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The Clifford Odets School for Cruelty

by:  Molly FitzMaurice at 11/21/2014

The Clifford Odets School for Cruelty 

Just in time for Thanksgiving supper!

AWAKE AND SING! playwright Clifford Odets

 When Ralph says “I see every house lousy with lies and hate,” he speaks from experience. The Berger family of Awake and Sing! is dagger-tongued, with cruel words specially sharpened for each other’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities; their attacks cut close as only families’ can. But not every squabbling dinner table has the luxury of skilled scribe Cliffords Odets. In his screenplay Sweet Smell of Success, the insults not only sting but sing – and sent laughs through the house at Coolidge Corner’s Stage and Screen this Monday. Wow your family at Thanksgiving dinner next week with lines that really bite.


Dad’s sniffing around for your love life over green bean casserole? We’ve got you covered.
“The next time you want information, don't scratch for it like a dog, ask for it like a man!”

Have these three ready for when That Uncle tries to talk turkey about politics.
“President? My big toe would make a better President!”
“He's got the scruples of a guinea pig and the morals of a gangster.”
“That's fish four days old. I won't buy it!”

AWAKE AND SING! playwright Clifford Odets

Want to share your eye rolls with a sympathetic sibling as you pass the mashed potatoes? Try this ice breaker.
“I often wish I were deaf and wore a hearing aid. With a simple flick of a switch, I could shut out the greedy murmur of little men.”

Anything and everything can be improved with these all-purpose insults poured over them. They’re the gravy of disdain.
“I'd hate to take a bite outta you. You're a cookie full of arsenic.”
“You've got more twists than a barrel of pretzels!”
“I don't relish shooting a mosquito with an elephant gun, so why don't you just shuffle along?”

Your cousin’s new boyfriend is trying way too hard to prove he’s ‘The Life of the Party.’ And he’s hogging the pumpkin pie.
“If you're funny, I'm a pretzel! Drop dead!”

Anyone for another after dinner round of Trivial Pursuit?
“Like the rest of the human race, I'm bored.”

Whisper this into Mom’s ear as you hug her goodbye. “I'd rather be dead than living with you. For all the things you've done, I know I should hate you. But I don't. I pity you.”


These are the best of Sweet Smell of Success. What are your favorites from Awake and Sing!? Find out now through December 7 & stock up for the whole family this holiday season!




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