A John Waters Christmas
I must admit, before seeing "A John Waters’ Christmas," I didn’t know too much about the man himself. I know, I know, they should take back the toaster oven I got when I first became gay. Sure, I enjoyed his movies ("Hairspray," "Pecker," "Serial Mom"), but other than his kooky comedic film endeavors, I knew little else.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he was gracing our fair city to do a sort of one-man stand-up show at the Atlanta landmark theatre, The Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points. I wasn’t exactly sure what I would be walking into and after doing some research saw that the show would be a bit raunchy (something all my friends gave a resounding "oh, I’m sure it will be" response).
Yes, while the material is filled with that signature Waters risqué humor, it is also quite intelligent in its avant-garde delivery. Mr. Waters references many topical and some obscure artistic and socially impactful names when making the audience laugh their hipster asses off.
His humor is definitely not for everyone, and at times caused an audible blush throughout the crowd. His material humorously bounced back and forth between personal stories about friends such as Divine to sexually explicit jokes involving Alvin the Chipmunk, to his unhealthy love of horror movies.
Within the foundational elements of jokes, I was most entertained by Waters’ own snippets from his life. Amusing anecdotes involving meeting people like Justin Bieber, or unbelievable antics from his younger years to his interesting hitchhiking journey across America that has spawned his newest book, "Carsick," all working nicely together to comprise this hilarious show.
Waters’ very fabric encompasses many of the "wicked" elements often associated with the gay community. His wacky renditions of traditional Americana has built a faithful following and they did not disappoint as they showed up in droves to pack the Variety Playhouse in support of the "Pope of Trash."
Perhaps one of the best parts of the show, an encore if you will, was when Waters turned up the lights unexpectedly to host a bit of Q and A. This was such a pleasant surprise and only endeared the audience to him even more. People asked him questions like, "If you and David Sedaris had a child, what would you name him?" ("Chucky" was the answer, by the way), and "What was Divine really like?" (a wonderful person who did not dress in drag when not in character). He fielded these inquiries in the best Carol Burnett fashion -- with trademark humor and charming reflection.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my evening with "A John Waters Christmas." Getting to learn more about an icon such as Waters is always a great experience, and adding in his delectable humor only heightened the evening all the more. If you have a chance to see Waters or read his books or take a stroll down memory-movie lane, I’d highly recommend the efforts -- it will be an entertaining journey into the madcap (and some times scary) mind of this eclectic man.
"A John Waters Christmas" played at Dec. 13 at the The Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave NE in Atlanta. For info or tickets on upcoming shows at the Variety Playhouse, visit www.variety-playhouse.com.