It was yet another snowless year for Snowdown, but that unfortunate situation paled in comparison to this year’s Snowdown Follies. What? No local humor? In a year of budget scandals, a city manager going MIA, a sewer plant that is the gift that keeps on giving and Bridgegate at 32nd Street, not one wisecrack. What is our local world coming to? Since you already got “nuff ’splaining” to do, I’ll skip the national debacle, always good fodder for Saturday Night Live. Sign me, Do You Live Where I Do?
Comedy is seriously hard work. Especially these days.
How do you take real situations that are so mind-blowingly ridiculous and make them even more so without looking stupid, cynical or bitter?
Action Line never shies away from any of those.
Stupidity, cynicism and bitterness are the three legs of the Action Line stool. This is where you make your own joke about the word “stool.”
“Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.” That’s what comedian George Carlin so accurately observed.
So maybe that’s why local humor is in seemingly short supply. Actual facts are far more hilarious than made-up exaggerations.
For instance, when the city budget contained a $10 million error, it was bad enough. However, city staffers called it a “typo.” Just for the record, a typo is when spell Czech dozen catch sum thing.
A $10 million mistake, on the other hand, generally gets you a pink slip or an orange jumpsuit. How can you top that?
Or when a New Jersey-style industrial structure is proposed to enhance a nature trail? With animosity along the Animas, with people rubbing each other the wrong way, truth is stranger than friction.
The way things are going ...
Town Plaza will win the Best Landscaping award.Voters in the county will suddenly realize they have to pay for road maintenance and demand a property tax hike to do so.School District 9-R admits it was a really stupid idea to try selling Buckley Park and that it was just a ploy to scare people into voting in favor of the upcoming bond issue.Tourism officials call for another dozen “desperately needed” hotels to be built south of town where there are no restaurants.The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad will burn bales of marijuana on a special train leaving town at 4:20 every afternoon.CDOT will buy a massive new sculpture for the U.S. Highway 160/550 intersection and everyone will like it.Mercy Regional Medical Center announces it’s really in it just for the money.Local bars stop serving Coronas because it might spread coronavirus.The list goes on.
As for the Snowdown Follies, you gotta remember a couple of things, according to Snowdown board members.
First and foremost, “It’s an all-volunteer show in which performers write their own material,” said Peg Ochsenrieter, longtime queen bee of our premier winter celebration.
“The show is put together with acts that try out on any given year, so you get what you get.”
Added board member and denizen of downtown Tim Walsworth, “The best way to have local jokes in the Follies is to write a local skit, try out and be in the show. It’s open to everyone.”
As your Snowdown Follies tickets say, it’s a “Seat of the Pants Production.”
In reality, there’s a lot of bootstrapping to boot.
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if local humor is more of a gut punch than a punchline.