The Turn (United Kingdom, 20 mins.)
Directed by: Christian Krohn
Written by: Christian Krohn
Tim Bentinck, James Phelps
Stanley Kovack is a stand up comedian at the Comedy Club. We meet him as he goes on stage and gives a jaded delivery of his out of date routine. He barely gets a laugh. His ritual at the club normally involves making innumerable phone calls to his estranged wife and various stand up venues, hoping to spark interest in either. His constant sipping from small airplane whiskey bottles lead him to go through a young comedian’s (Morris) notebook. It is filled with unbridled creativity, stand up material and memorabilia from Stanley’s hay day as a stand up. Morris Talliver introduces himself to Stanley shortly before being called on stage. Later on, Stanley’s drunken and aggressive behavior gets him thrown out of the club. He finishes the night asleep on the backseat of his car, surrounded with his estranged children’s toys and stuffed animals.
The following evening, at the club, Stanley notices Ed Manning, a very successful comedian and a booker for the BBC. Both have come to watch Morris perform. George and Stanley are long time friends so when George fires Stanley, he does so as gently as possible. It also transpires that Janet (Stanley’s estranged wife) has called George to complain about the many calls she gets from the club.
Stanley arrives in the green room to find one of the comedians (Arthur) bragging about his fame and success. Arthur is not a good comedian but he has a recurrent role in a popular television show and he’s famous for it. It’s too much to take for Stanley who attacks Arthur. A big brawl ensues. Morris alone comes to Stanley’s rescue.
Moments later, they’re alone in the chaotic green room. Stanley finally opens up to Morris. It turns out that they both take advantage of the mess the room is in and steal each other’s material. Morris pockets a handful of pages of Stanley’s while Stanley steals Morris entire notebook.
At the same time, Arthur is too overwhelmed by the audience aggressiveness to perform his routine. They demand that he do the voice of his television character. When he refuses, they turn on him and he has no choice but to leave the stage. At the same time, Morris discreetly reads the pages he has stolen from Stanley. It turns out there’s nothing funny or relevant written on them. After writing parts of Morris’ material on his forearm and hand, Stanley walks on stage in front of the hostile crowd. He is an instant success, the Comedy Club has not had laughs like this in a long time. Ed Manning and the BBC booker forget all about Morris. Morris is crushed when he sees Stanley steal his material.
Weeks later, Stanley is alone in the auditorium of a large theater rehearsing his new routine. He cuts a more successful yet very isolated figure.