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Santa Claus Interview (12th Ed. 2004)

Cast and Costumes:

S: Santa (in traditional costume)
C: Connie Chunk (dressed as TV personality)
(or Walter Gasundheit, or Barbara Wonderful)

Set: 2 chairs and an end table or other simulated talk show set.

Connie: (informally to audience) I am host of tonight's broadcast. Thank you for coming today to be part of our studio audience. In a moment we will go on the air live. When I give the signal, please applaud to start our program.

(signals the audience, who applaud)

C: (looking at the TV camera) Do you remember Santa Claus? Lets see how he's doing in 2004. We wish to acknowledge BBS Television, without whose cooperation... this program was produced.

Welcome to the award-winning BBS presentation, "Ten Minutes", a cursory look at significant issues of our day, with yours truly, Connie Chunk. Today I am going to speak to someone who is no stranger to us and yet about whom there exist many questions. He has graciously consented to be interviewed live and in person here at his corporate offices near the North Pole. Good evening Santa.

Santa: (Wearily) Ho, ho, ho, Connie.

C: You don't seem to have your traditional enthusiasm, Santa. May I ask why?

S: Do you really want to know, Connie? Look at me, skin and bones, I must have lost 100 pounds in the last 6 months. All right, I'll tell you, I find very little to be jolly about. This business is definitely not what it used to be.

C: I'm shocked and sorry to hear that, Santa, but could you please elaborate for our viewers?

S: Well the most immediate problem on my mind is the labor dispute.

C: Labor dispute?!

S: Yes, we've succeeded in keeping it quiet until our backup plan was firmly in place, but contract negotiations have completely broken down in the Elf walkout.

C: What does this mean for toy production?

S: Fortunately we saw it coming and moved most of our production to Kiev.

C: Kiev???

S: Lets not get into that. I just can't get used to all this legal hassling. I can still remember when the Elves worked for nothing. Now they want back pay.

C: What accounts for their change of attitude?

S: I'm not sure. There is no doubt I did make some blunders, giving them duties for which they are not well suited by training or by temperament, such as extensive clerical and especially legal work. Oh, they do just fine processing letters from the kids, but filling out environmental impact statements and handling potential lawsuits was a bit too much for them. But what am I supposed to do? Mrs. Santa and I couldn't handle it all ourselves!

C: So the Elves were overwhelmed?

S: And also sensitized to legal issues they never even knew existed before.

C: What sort of legal issues?

S: Oh, lawsuits by irate kids, sexual harassment accusations, actions by the Fair Employment Opportunities Office regarding discriminatory hiring practices... now I find that particularly frivolous and without substance. I mean, after all who else is there to hire around here but Elves?! And look, this week we received notice of a class action suit on behalf of all the kids in the world without fireplaces. I've even gotten indications that ever since they finished with the Microsoft case, the anti-trusters are coming after us next!

C: I had no idea there was even a problem, much less that the problems were so wide spread.

S: Connie, we have two large law firms on retainer just to keep our heads above water. Several big cases we had sunk a lot of money into will have to be retried from scratch because the judge was arrested on some sort of corruption charge.... I don't want to say any more.

C: Why would a child want to sue Santa Claus?

S: (Holds up a letter) Here's a typical case. A letter from Johnny, who has written us for years, now age 15. As you probably know, our charter mandates a cutoff at 16. Johnny writes:

"Dear Santa, I want a classic Corvette and my weight in gold. You have to give it to me because my record is clear. In case you have forgotten, my parents are both lawyers. If we do not receive your letter of intent by November 25, we intend to file suit. Cordially, Johnny"

C: That's awful!

S: And to top it off, we didn't even have a chance to try to settle before the deadline because I didn't even see the letter until November 30, a full month after it was mailed.

C: Is the postal service that slow?

S: That's part of the reason. The other is that due to budget cuts, the US Post Office here at the North Pole was closed (American kids are the only ones who write). Anyway, now I have to send someone to Hudson Bay just to pick up the mail.

C: (Pauses) Do you have anything to say about the Sugar Plum Tragedy?

S: (Looking pained) Yes, I have the deepest sympathy for the victims and their families, even the ones who are suing us. I also cannot help feeling sorry for the perpetrator. Only a very sick person would put dioxin in a sugar plum.

C: What have you done to avoid further incidents.

S: (very confidently) Our investigations indicate that the tampering took place after the goods left our jurisdiction. No past or present employees of the Foundation were involved. May I remind you that our intelligence gathering methods are the envy of both the CIA and KGB and far more sophisticated and gentle than either. We really do know who is naughty or nice. No one is questioning our data or its interpretation. Nevertheless, we have recalled all edible gifts. I think my Elves could come up with tamper-resistant packaging but their attitude at present makes that completely out of the question.

C: Santa, I don't have a very clear idea of how you make a go of it financially.

S: We are endowed, Connie, and have sizable investment income. Mrs. Santa is a sophisticated financier. Her expertise at using our data banks has proved particularly useful since the market moves on human emotions which we monitor constantly because of the business. (As Santa says this, Connie looks disturbed) Naturally the distribution subdivision does not need to monitor adults, but when the technology was there and we had excess capacity, we took the opportunity. This alone has kept us afloat.

C: (Hesitantly) I hate to even mention the word, but doesn't this border on insider trading?

S: (Indignantly) I know what you are thinking, Connie and advise you to forget it. What we have is more like "inside the insider information". We avoid being cheated by seeing it all coming. Besides, our expenses have been astronomical as you can imagine. We have had to supplement our income with benefits and personal appearances. We do everything we can to cut costs. Still, for example, some airports charge us a "use tax" for flying through their air traffic control space. This fall when I tried to design the cheapest route, I blew out our main computer.

C: Do you receive any individual contributions?

S: (Sighs and sounds frustrated) We used to get more, Connie. I think I have succeeded in alienating so many special interest groups that now almost everybody has something against me.

C: Not everybody, I'm sure, Santa.

S: (Sighs again and holds up a long petition) Well, look at this. Thousands of fine people are down on me because they think Rudolf should be declared an endangered species and kept off the runs. (Puts head in hands).

C: (Looks worried) How is your health holding up, Santa?

S: (Seems near tears but fights them back and answers more softly) Well, Mrs. Santa has arthritis. I have had high blood pressure ever since I was shot down by the Russians. I'm fortunate to be alive, there's no question about that. But its a long way to our Doctor and he won't make house calls, certainly not for what Medicare pays him. Mrs. Santa had to treat me herself for pneumonia last February when we turned the thermostat way down after getting our January heating bill. And do you think she could get those child-proof pill bottles open? I don't know, I just don't know... (begins to sob).

C: I think we had better return to our studio, Santa..

S: (Crying) And I always thought that my son would take over the business. Of course he can be anything he wants, but a hairstylist?

C: Well, that's all from here. Not much to "ho, ho, ho" about at the North Pole.

S: (Shouting through his tears) I get so depressed at Christmas!!

C: I'll call your doctor. (Escorts Santa offstage).

All these dramas may be used and shared freely. If you do use them, I would be interested in knowing about it and hearing comments.

Send comments to me at ross{at}

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