copyright © 2002 Brian E. Rochlin


by Brian E. Rochlin

[NOTE: Anyone wanting to perform this piece should substitute the regionally specific references (e.g., Hollywood Blvd., Cahuenga, or even No Shame) to make it more personal to their area]



(speaking directly to the audience)

You know, working in this space has its limitations. No one here gets paid to put these pieces up. In fact, we have to pull from our own pockets to pay for whatever we use. Basically, I have no budget.

So, for the piece I’m doing tonight, if I had the budget, I’d have a full light hang, with saturated, colored gels. A red spot here, a green spot here, and a yellow spot here. See, there’s a theme going on.

I’d have taped sounds of traffic and cars honking. If I had the budget, I’d be wearing a costume, a business suit from Brooks Brothers. There would be other actors, playing crazed drivers, rushing to their next casting/meeting/lunch.

Hell, I’d get real cars up here, or at least a couple of cardboard car cutouts. The cops would be chasing me, in full dress uniform, polished badges and all. They’d catch me, pat me down...maybe a little too familiar in their touch...and handcuff me. And if I had the budget, they’d be real cops, real sadistic cops, who’d squeeze my balls just because they could.

If I had the budget, there’d be citywide public outcry about those cops, protests up and down Hollywood Boulevard. Aimless but well intentioned men and women would be screaming: Save No Shame from the pigs. Police corruption is NOT theatrical. They’d march for days and waters would flood downtown Hollywood, parting for Charlton Heston, who we’d hire to play Moses on the corner of Cahuenga.

He’d part the seas just for us as we strolled into the theatre, a cadre of teamsters setting up and breaking down the tables and the Mayor of Kuala Lampur would be flown in to be an member of the audience for just one night.

I’d like you to imagine that I am incredibly handsome, with sculpted abs. Because if I had the budget I damn well would be.

Downstage left, on a raised platform, Jenna Jameson would be going down on Martha Stewart, her pierced tongue grazing her perfectly sculpted pubes. "Love that cherry-flavored hair gel, Martha." Upstage right, gay sex: Rocco Sigfried with his ten inches would be balls deep in the ass of some porn fag wannabe. "Whooo. Wahoo. Ow."

An erupting volcano over here, just for the hell of it. Sacrificial virgins, tightrope artists, trap doors, magical elves that farted magenta balloons. I’d have them all if I had the budget.

Actors would get paid.

If I had the budget, you’d see things you could only imagine, things you couldn’t imagine because your minds were too puny to see. I’d fuck with all of you and the world as a whole. I’d get an atom bomb and blow up Los Angeles, just like they’re never gonna do on "24." If I had the budget, I’d hire hit men to wipe out everyone who ever fucked me over, hire male and female hookers to just look slutty around me. Hire Bill Gates to design software that worked...all the time. I would end world peace.

But I don’t. I don’t have the budget. I’m just another poor, struggling, artist/producer/writer/ actor/fuck-up with no stinking budget and little chance of getting one so I may as well stand up here and pretend that I’m doing something great, when it all just really sucks. Doesn’t it? It just fucking sucks.

Of course, that’s only what I’d say if I had the budget.

Thank you.


©2002, Brian E. Rochlin


"If I Had The Budget" debuted December 13, 2002, performed by Chris Clarke.

Performed at Best of No Shame (Los Angeles) March 27th-April 5th, 2003. Performed by Chris Clarke.

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