Saturday, February 10, 2007

Rank amateurs take aim at everyone

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The opinions expressed Friday night at the Cultural Activities Center in Temple were not necessarily those of the people who said them.
The pun on the common disclaimer opened the 30th annual Rank Amateur Night. The two-hour parade of satirical jokes and mini-musicals ridiculed last year's most memorable news stories. Never completely out of the headlines, O.J. Simpson and his book of the hypothetical murders he committed was the first news item spoofed.
'With his book deal slashed and movie offer dead, O.J. Simpson must be on another rampage,' read one of the mock news reporters. 'He was seen playing golf today in Florida, and he was wearing a diaper.'
The crowd of about 200 roared in laughter as everyone immediately caught the reference to 'that diaper-wearing astronaut lady' who was arrested this week.
One of the newsmen wondered if the astronaut learned 'how to use the potty from Potty Elmo,' a toilet-training toy that hit stores last year. The tool for the 'high-tech' potty sensation was thoroughly described by a displayed news article from the Associated Press.
Another bit of potty humor came from the 30-second spoof of Pluto's debunked planet status.
'It's better to lose Pluto than Uranus.'
Quite a bit of local news caught the attention of the Rank Am producers as well. The Temple Daily Telegram provided most of the ammunition for the jokesters' hit list.
One of last year's headlines from the Telegram read, 'UMHB working on hurt psyche.'
But it baffled the mock news commentator discussing the story.
'I didn't think Baptists had those,' she said, referring to psyches.
That led to Craig Pitrucha's performance of 'I'm in the Nude to Love.' A news blurb about a man who 'accidentally' got caught driving while not clothed.
'My pants are in the backseat. Oh, baby, come hither. Don't let the moment fade. But wait - I'm afraid. There's a car. My hands are in cuffs. I may be going to prison. It was such a bad decision. To be in the nude to love.'
The performer, by the way, is choir director at a local church.
The Telegram's 2006 story about a Killeen Subway robbed by a man with a machete also took center stage.
'That man must have wanted the whole foot, not just half a sandwich?'
Temple saw coyotes last year, the newscaster continued. The Telegram reported that pet owners were especially afraid of the invading predators.
A song performed by a quartet of low-toned gentlemen mocked the public's fear of the sharp-toothed creatures. Through song, they told the story from the coyotes' perspective:
'You took my land, lots of land. So I poach all the pets in the neighborhood. I love to listen to the murmur of your sweet puppy dogs. I can't resist your pets, so I jump your fence. No, you won't fence the coyote out.'
And where there's coyotes, there's transvestites.
Well, not really. But yeah, maybe.
According to a white man with a Mexican accent wearing a 'Go Aggie' shirt, the TransTexas Corridor sounds like the 'transvestite corridor.'
'And I don't want that transvestite corridor. I've got lots of sheep,' the Mexican farmer said. 'You know about transvestites and sheeps.'
All of the people who represented the East Bell County citizens who are against the corridor were dressed and acted like the Beverly Hillbillies. They lamented that 'darn road will take away our kolaches and corn.'
One of the night's last operettas put Beto Gonzales, superintendent of the Temple school district, in the spotlight. A 2006 Telegram story reported that though Gonzales has no experience in leading a school district, he is ready for the job.
'Better be Beto. He came out of nowhere, but he has lots of charm. He's got no credentials. (Heck), what's the harm?'
The Telegram itself was subject of some jesting.
Something caused confusion halfway through the comedy program. It could have been the Mexican-accented man's reference to eminent domain as enema domain or the commissioners court decision to build the jail when his voters said 'no.'
Somebody from the back of the stage said: 'Wait. That sounds like it was written in the Temple Daily Telegram. Maybe it happened out in the Backroads.'
Guy Fowler won the U2 award.
'He won it because of his hair,' joke writer Anne Chamlee said. 'It's atrocious. His barber died last year.'
Then in a repeat performance, a full-scale choir sang an ode to marijuana to the tune of the 'Hallelujah Chorus.'
And everyone who came to see this high-spirited charade of media monstrosities raised $5,500 for Child Help Inc., a nonprofit agency that supports United Way day cares.

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