The video below is a great example of 'small talk' - or rather, an example of small talk not working! The clip is from the (American) TV show 'Friends', and Ross has invited Mike (his friend's new boyfriend) over for some beers and a pizza. Unfortunately, they don't have much in common and Ross' attempts at small talk all fail.
Mike: I’ve got beer
Ross: I’ve got bottled breast milk.
Mike: Ahhh. Why don’t we start with the beer?
[Mike puts beer (6-pack of Fosters) on the table and takes his coat off. Ross and mike sit on the sofa]
Ross: So, Phoebe tells me you, er, play the piano?
Ross: You, you know? I used to play the keyboards in college.
Mike: Oh? Do you have one here?
[Ross swigs his beer]
Mike: Okay [nervous laugh]
[‘Clink’ each other’s bottle of Foster’s together. Each take a swig]
[Long, awkward silence]
Ross: Erm, you know, I’m divorced. Er, Phoebe said you’ve been divorced.
Mike: Yeah. [Beat] I’m sorry. I don’t really like to talk about it.
Ross: [Lost for words] Yeah, er… that’s okay. We’ll talk about something else.
[They take another swig of beer]
Mike: So, you’re a palaeontologist, right?
Mike: My cousin’s a palaeontologist.
Ross: Well, he and I would probably have a lot to talk about.
[Scene: Ross and Rachel’s apartment. Both Ross and Mike are sat on the sofa, with Fosters in their hands. Mike is blowing across the top of his bottle]
Ross: Shouldn’t the pizza be here by now? They said 30 minutes or less. How long has it been?
Mike: [Looks at watch] Eleven minutes. [Still looking at watch] And now twelve. [Picks up bottle] Do you like the beer?
Ross: I do. I do. Although it is actually a lager.
Mike: Oh. What’s the difference between a beer and a lager?
Ross: I don’t know. We can look it up.
Mike: Things are about to get wild!
[Scene: Ross and Rachel’s apartment. Ross and Mile look bored out of their heads]
Mike: Pahshhhh. I’m gonna take off.
Ross: So soon?
Ross: Okay. Thanks, er, for the beer.
Mike: You mean lager.
Ross: Ah, yeah, good times.
[Ross opens door. Mike steps out through door. Ross closes door]
Mike: Ohh. [Relieved to be out of there]
Ross: Ohh. [Relieved that Mike has gone]