[It’s a cold New York City night, outside a Manhattan movie theater. After a beat, the doors open and a throng of people starts pouring out. Among them are Jerry and George.]
GEORGE: Boy that was a stinker!
JERRY: I don’t understand how these big studios can just bastardize classic movies like that.
GEORGE: I tell ya, I wish I had one of those mind-erasing devices so my memory of the original was not tainted. I’ll never be able to watch Sack Lunch again after tonight!
[He looks around, then checks his watch.]
GEORGE: So should we grab an Uber before the fares start going up?
JERRY: Don’t worry, I got it. With your Uber rating, we’ll be lucky if a car even picks us up.
[He glances down at his phone.]
JERRY: He should be here in two minutes. Look out for a white Kia Sorento.
GEORGE: What does “Sorento” even mean?
JERRY: I think it’s Korean for “little man.”
GEORGE: Do you think they classify “little people” differently over there?
GEORGE: What? On average Korean people are 1-1.5 inches shorter than Americans. An adult in the US can legally be classified as a little person if they’re 4’10” or shorter. Do they have to adjust downward?
JERRY: What do you think? Do you think the people in Samoa have a different measurement for their BMIs considering they’re all built like gorillas?
[George ponders this for a second.]
GEORGE: I wonder, would I be a thin man over in Samoa? I mean, I may not be muscular but I’ve been hitting the cardio more recently and, well maybe, by comparison, I’m not looking so bad.
JERRY: No, by comparison they’re not looking so bad.
[Jerry looks at his phone to see it vibrating. He looks up and spots a white car at the end of the block.]
JERRY: Oh there’s our ride.
[The two amble along to the car.]
GEORGE: You know, it must be such a double whammy to be a legal midget in Korea. To be the shortest in a country of already short people? God, it’s like having alopecia in the bald community.
JERRY: The bald look down on people with alopecia?
GEORGE: They’re freaks, Jerry, we all know this.
[The two get into the backseat of the Uber. After closing the doors, they’re both surprised when a familiar face turns to them from the front seat.]
KENNY BANIA: Hey Jerry! George!
JERRY: Bania!? You’re an Uber driver now?
BANIA: Oh yeah, about four months now.
GEORGE: The comedy business not going so well?
JERRY: [Under his breath.] Was it ever going well?
BANIA: No, George. This is how you do comedy now. Online viral videos. [He points to his phone on the dashboard.] Not only am I driving you two to…112th and Broadway. [He puts the car into gear and begins driving as he says this.] I’m also recording this whole ride while I test out my new stand-up routines!
JERRY: Okay if that’s the price we’re going to have to pay I’d rather walk through Manhattan until my legs are bloody stumps–
BANIA: Hey, no worries, Jerry, we can just chat. Besides, you’ve already heard all the stuff I’m workshopping this week. I sent it over in that video log from yesterday.
JERRY: Yeah, of course, I watched that. [He looks at George with an eye roll.]
GEORGE: So you just do material while you’re driving? And then you record it and put it on the Internet?
BANIA: Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. My fans get to see my new stuff, I can have fun with customers and build a new following, and if something is really killing I can add it to my act.
JERRY: You have “fans”?
BANIA: Oh yeah, my Youtube channel has over 300 subscribers Jerry! I’m blowin’ up!
GEORGE: Are 300 subscribers good?
BANIA: For someone who’s been doing it almost two years, I’d have to say so.
[Bania abruptly honks his horn.]
BANIA: “Hey, why don’t you move over and let Hellen Keller drive!?”
[After collecting himself, he glances back at George and Jerry in the rearview mirror.]
BANIA: Sorry about that. Boy, it’s nice to be able to just drive and not having to worry about those ratings. That reminds me if you could both give me five stars that would really go a long way to pulling up mine. Hard to get fares when you’re stuck on a 3.1.
GEORGE: Sure, sure, Bania. And, since we’re such good friends, you’ll give both of us five-star ratings too right?
BANIA: Of course!
JERRY: [Under his breath.] I don’t want to give him five stars.
GEORGE: [Also under his breath.] Jerry I need the bump. [Louder.] So, Bania, I’ve always been curious do those ratings really affect things that much?
BANIA: Oh yeah, you gotta keep your game strong if you want to get those fares. Water bottles, snacks, some humor — it’s almost expected at this point.
JERRY: Well I see the water bottles and snacks, but uh when’s the humor coming?
[Bania laughs, a disturbing cackle that goes on way too long.]
GEORGE: How much does Jerry or my rating impact your overall score? Like if we both give you five stars, how much does your rating go up?
BANIA: Well it depends. How many ratings have you two given out, how many ratings have I gotten, what your ratings are–
GEORGE: Wait, our ratings for you have more or less weight based on how drivers rated us?
GEORGE: That’s discriminatory! If Uber wants these ratings to be a true reflection of quality, they need to allow everyone to have a voice! You can’t allow the few powerful ones who bribe their way to the top to control this whole rideshare system! This is a travesty! It’s disenfranchisement of the little guy to benefit those fat-cat Wall Street types!
JERRY: George, it’s not the age of robber barons and monopolies. John Rockefeller III isn’t out there buying all the good Uber ratings just so he can have control over their fake hierarchy of drivers and riders.
BANIA: It’s really just so people don’t get penalized for bad ratings by problem users. Like there’s this one guy, a problem rider, he’s got a rating of 1.3 [Bania starts laughing again, which punctuates his words.] No one’s ever seen a rating that low. It’s almost unheard of! Anyway nobody wants to take his fare. He’s like the white whale that nobody wants to catch because he never gives out good reviews. Among Uber drivers, he’s known as “Ghatiya Insaan.” Since we don’t want our ratings dragged down by someone so difficult and unreasonable, Uber tweaks the weight of the ratings.
GEORGE: [Noticeably fuming.] “Ghatiya Insaan”?
BANIA: It’s Hindi for “the bastard.” Oh, look we’re here.
[Bania throws the car into park outside of Monks. He stops so abruptly that both George and Jerry collide with the seats in front of them.]
BANIA: Well it was great driving you guys. Hey, Jerry, we gotta go to Mendy’s again, my treat! I have a bunch of new bits for my act that I want to run by you–
JERRY: Yeah sure Bania, just keep running them by your prisoners–I mean passengers and send me the links and I’ll let you know if there’s any gold to be mined.
BANIA: There’s always gold in your mind Jerry!
JERRY: [Under his breath.] And ten minutes of dead air about Lean Cuisines in yours.
BANIA: Alright well see you guys! Oh wait first, let’s fire up those five-star ratings all around huh!?
[Bania reaches for his phone and begins scrolling through it tapping occasionally. After a moment he stops, horrified. He looks into the backseat at George, then back at his phone, then back to George.]
BANIA: Ghatiya Insaan! .