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Doug Clark: Fire up the ovens, it’s time to (comedy) roast Mayor Condon

(First of a two-part series.)

Overture. Curtains. Lights.

This is it.

The mayor’s night!

That’s right. The first (and quite possibly last) comedy roast of Mayor David Condon will take place tonight on the stage of Spokane’s luxurious, historic Bing Crosby Theater.

This will be an evening of barbs, banter, belly laughs, crazy videos and even parody songs.

Take the following sample lyric to “One Termers,” a new parody song that commemorates the fact that Spokane hasn’t had a two-term mayor since the trolleys ran through Garland.

I’ll sing it to the Beatles’ classic tune, “Day Tripper.”

Vicki and Dennis.

Talbott and Sheri Barnard.

Jim West was trolling,

The Internet and fell hard.

Maaary Verner.

Jim and Jack and John.

Here today; fade away.

Just like Ron – So long.

Granted, it’ll be a lot funnier if the mayor shows up.

I think he will. At least he said he would.

Either way, doors will open at 6:30 p.m., with the roast beginning an hour later, depending on alcohol consumption.

Tickets are still available at the door, with proceeds (minus the usual expenses, bribes and city payoffs) going to Friends of the Bing.

This is a charity designed to help elevate the arts in downtown Spokane to at least a Cheney level.

So if enough money rolls in, there’s a very good chance they’ll be able to get a slimmer, better-looking person to host the next roast.

Oddly, I’m not feeling too nervous as I write these words.

An eerie calm has descended upon me, much the way it did for Gary Gilmore, prior to his execution.

“Let’s do it,” he supposedly told his keepers before they strapped him into a chair and shot him at taxpayer expense.

That’s the can-do spirit I hope Mayor Condon has.

Time is such a funny thing.

It was way back last fall when I learned that Bing owner Jerry Dicker wanted me to play roastmaster in a “Dean Martin-style” mugging of the mayor.

Ah, I remember that moment well, how I scratched my chin and muttered, “Uh, Jerry who?”

Soon I learned that Dicker was a very rich and successful businessman who had come up here from California and was spreading his wealth around.

So I quickly told him, “sure, Jerry, I’ll do anything you want,” thinking one day I’d hit him up for a loan.

Anyway, the tough part was selling the mayor on this.

See, most of the mayors I’ve dealt with would rather eat a live cockroach than sit on a stage and be playfully teased and insulted by a hand-picked panel of smart alecks.

Most of the mayors I’ve dealt with don’t even like being teased and insulted by just me.

So we had this serious lunch meeting in a fancy fish restaurant.

Dicker brought his guy. The mayor brought his guy.

I brought Joe Brasch, who agreed to pretend to be my guy since the lunch was free.

Much to my surprise, Mayor Condon agreed to be roasted.

I can’t say what his guy thought. He just grimaced disapprovingly through the whole thing, although it might’ve been gas.

Over the months, I assembled an ensemble of the wittiest roasters I could find.

Randy Shaw, Tom Keefe, Marty Dickinson, Shaun Higgins, Shawn Sladich and Tom McArthur.

City Council President Ben Stuckart signed on, too.

But only after he promised that he wouldn’t bring any barnyard animals into the Bing, even though his new urban farming law does allow “eight chickens and one pregnant sow so long as it’s smaller than a Pontiac.”

In fact, I asked Stuckart to take part for two reasons:

1. He’s a naturally funny guy.

2. At the time, he was rumored to be Condon’s opposition in the upcoming mayor’s race.

Having the mayor’s opponent, I figured, would give our roast an air of political parity.

How was I to know Stuckart would weenie out and decide to NOT run for mayor?

At least I tried.

So come down to the Bing tonight and catch the fun.

I even rented a tuxedo. If that doesn’t show you what a serious event this is, nothing will.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at

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