Stories For Nothing

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Stories For Nothing[1]
Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
Joe Frank
Absurd Monologue, 54 minutes
Preceded by: Emergency Room
Followed by: Building A Church

I have drunk gallons of Chablis, danced the samba, sat outside the casino in the hours before dawn...

Stories For Nothing is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1988.


Joe tells of his luxurious life in Monte Carlo, ending up telling of a guy whose image was burned into stone by the blast at Hiroshima, then a list of accomplishments: 'I have drunk gallons of Chablis...'. He repeats this list a few times in the show.

3:40: Joe tells of a guy who lives in a cave in Ios, a Greek island.

5:20: The guy travels in Afghanistan with his girlfriend Margo. They get dysentery, have to line up to use the outhouse, get terrible care at a hospital.

6:50: The couple is in Iran a month later. They see a garbage truck dump its contents on a village, the villagers pick out the good parts.

8:00: They're broke on Mauai, stay at a health club owned by a disbarred psychiatrist (he too too many 'LSD tablets'), run by Tommy K. Tommy holds a 'trial' for the psychiatrist for giving dope to teenagers, has him beaten up.

12: 'I have drunk gallons of Chablis...' again

14:40: 'Gide called the soul that particle of soil...' - nonsense monologue.

18:10: A dysfunctional family: drug addict father, schizophrenic son, daughter who ran off to live with an alcoholic painter, drop-out son who developed arthritis at 18, Vietnamese adoptee who didn't adjust. The mother tired of it, drove off, picked up a hippie couple, let them drive while she napped in back; hours later she figured out they had stopped for a broken red light all day, so she drove back home.

22:50: Journalist for a city magazine interviews the new police chief while terribly stoned. The chief's PC turns into a lamb, so the reporter leaves.

27: The journalist walks in Berkeley Hills park with others, walks behind an archery range.

30: 'I have drunk gallons of Chablis...' again

32: A guy plays fetch with a date's dog until the ball goes out the window, the dog after it, 10 storeys up.[1]

36:10: One Sunday morning in Santa Monica a TV producer gets jay-walking ticket, which he tears up and ignores. 2 years later, on his way to a shoot, a cop stops him for a busted tail-light, arrests him for the old warrant. His girlfriend is named Margo.

41:20: They (producer & Margo?) drive to a party in Hollywood Hills. The 'Nouveau Melrose Mickey Rourke' motorcycle gang confronts them ineffectively.

44:40: The guy walks in a small park in North Hollywood, watches some derelicts, a dead bird in a fountain, takes a taxi with a retired boxer cabbie.

47:10: 'I have drunk gallons of Chablis...' again

Legacy Synopsis

Repeated discordant monologue: Monte Carlo, a privileged life, living out of hotels, the spasms of the sphincter muscle, Flemish primitives, earthquakes, Hiroshima. Living in a cave off Greece, getting dysentery while traveling through Afghanistan, traveling through slums in Iran, putting a hotel owner on trial in Maui. Having forgotten one's life, never having said anything that didn't immediately seem untrue. A ruined suburban family: the mother runs off and discovers that she's spent a day stopped at a red light on the edge of town. A stoned newspaper man interviews the chief of police, strolls through an archery range. A man goes to meet a blind date, accidentally sends her dog out of a high window. A film director is arrested for an unpaid jaywalking ticket. A yuppie motorcycle gang crashes a party in a wealthy neighborhood. Wandering through LA at night.


Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "Technical production by Carey Breese."


  1. This is an old joke/urban legend; R. Crumb drew a comic version of it.