It's Christmas, Ya'll (The Pageant Every Church Passed On)

Holy Family

(CAESAR AUGUSTUS is sitting on his throne in the middle of the stage. MRS. AUGUSTUS is laying by his side and TWO JESTERS are draped over chairs on either side of him—they're both drunk with bottles of booze in hand.)

CAESAR
Oh, jesters, my jesters. Why do you jest no longer?

JESTER #1
We've tasted the sweetness, darkness, and loneliness of the bottle.

JESTER #2
And we want more!

CAESAR
Fooey! I say to you, fooey, oh jesters. Forget, that. I am in the mood for other things.

MRS. AUGUSTUS
(like a tramp) What sort of things your royal badness?

CAESAR
Sweet of you to offer, wife. But I, like many others of this time, prefer young boys. Nay, I am not in the mood for pleasures of the flesh. I am in a decreeing mood!

JESTER #2
A decree?

CAESAR
Absolutely.

JESTER #1
Of what sort?

CAESAR
The lucrative kind. I run this. All this is mine. However, times is tough. We need a bailout. We need revenue. We need taxes!

(The Jesters jump for joy and in their drunken state they try to perform for the following song and dance for the king.)

JESTER #1 & #2
You'd be hard pressed to find a self-respecting man
To agree that there's no better truck than a Chevy
But when times are tough, things are rough and tensions running up
What's better than a dedicated levy?

MRS. AUGUSTUS
My husband's tastes for gold and food are quite exquisite
So I spend my days and nights just drinking sherry
I push my feelings down inside to keep up my appearance
But on my husband's tomb it reads "Hail Caesar! (He's a fairy)"

CAESAR
My mouth is dry, my eyes are red and haven't showered in a week
Heavy weighs the crown, you know, this burden's tough to carry
But when my wife suspects that I prefer the company of boys
What's better than a dedicated levy?

(Everybody dances to a conclusion.)

CAESAR
So, it's settled then. A tax, I say! A tax for all!

(Everybody exits. As they exit, MARY and JOSEPH enter. They've been traveling for a while.)

JOSEPH
For the love of GOD, woman!

MARY
I'm with child, asshole! Some might even say I am great with child.

JOSEPH
Those people haven't seen you naked lately, oy! You could hit the gym, why not?

MARY
Joe, we've gotta stop. I'm tired.

JOSEPH
Never! We go to the City of David to pay our taxes!

MARY
It's Bethlehem. Nobody calls it "The City of David" anymore.

JOSEPH
PEH! It's the city of David! Who is this Bethlehem? What is that?

MARY
Can we stop?

JOSEPH
No!

(They continue to walk.)

NARRATOR
And so they trekked on. Joseph insisting they continue until they reach their destination.

(They walk off the stage. The stage goes black.)

NARRATOR
Once in the city of David, Mary gave birth to her child in a barn. She went into labor in a barn. Her initial contractions started in a barn. The kid was born in a barn. It is important to understand that Mary birthed a child in a barn—where cows poop.

(The lights appear and Mary is sitting with a child wrapped in the swaddling. Joseph is Proudly smoking a cigar.)

JOSEPH
Twenty sheckles for a room?? PEH! I say, we sleep in the barn.

MARY
A room would have been a little nicer of a place to have a child. Could you not smoke that? The baby is coughing.

JOSEPH
Nonsense! This will teach the boy about life. He will grow up to be a strong man! A carpenter! Just like his father!

MARY
Listen, about that father thing...

NARRATOR
Mary neglected to tell Joseph about her previous visit from the angel Gabriel.

JOSEPH
I believe you neglected to mention this, wife! How did that work? Was he bigger than me?

MARY
Come on, Joe. It's God.

(Joseph continues stomping around and the stage goes black.)

NARRATOR
As it so happened, God did not want his child to be born without fanfare. So, he rounded up some spectators. First on the list: shepherds.

(The lights come back on as we see three shepherds, GARY, WINSTON and PETE, standing around looking at their sheep.)

GARY
Winston!

WINSTON
What?

GARY
Get your damn sheep away from me. They smell funny.

PETE
You smell funny.

GARY
I wasn't talking to you, Pete.

WINSTON
Hey, shut up, Gary.

GABRIEL
ENOUGH!

(GABRIEL's booming voice is heard off-stage. The shepherds all look up and cower.)

PETE
Uh...god?

GABRIEL
No!

GARY
Muhammad?

PETE
Steve?

GABRIEL
Gabriel, you morons!

WINSTON
Who?

GABRIEL
The Angel Gabriel!

PETE
Oh...of course...Gabriel?

GARY
What's up, Gabriel?

GABRIEL
You still don't know who I am, do you?

WINSTON
Sure, we do! Weren't we in the Coast Guard together or something?

GABRIEL
No! Nevermind. Listen, go to the City of David.

GARY
Which city is that?

PETE
I don't know. Winston?

WINSTON
I don't know either.

GABRIEL
Ugh, for the love of— it's Bethlehem!

WINSTON
Oh, why didn't you just say that?

GABRIEL
It doesn't matter! There's this kid—crackerjack kid, you're gonna love him. Go see him and bring him stuff.

GARY
Let's say we go see this kid, where is he?

GABRIEL
Oh, that's the best part! He's in a barn.

PETE
A barn?

WINSTON
Which one?

GABRIEL
Well, it's, you know, it's that one...over by the...how many barns could there be?

GARY
Quite a few actually, Gabriel.

PETE
What about our sheep?

GABRIEL
This isn't me telling you. This is God.

WINSTON
Why didn't he tell us himself?

GARY
Yeah. Is talking to a couple shepherds beneath him? What an asshole!

GABRIEL
Yeah, he sends me to do stuff from time to time.

PETE
What happens if we don't go?

GABRIEL
You see all these sheep?

WINSTON
What about ‘em?

GABRIEL
Yeah, I'll kill ‘em. All of ‘em. You'll cease to be shepherds and you'll just be three guys walking around together like a bunch of dumb homos.

GARY
That's really true isn't it? I mean, take away the sheep and we kind of suck.

WINSTON
Man, that really is true.

GABRIEL
Good, you're all scared now, yes?

PETE
I'm more confused than scared.

GABRIEL
Good enough. Now GO!

NARRATOR
The three confused shepherds decided to take the angel's advice and travel to Bethlehem.

(The shepherds walk off the stage. The stage goes black.)

NARRATOR
As the hours passed Joseph and Mary became restless. Joseph was not wild about paying taxes and Mary was not wild about birthing a child in a barn.

(The lights come back on. Mary and Joseph are at their posts in the barn.)

NARRATOR
When it came time to name this child, Mary already had one picked out. Joseph had other ideas.

JOSEPH
Rick.

MARY
What?

JOSEPH
Rick. Our son is to be called Rick. Rick of Nazareth.

MARY
Joe, he's not an insurance salesman or an auto-mechanic.

JOSEPH
Like there's something wrong with those professions? He is to be called Rick! Rickey to his friends!

MARY
The angel already gave us a name.

JOSEPH
Oh did he? Was this before or after the Almighty boinked you with his heavenly penis?

MARY
After. But that doesn't matter. We have to call him Jesus.

JOSEPH
What if I refuse? What if I say "Fine, Lord, have my wife. But I get to choose a name."

MARY
If you name him Rick I'm just going to call him Jesus.

JOSEPH
He'll be confused. I don't want a confused young boy with that Caesar around.

MARY
He's going to think his name is Rick Jesus. We could call him R.J.

JOSEPH
Not on your life.

(GARY, PETE and WINSTON enter)

JOSEPH
Who are you?

WINSTON
Shepherds.

MARY
Where are your sheep?

PETE
Outside.

JOSEPH
Won't they be stolen?

WINSTON
No, they're trained.

JOSEPH
Does he speak? (pointing to Gary)

PETE
Usually. But Gabriel just threatened to kill our sheep so he's been kinda quiet.

JOSEPH
You came to see the kid?

MARY
His name's Jesus.

WINSTON
Great name.

PETE
I like it.

GARY
Jesus.

JOSEPH
Oy! Now, you've got them calling him Jesus. He'll never be Rick! Not even Rickey!

MARY
Ha! Take a look, fellas.

(The shepherds crowd around the child. They ooh and ahh then step back and face each other.)

GARY
Some kid.

PETE
Sure is.

WINSTON
No doubt about it.

PETE
We should go tell people.

GARY
Come and see the kid.

WINSTON
Even if they don't see him. Just tell them how wonderful a kid he is.

PETE
That's a good idea, Winston.

WINSTON
Thank you, Pete. That means a lot to me. We're better friends now.

GARY
Hey. What are we standing here for? Let's spread the good news.

PETE
It's great news.

JOSEPH
It's alright news. It coulda been worse.

WINSTON
Nonetheless, it's news all the same.

GARY
Ho!

(And the shepherds wander around stage spreading the good news.)

NARRATOR
The three shepherds went into the night shouting the news from the rooftops, hilltops, and other high places. Each one of them was arrested for disturbing the peace. Gary, Winston, and Pete were all released the following morning and continued to spread the word with their sheep in tow. However, the spreading of the news led to some problems at the highest level of government.

(The stage goes black.)

NARRATOR
At the King Herod level of government.

(The lights come back on and HEROD is sitting on a throne striking similar to the one Caesar sat on. THREE WISEMEN, AL, FRANK, and TIM, are standing listening to him.)

HEROD
You're probably asking yourself why I called you all here today.

FRANK
Sure are, King.

AL
What's the haps?

HEROD
I've come to hear tell of a great king.

FRANK
Must be talking about you, king.

AL
I don't know of another great king. How bout you, Tim?

TIM
I hate both of you.

HEROD
No, not me, men. Don't be silly. The King of the Jews. Some shepherds went ‘round hollering about how wonderful this baby king was. Fella by the name of "Jesus."

AL
Sounds like a reasonable guy.

FRANK
Probably runs a fine house.

TIM
For an infant, sure.

HEROD
For wisest wisemen in my kingdom, you are all pretty stupid. I don't want this so-called "King of the Jews" running around my kingdom. You can't have two kings in one kingdom. If you have two kings in one kingdom do you know what that creates?

AL
A power vacuum!

FRANK
A vacancy of power!

TIM
Shut up! That's completely wrong!

HEROD
Tim is right to demean you. The opposite is true, in fact, it creates a power struggle. And I am not one who enjoys struggling for my power. I don't much care for fending off any Johnny-come-lately king who thinks he rules the Jews.

FRANK
But there's lots of Jews around, King.

AL
Frank's right.

HEROD
I know that. So, I would simply like to meet this king and reason with him. Nay, I would like to worship him. Because if he truly is the King of the Jews then he is to be worshipped. He can rule the religion and I can rule the land. It will work out perfectly. People never have a problem sharing authority. Co-kings. Fifty-fifty.

AL
Why that's a fine idea, King.

TIM
That doesn't sound quite right.

FRANK
Bully, Tim. It's a great idea. Worship his feet and share the throne.

HEROD
It's settled then. Go out into my kingdom and find this king and when you do, bring him to me so that I may pay my respects.

FRANK
Done and done, Herod.

AL
We'll find him. We're wisemen.

TIM
In a manner of speaking we are wise, yes, Al.

(The three wisemen start to leave but Herod gets up and stands in their way.)

HEROD
Now, I must make my instructions crystal clear.

FRANK
Who do you figure to do that?

(Music begins and the following is sung. Musically it's the same as the first song.)

HEROD
I'm the king I want for nothing
So, nimrods, follow me like sheep
Except for Tim, poor Frank and Al
I could manipulate in my sleep
I simply can't believe this jerk
I hate his guts and all his Jew-y kingness
And therefore I must ask myself:
So, what's the deal with Jesus?

TIM
I'm not a dolt I see through lies
I know I should suspect the worst
The growing madness with his power
Not unlike mogul William Randolph Hearst
I've no doubt of his power
He's the chosen one to lead us
Precocious little scamp he is
That's the fuckin' deal with Jesus?

FRANK & AL
We're plain spoken, yes, it's true
The less we say is more, says Tim
Herod wants a Jew-y king
And so we will deliver him
Without good Tim we'd probably starve
He promised not to leave us
Every single place we go we hear
So, what's the deal with Jesus?

(They dance to a conclusion. The stage goes black.)

NARRATOR
With that rousing number, the three wisemen, Frank, Al, and Tim ventured off to find the King of the Jews. Little did they know they were about to run into some tough customers.

(The lights come back on as Gary, Pete, and Winston are standing around with sheep surrounding them.)

PETE
I don't like this silence.

WINSTON
I like silence.

GARY
I'm fairly indifferent towards it.

PETE
You two are the worst.

GARY
Hey, you asked the question.

PETE
Yeah, to start a conversation. Look how that turned out.

WINSTON
Look, we've got time. Our sheep are tired. Why don't we sleep while the sheep sleep?

PETE
You can't say that ten times fast, can you, Winston?

WINSTON
I'm not even gonna try because I don't like your dumb face.

GARY
Come on, let's just keep an eye out. Oh god, it's three other guys.

(Enter FRANK, AL and TIM)

GARY
Hey, fellas.

AL
What ho, good shepherds?

FRANK
What ho?

WINSTON
He just said that.

FRANK
Just hammering home the point.

TIM
Shut up. We're looking for the King of the Jews. You seen him?

GARY
King of the Jews?

PETE
Like, all of ‘em?

AL
I guess? Tim?

TIM
Yes, King of the Jews. King of all Jews.

WINSTON
That's a good title.

FRANK
You know, it really is. I'm wise, but to be King of all Jews? A fella could get used to that sort of thing.

TIM
Have you seen him?

PETE
Well, that all depends. What's in it for us lowly shepherds?

AL
I've got some gold.

GARY
Done. He's in Nazareth. Dad's Joseph. Mom's Mary.

WINSTON
Great family.

PETE
We've basically been touring around talking about how awesome the kid is.

TIM
Why?

GARY
No particular reason.

WINSTON
We're shepherds. Take away the sheep and we don't do anything.

PETE
So, we figured we'd at least do something other than shepherding while we're walking around all over the place.

AL
That's really true.

TIM
Alright, guys. Thanks for the help. We'll be on our way.

(The three wisemen wander off the stage.)

WINSTON
Why did you dime them out like that?

GARY
Dude, gold.

WINSTON
Yeah.

(The lights go to black.)

NARRATOR
The shepherds Winston, Gary, and Pete thought nothing of pointing the wisemen in the right direction. The wisemen followed the path to Nazareth and arrived at the home of Joseph.

(A KNOCK is heard as the lights come on and Mary is preparing a meal. Joseph is sitting at the table sipping wine and baby Jesus/Rick is playing on the ground. Before Mary can answer the door AL, FRANK, and TIM enter.)

JOSEPH
Just who might you be, with the robes on the heads?

TIM
Friends.

JOSEPH
So go and tell us your names, perhaps?

AL
I'm Al. That's Frank and that's Tim.

MARY
Welcome. Is there something you need?

FRANK
Who's the kid?

MARY
Jesus.

JOSEPH
Rick.

MARY
It's Jesus. Joe has trouble dealing with that.

JOSEPH
You'd think I could name my own son. PEH!

AL
Is he by chance king of the—

MARY
Jews? Yes, he is. He's quite a boy.

JOSEPH
I don't even recognize this family anymore.

TIM
Well, the king is quite impressed with your boy and he has requested that young Jesus come to the court of Herod and be worshipped as a king should.

MARY
That sounds lovely.

JOSEPH
The court of Herod? I hear that's a dangerous place.

FRANK
Maybe for dissenters. Are you dissenters?

TIM
After that I doubt they'd tell you if they were, Frank.

FRANK
Ah, yes. Well, either way your dissenting days are over.

JOSEPH
Before I even got a chance to dissent in the first place. This is one rotten day.

MARY
We'd love to see the king and have him worship my child. That's a mighty nice thing to do.

AL
Sure is.

TIM
Great. If you don't mind putting us up, we'll leave in the morning.

(The stage goes black.)

NARRATOR
But that night, something happened to the noble wiseman Tim. He was visited by an angel in his sleep. The message that angel brought was that the life of Jesus would hang in the balance if he were to be delivered to Herod.

(The lights come on and Tim is fast asleep. GABRIEL's voice is heard.)

GABRIEL
TIM!

TIM
What?

GABRIEL
Oh, um, Tim! Tim the wiseman!

TIM
I'm awake, moron. Who's talking?

GABRIEL
It is I! The angel of the Lord!

TIM
I don't know who that is.

GABRIEL
Ugh...come on, man! Gabriel!

TIM
Oh....oh...you...what's—what's goin on, buddy?

GABRIEL
Do you know who I am?

TIM
An angel of some kind?

GABRIEL
You don't do you?

TIM
Not really.

GABRIEL
I bring to you a message from God.

TIM
Any reason he can't just tell me himself?

GABRIEL
Well...because...I am getting tired of going through this with everybody! Every time I visit somebody it's all, "Who's Gabriel?" and, "Why can't God just tell me himself?" or, "You're just a middleman. How do you live with yourself?" That's bullcrap. I am God's right-hand man!

TIM
Yeah, that or his servant.

GABRIEL
(whining) No, I'm not.

TIM
Okay. Something you need from me?

GABRIEL
Don't take Jesus to Herod.

TIM
I know.

GABRIEL
Take hi— wait, what?

TIM
I knew that. Guy sang a song about killing him and those two ding dongs were too caught up to notice. We're gonna take him someplace else.

GABRIEL
Egypt.

TIM
Egypt?

GABRIEL
What's wrong with Egypt?

TIM
It's a little random, don't you think?

GABRIEL
Listen, if you don't take him to Egypt then I will have wasted my time even talking to you.

TIM
Well, I certainly don't want that to happen, Gabriel.

GABRIEL
Exactly. I am an important angel. Go to Egypt. Go there because I told you to.

TIM
God told me to.

GABRIEL
No! Me! I told you!

TIM
Fine. That it?

GABRIEL
Yes...goodbye!

(The lights go out.)

NARRATOR
And when everybody woke up the next morning, Tim led everybody to Egypt. Jesus and his family were safe and the three wisemen were off the hook. However, as time passed Herod slowly realized he would never see the King of the Jews.

(The lights come on and Herod is sitting on that throne. A WOMAN is draped over a couch next to him.)

HEROD
This isn't right. I've been foiled by a couple of idiots and one reasonably wise man. I'm ruined!

WOMAN
Don't cry. You're still my king.

HEROD
Who cares? There's another king out there. Ooh! I hates wisemen!

WOMAN
You needn't worry, king. You'll never hear from that King of the Jews again.

HEROD
You know what? You're right.

(Herod gets up and starts to sing.)

HEROD
As so it goes, far off they went
To ignore my lone request
I've said it once, I'll say it twice
King Herod always knows what's best.

WOMAN
I'm a loyal woman can't you see?
If I see rules, I know they'll bend.
But if I know one thing for sure:
You'll never see that jerk again.

HEROD
You know you're right, my loyal wife
This is the absolutely where this story ends
That Jesus clown was just a myth
I'll never see that jerk again.

WOMAN & HEROD
And our story ends with song
And musical accompaniment
For all of those of you who hate
Take our advice and get bent.
Herod's story is a happy one
He's his father's favorite son
It's our position, yes, we do contend
My kingdom will never see it's end
Jesus Christ will never be my friend
We know we'll never see that jerk again.

The End


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Andrei Trostel's picture

HAHAHA

I lost it at:

"That's really true isn't it? I mean, take away the sheep and we kind of suck."

Well done Aaron!

Gavin Pitt's picture

This was awesome. Love Joseph and his "Peh!"

Merry Xmas!