LINDA: Hello, PUTV viewers. It’s that time of year again—time for our annual telethon! We rely on viewers like you for more than half of our operating budget, and we’d like to thank you in advance for supporting the PUTV mission. Our phone is already ringing off the hook, so that’s a good sign, right Dave?
DAVE: I’m sorry, Linda. The phone was off the hook. [Hangs up phone.] Now the calls should start pouring in. Speaking of pouring … [Empties a bottle of cough syrup into a Dixie cup.]
LINDA: Well, let me first tell our viewers about some of the great programs coming up on PUTV. One of our favorites, Mad Dog McLean, host of Throwin’ Phonebooks, will be venturing into uncharted territory with his new science show, The Origin of Feces, in which he will explore bowel matter in both a scientific and historical context.
DAVE: That’s right, Linda. Think David Attenborough meets Charles Darwin vs. Dracula.
DAVE: Correct. Mad Dog assures me there will be a vampire slant to the show. Now, that may just mean he’ll be wearing a cloak and have the white gunk on his face that you see on other heroin addicts, but you never know with Mad Dog!
LINDA: No, you don’t, and it’s those kinds of surprises that make PUTV such a vital part of our community. Let me remind our viewers that there are more ways than one to help PUTV: you can visit our web site …
DAVE: The computer is down.
LINDA: Oh. Well, the server should be up shortly.
DAVE: Nope. Dezzie, the production temp, smashed it.
LINDA: Oops! I’m sure you meant “crashed it,” Dave—you old Luddite! Well, our I.T. guy should have the site up and running in no time.
DAVE: No, I mean he smashed the computer with a frozen horse penis. It was all over the YouTubes, I’m told.
LINDA: Egads. Well, there’s always the phone and … [Phone rings.] Oh, looks like we’ve got a caller. Hello, PUTV supporter!
CALLER: I am Asmodeus, King of the Nine Hells! Demon of lust! Possessor of Loudun! I have escaped from Egypt, held these centuries by the vile Ralph …
DAVE: Dezzie, you are not allowed to call here, or be here, or even think about here.
CALLER: I’m sorry I broke the computer. Can I have my job back?
DAVE: No! And we double-checked your references. Princeton doesn’t have a film school.
CALLER: I meant Yale.
DAVE: Eew. Forget it, then.
CALLER: May you writhe and boil in the Second Ring of Hell over which, I, Asmodeus, reign with a fiery dominion and a ruthless … [Dave hangs up phone.]
LINDA: Well, not every caller can make a donation. We’re in a tough economic spot, and we are well aware of how hard it is to reach into those pockets. But, without people like you, PUTV couldn’t provide the programming you’ve come to know and love. Maybe you’re a devotee of one of our popular cooking shows like Eye of Newt, Toe of Frog on a Budget with Wiccan Wally Womack or I Did It My Whey: Adventures in Milk Plasma. Or perhaps you enjoy some of our late-night segments? You Can’t Do That on the Bus! and Me Gusta Verano are a few of my favorites. And let’s not forget the morning programs, Cup o’ Joe and a Smoke and a Rash with Hobo Jack and Watch Me Watch Videos of Myself Watching Videos of Myself. Whatever your TV tastes, we depend on you for support, because the N.E.A. won’t even return our calls.
DAVE: What are we doing here?
LINDA: It’s the telethon, Lil Wayne. Maybe ease up on the Robitussin.
DAVE: No, no, no. Public TV is out, Lindroid. Is anyone out there watching this? If anyone is watching, please call! We’re done, Linda. It’s all YouTube and YouDwarf and YouNameIt. Nobody watches us anymore. Look. I’ve never seen a lonelier phone. Did you know my stepson posted himself on YouTube fondling the sofa crevice? They call that art? I’d rather turn on Watching the Paint Dry, the only show we’ve ever cancelled!
LINDA: Oh, Dave, don’t be such a negative Nancy. You never knew if the paint was actually going to dry—I thought it was suspenseful. How about we move forward and talk about our matching gift program. We’ve got a number of companies who will match your charitable donation dollar-for-dollar!
DAVE: What the hell companies are those? Your senile grandmother in the Hamptons?
LINDA: No, Dave. If you’re so down in the dumps, go in the vault and watch an episode of Eine Kleine Armpitmusik from last year, or go in the men’s room and do what it is you do in there. And leave Nana out of this.
DAVE: Meh. Matching gifts never works, Linda, and you know it. All those I.R.S. forms, ledger books, tax preparation software. It’s too much hassle. Besides, YouTube is the new public access. We’re just relics, Linda. Accept it. Do you want to know what I do in the bathroom, Linda? I weep and I curse the future. And I do it in the nude.
LINDA: You also do it with a Japanese rhyming dictionary.
DAVE: How’d you know that?
LINDA: Dezzie rigged up a camera in the head. I’d say you should have a show here on PUTV, Dave, but you’re blowing up on YouTube.