May 18, 2014 in City
Doug Clark: Mayoral roast leaves trail of laughs at the Bing
(Last in a two-part odyssey.)
‘When I first met David Condon, I immediately recognized he had that crucial trait essential to be mayor of Spokane,” said Tom Keefe.
“When I think of Mayor Condon, the song ‘Rambling Mind,’ comes to mind,” observed Marty Dickinson.
“Or the band Talking Heads.”
“David is the youngest of 10, so in Roman numerals that makes him Condon X,” noted Tom McArthur.
“Sounds like a super hero – or a porn star.”
Zingers flew like guided missiles Thursday night, zeroing in on Spokane Mayor David Condon during the first (and possibly last) mayoral roast at the landmark Bing Theater. I played MC for the charity event to raise money for Friends of the Bing.
But don’t go feeling sorry for the mayor.
The official Rules of Roasting, as spelled out under the Geneva Convention, leave no one unscathed.
Which means the roastee (Condon) always gets the last words to even the score.
And, brother, did Condon ever take advantage of his Time of Vengeance.
Who knew Spokane’s mayor had such comedy chops?
I think everybody in attendance (some 300 seats were filled, I’m told) was as astonished as I was to see our mayor transform himself into a cross between the Wizard of Oz and Richard Nixon on acid.
He started swinging at me as if I were a large tuxedoed piñata.
“I thought it would be great to be a newspaper columnist,” Condon raved in his crazed voice.
“What’s not to love? I only have to work three days a week. I can toss out all kinds of crazy ideas and never have to actually deliver on any of them.
“And, best of all, I’ll always be right.”
Wait a second. I resemble those remarks.
Ah, but what a fine and funny evening it was.
I even put my 91-year-old mother, Carol, into the act. I called her from the dais during a lull and put her on speakerphone for the audience to enjoy.
DOUG – “Hi.”
MOM – “Where are you?”
DOUG – “At the Bing roasting the mayor.”
MOM – “Which one?”
DOUG – “Mayor Condon.”
MOM – “Is he still mayor?”
DOUG – “Not for long.”
The evening ran as smooth as my scalp thanks to the Bing’s great staff and my talented pals who graciously pitched in.
Charlie Schmidt, for example. What a star! The graphic artist (and genius behind Keyboard Cat) designed the poster and the set. He also created a visually arresting video backdrop that played continually on a big screen behind the roasters.
It featured images like slow rolling flames (it’s a roast, get it?), City Council President Ben Stuckart as the new “American Gothic,” and some little-known facts about Spokane.
“Fact – Like all of his predecessors, Mayor Condon has no intentions of filling any potholes.”
“Fact – Bing Crosby’s original name was Bong. Welcome to the Bong Theater.”
Damn. Now Bing owner Jerry Dicker will have to change the marquee.
For the opener, Schmidt found an Internet video of Pharrell Williams’ smash hit, “Happy,” that let him put Condon’s mug on all the singing dancers, regardless of gender.
“When he agreed to do this, Mayor Condon had only one stipulation, that we play Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ song,” I explained to the audience after the hilarious video aired.
“Now you know why, huh?”
My Trailer Park Girls bandmates – guitarist Joe Brasch, Jeff Peterson on bass and drummer Daniel Cox – did a stellar job of supplying mood music and accompanying each roaster with an individual theme.
They also backed me on a couple of parody tunes about Stuckart’s urban farm rules and Spokane’s addiction to one-term mayors.
Plus a big thumbs-up to comedian Ken Martin, who unselfishly agreed to be my joke writer/consultant, after I agreed to pay for his lunch.
As for the roasters, every one of them (Keefe, Dickinson, McArthur, Stuckart, Shaun Higgins, Shawn Sladich and Randy Shaw) delivered the goods.
“For me, the root of the word ‘politics’ really says it all,” said Shaw, when it was his turn.
“Poli – the Latin word for many. And ‘Ticks’ – little bloodsucking creatures.”
Sladich worked with Condon in Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ congressional office.
“David always thought I had this uncanny ability to anticipate his managerial actions and plans,” she said.
“The Truth? David’s voice is so damned loud I could hear every word he said right through the office walls!”
Keefe quipped: “My former Democrat Party friends worried that Condon would use the mayor’s office as a springboard to higher office.
“I assured them that being mayor of Spokane is a springboard to obscurity.”
In the end, Condon rewarded all his roasters with handmade dubious achievement gifts and medals.
Dickinson got a tiara to commemorate the time in high school when her attempt at being Lilac Queen fell one spot short.
“Always the princess, never the queen,” chirped the mayor to the runner-up girl.
Stuckart got the mayor’s Medal for Urban Chaos.
“Herbert Hoover promised a chicken in every pot,” said Condon. “Thanks to Ben, Spokane can now have a goat in every yard.”
Condon presented me with a Boy Mayor “Do-Gooder” award.
“I usually reserve this honor for citizens who make significant contributions,” said Condon. “But I’m willing to make an exception for Doug.”
One more time with gusto …
Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.