes in handy.
Cue cards can be useful
for the kids so that they can remember their lines. Make poster size cards
with large, simple writing. A far out idea, but can be useful if the kids
can read. And hey! It may unintentionally turn out to be the gag of the
weekend! (How about a skit involving cue cards, and the punch line being
"But Sir! We can't read!")
Besides the variations
mentioned, most of these skits lend themselves rather well to variation
of some sort, allowing for easy use throughout a variety of different
themes. I saw "The Beer Commercial" originally as a filming of Romeo and
Juliet, "The Dumb Actors" can be a filming of any theme related scene,
"Peanuts in the Lake" originally had flat out refusals from the relatives,
but was modified for an environmental theme, and "Rise, Walk, and Kill,
Igor" can have a Scout Troop selling fertilizer, Dr. Mad's Grandmother
visiting and the cable company coming by to install a new TV.
Of course, some skits
such as "You've Broken the Rules!," "Nosebleed," to some extent "Trimming
the Christmas Tree" and "The Infantry is Coming!" are a little more situation
specific and depend on prescribed scenery and situations to get the joke
done properly. But when possible, decide what you need and then change
a skit, even if only minor details mentioned can be changed to fit. The
scripts aren't cast in stone.
Avoid rancid skits such
as Veech Boton, Ugliest Man in the World, Is it Time Yet?, Nosebleed,
and any skit you or your kids have done three times in row (or three times
in the past year.) Yes, the kids do love these skits and want to do them
again and again, but they become bored sooner or later and start to complain
"Not another campfire..." or they call out "I know the joke! He's got
a nosebleed!" So try a new skit -- it's just as fun and will improve greatly
the enjoyability of your campfires.
Watch out for using or
modifying skits that touch on sensitive topics. What used to be considered
acceptable jokes no longer are, such as ethnic or handicapped targets.
Keep to topics of common ground.
In your skits, a volunteer
is usually a pre-selected person who you seem to pluck out of the audience,
but of course is planted there. In a pinch, you can just choose your volunteers
at random and give them instructions as part of the act. A victim, on
the other hand, is a person who is chosen at random or pre-selected (without
their knowledge) to be the butt of the joke. Of course, discretion is
advised. Try your good humored DC or that Beaver leader who just won't
run out of energy.
Have a cheermaster. A
CM is someone who keeps track of group songs, yells, cheers and skits.
Over time, you can start weeding out the good from the bad from the seen
too many times and you can get quite a collection -- here's mine! With
many sources you can pick up as many as you desire.
Build up a repertoire
of one man skits, or, if you have one of those friends who's been with
you in your Scouting endeavors since you were a Scout and probably will
always be with you till beyond the grave, act as a team and memorize some
skits that without even a moment's notice you can use to fill in a space.
There are a number of skits listed here that require only one or two participants
or whose "volunteers" can usually be chosen at random.
Examples -- "The Bubble
Gum in the Studios;" "Flora the Flea;" "The Bigger Jerk;" "The Highest
Tree Climber" (just have the person talk to himself); "7 Jerks on the
Line;" "Spring is Sprung;" "The Viper" (just two people, same one running
in over and over again); "You Don't Say;" "Highest Jumper in the World;"
"The Well-Trained Elephant;" "Food, Water and Mirror on the Sahara;" "You
Need a Tie, Sir;" "A Hot Meal;" "Brain Shop;" "Pet Shop;" "The Ghost of
Midnight;" "I'm Gonna Get You!;" "News Flash!;" "Learning the Alphabet;"
"The Wrong Skit;" and "The Ghost With One Black Eye."
Make your skits enjoyable!
There are a few books I know
on skits, yells and campfires:
The "BSA Cub Scout Leader
How-To Book". It is built to help the cub scout pack and den leaders running
programs that kids enjoy. A section of 15 pages is dedicated to skits,
yells and applauses. ISBN 0-8395-3831-6.
"Creative Campfires" is
another fine publication. Half of the book contains songs, and the rest
is crammed with skits, stories, yells and tips to set up an entertaining
campfire. (Sorry - no ISBN, but it can be ordered worldwide from the BSA
Supply Division - Fax +1-704-588-5822).
That go Bump in the Night" by William Forgey, M.D. contains 21 campfire
stories, with large typeface summary of each. Also includes the author's
suggestions for how to be successful at telling campfire stories. ISBN
0-934802-23-8 published by ICS Books. Approximate price: $10US ($13CA).
Index of Skits
MacScouter's Big Book of Skits
Run-ons and Other Shorts