NEANDERTHAL!! (C.1984)

A doctor is sitting in his surgery. There is a knock at the door.

Doctor: Come in, come in.

A man enters timidly.

Doctor: Now now, sit down. That’s it. And you are?

Man: Eric, Eric Van Beethoven.

Doctor: And your name is?

Man: Fred Smitherington-Snogg.

Doctor: Good. Now Eric, what’s your problem?

Eric: Well, its rather serious and personal really.

Doctor:( taking notes) Is it?

Eric: No its too bloody silly for words actually.

Doctor: (scribbling out what he had written) Really? So what is it?

Man: Well, you see doctor, although I may appear to all intents and purposes to be a normal man I am, in fact a homo- er, a homo- erm how can I put this?

Doctor: Well back in your trousers might be a start. Come on be a man. You are a homo what?

Man: I’m a homo… a homo…. a homo….. homo-erectus doctor.

Doctor: You are a neanderthal man?

Man: Yes doctor.

Doctor: Are you finding it a problem?

Man: It’s rapidly becoming one doctor. I mean every time I walk down the street and see a pretty girl I have the uncontrollable urge to… urge to…

Doctor: Whap her on the head with your club and drag her back to your cave?

Man: That’s right doctor.

Doctor: Well, I wouldn’t let it worry you too much. It’s a phase pretty much everybody goes through at some point. The urge to walk around, half-stooped, with hairy chests and arms; the urge to do silly things with rocks in the middle of fields….

(During this Fred gradually strips off and stoops down in a kind of simian based slump. He hobbles around the surgery going “ugh!!”)

Doctor: I’ve seen it all before. I know plenty of others who have suffered from this delusion you musn’t let it worry you.

(Fred goes to the surgery door, it opens and he is joined by a horde of other neanderthals. They all congregate midstage swinging their arms and “Ugh”ing at each other. The doctor now becomes a narrator, picking up a book lying on the table and reading from it.)

Doctor: Neanderthal man. A fascinating species. Primitive, but highly intelligent. Pagan, but significant. Milk, but no sugar.

(Somebody walks onstage and gives him a nice,hot,cup of tea)

Doctor: Thank you. Let’s recreate and examine a typical day in the life of this species. The day would open with a general meeting. Much like the one going on behind me now.

(“Ughs” from Neanderthals)

Doctor: It is now widely believed that it was at a meeting such as this that the first word we would recognise as English was first uttered….

Nean 1: Ugh, ugha wugha wugh.

Nean 2: Ugh, ugha ugha ugh.

Nean 1: Ugh? Ugh wugha ugh?

Nean 2:Ugh! Ugh ugha wugha wug.

Omnes Neans: Ugh!!

Nean 1: Ugh, ugha wugha ugha whug?

Nean 2: Ugh wugh BAWKS!!

Nean 1:Ugh? Ugha wugha BAWKS??!!

Nean 2: BAWKS!!

(Nean 1 clubs Nean 2)

Nean 1: Ugh BAWKS!!! Ugh ugha wugha. Ugh BAWKS!!

Nean 2: BAWKS!!!

Nean 1: Ugh!!

(Nean 2 clubs Nean 1. Nean 1 clubs him back. They continue to argue as the the other neanderthals start to do some kind of dance)

Doctor: Naturally, this new word was a sensation and it has been commemorated even to this day by a primitive song and dance record called “The Bawks-Ugh Beat”.

Omnes Neans: (Banging their clubs on the ground) Doing the box-ugh beat, the box-ugh beat. Doing the box-ugh beat etc etc.

Doctor: However it was only the start. New words were to be added as mankind’s vocabulary gradually expanded even further from its roots.

Nean 1: Ugh ugha wugha Kenwood Mixer ugh?

Nean2:Ugh, ugh ugh haemoglobyn BAWKS!!

Nean 3: Ugh Ugh Electrolux fridge freezer with semi rotating ice BAWKS!!

Doctor: After the morning assembly the men of the tribe would often go hunting leaving the females to prepare the meals.

(All Neans leave stage except one brandishing a frying pan. She waves it above the ground.)

Doctor: This was also fraught with difficulties, particularly as fire had not been discovered yet.

Nean: BAWKS!!

(She throws away the pan and picks up two flints)

Doctor: The invention of fire, however, was only a stone’s throw away.

(A stone is thrown from offstage hitting the nean on the head)

Nean: BAWKS!!!

(She starts to bang the stones together shouting “Bawks” at every stroke. Every so often stopping for breath. About about 30 seconds it dawns on her that she isn’t going to get anywhere. She pulls out a box of Swan Vestas and strikes one.)

Doctor: The invention of fire was, of course, quickly followed by the invention of the first fire brigade.

(The other neans run across the stage throwing a bowl of water over her putting out the match before vanishing again. She sits there looking at her redundant fire stick for a while)

Nean: BAWKS!!

(She walks off to join the others)

Doctor: One of the most significant achievements of these people is, of course, Stonehenge which they chucked together in a moment of boredom. In order to do this however they had to travel great distances to gather suitable rocks which they then used some primitive rolling devices to transport many hundreds of miles. This, of course, gave birth to the earliest known rock and roll band, The Rolling Stones.

(A stone is thrown from offstage hitting him on the head)

Doctor: Thank you.

(Various nean noises heard from offstage. They all come in clutching spears which they stab at the ground with.)

Doctor: Ahhh, this is interesting. Here we see them all engaged in fishing. The method may seem very primitive but we musn’t forget, this is a very primitive tribe. So primitive, in fact, that they haven’t worked out that fish live in water.

(The Neans stop at this. Look at their spears. Look at the ground. Look at their spears. Look at each other. The start stabbing each other instead until they are all dead. Doctor looks back over his shoulders at the carnage shrugs his shoulders then faces the audience).

Doctor: Well, there you have it. Primitive neanderthals , senselessly killing each other over food. But we are, of course, far more intelligent than that today aren’t we?
(Exits)

If I remember rightly, I wrote this at the same Crusader camp I wrote “I’m Picking My Nose”. I was hoping it would be usable as an end of camp sketch but something else must have turned up instead. Ah yes. Navy Day.

A couple of things need explaining here. The “Bawks” stuff derived from a chap I used to work with who claimed that scientists had discovered that the earliest known English word spoken by these ancient tribes was “box” pronounced “Bawks”. I know now that it is probably complete rubbish but I found the idea funny anyway.

The “Bawks-ugh beat” relates to a song that was then in the charts called “The Boxer Beat” by a group called JoBoxers (I think). Probably on Youtube if you want to check out the original.

I am pleased to say that much of this still made me laugh although I feel I got a little bit preachy in the last line.

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