Hell Dere

I read an article on Marty ("Hello Dere") Allen and Steve Rossi, a comedy team that enjoyed considerable success in the 1950s and '60s. They're fine and working separately these days, reports "The Las Vegas Sun."

"At 84, comedian Marty Allen and his wife, Karon Kate Blackwell, are cruising through life.... 'We just signed a deal with the Royal Caribbean (Cruise Line) to be its headline attraction.' ... She sings, plays the piano and is straight man in the comedy act.... 'We're like Mike Nichols and Elaine May or Burns and Allen -- the act is dynamic.' And clean...."

"'This is a pilot for A&E,' Steve Rossi said in welcoming guests one night to his latest entertainment venture, a comedy revue at the Slanted Clam Tavern.... 'We're calling the revue "Laughs Vegas,"' said Rossi, 74 and still finding ways to entertain fans.... Rossi says, he will be at the Clam at 9 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month, hosting and doing his act ... [with] a cast that also includes Gary Collins, Mary Ann Mobley, Ronnie Schell and Ruta Lee.... 'I do most of the singing and comedy in the show,' Rossi said."

As it so happens, I says, I'm booked every other Arbor Day at the Slanted Clam, Deer Tick, Wisconsin at 8:52 p.m. I play straight man in the pageant we're calling "Wheezes Deer Tick." It features my riveting, one-hand show, the hard-fisted "Thumbelina, Lady in My Cuff."

Dino, Desi, and Billy impersonators (Seth, Bingo, and Lumpy, The Artist Formerly Known as Splurt and Soon Known as Inebriated, Broke, and Splayed) open for me.

I shellac my hair, then Sharpie pen brows and lashes onto my horrid cosmetic surgery to look like Wayne Newton after a turkey baste. My left thumb gets a pre-show soak in the Gin Fizz nearest the complimentary E. coli pretzel sticks, if nobody's paying attention. I do most of the singing and men's room caulk touch-ups.

At the supper show, The Big Catty Grooming Brush of Sigfried and Roy takes questions from the audience (i.e., Bingo and Lumpy and a bottomless pitcher of turpentine sangria) during my costume change into The Disturbingly Leaky Wolverine Piñata (Ann B. Davis Stuffed With Sour Tamales, Asbestos Caramel Toffee Turtles, and Lilt No-Drip Foam Home Permanent Piñata, when available).

I'm one of the few acts to work clean, although Thumbelina often reeks of beer nuts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, three names I have not thought of in 30 years. Gary Collins, skipper of the "Wackiest
Ship In The Army" (TV version) and the flight engineer in "Airport", his wife Mary Ann who I believe was a Miss America, and Ronnie Schell, Gomers buddy in the USMC. Ah, the 60's.

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