The comedic group at the Bard's Town has done it again with their popular "Roast" series. The "Roast of John Lennon" continued the tradition of hilarity and ridiculous character portrayal on July 27 in the theater above the busy restaurant and artistic hub. The night was full of laughter and offense as the jokes probably had the represented musicians rolling in their graves.
Local comedians portrayed dead musicians and "roasted" each other with insulting jokes. This is one of many pop culture fictional roasts produced by this troupe with previous roasts of Jesus, Darth Vader and the Mario Brothers. John Lennon ( portrayed by Kent Carney), was the star of this one; other musical icons included Amy Winehouse (Mandee McKelvey), Elvis (Raanan Hershberg), Tupac Shakur (Darren Rogers), Frank Zappa (Jake Reber), Freddie Mercury (Anthony Mattingly), Sid Vicious(Mark Parris), Johnny Cash (Tyler Jackson), Michael Jackson (Sean Smith), and Jim Morrison (Eric Sorgel). The night was hosted by Glenn Miller (Will Hardesty) and I'm not surprised he was chosen to host. His material was hilarious.
It was great to see Tyler Jackson return to Louisville from Chicago to portray Johnny Cash. His voice was spot on for it, and he worked many song titles into his wisecracks. He's one of my favorite character comics to come out of Louisville. My favorite moments throughout the show were:
Michael Jackson saying to Amy Winehouse with a tender voice, "Gee, Amy..it seems like you were pretty drunk during your roast...I just wanted to ask... " and then burst loudly into "Are you ok, Amy? Amy are you ok? Are you ok? Are you ok, Amy?"
Glenn Miller repeatedly used phrases and slurs appropriate to his era and insulted Benny Goodman throughout the night as he hosted and introduced the other characters. His hatred for Goodman reached a ridiculous obsessive level. My favorite reference was towards the end when he said "...that nifty building that was knocked down. We're all supposed to believe it was that Osama fellow, but I think we all know that's not true. I believe I know exactly who it was, and that's that God-Damned Benny Goodman." I love clever redirects.
I have to say I was impressed at how the comedians were able to really mimic the physical appearances of the musicians. The most remarkable transformations in appearance were Mercury Lennon, Winehouse and Paul McCartney (Sean Keller), who made a surprise appearance at the end of the show. Zappa was a good fit, too, as one of the insults hurled at him was "You're only on this roast because you're the only dead musician who looks like Jake Reber (the comedian portraying him)."
I didn't even recognize Kent Carney. He had completely straightened his curly hair. I sat there in my chair wondering "Who is that comic playing Lennon?" Keller held a facial pose for his entire performance, completely altering his look to closely resemble the other Beatles member. The show ended with Lennon and McCartney working out their differences and embracing for a wild make-out session that knocked Keller's wig from his head.
Keep your eyes on the Bard's Town's web site for upcoming roasts. This series promises to continue to entertain and offend for many shows to come.