The highlight of the night came when Sparks City Councilman Ron Smith gave Reno City Councilwoman Sharon Zadra the shaft. Literally.
The award is given to the prominent person, or persons, who make the biggest laughable blunders. This year, the Sparks City Council and their handling of the Legends at Sparks Marina project were pitted against The Reno City Council’s adventures with parking meters and Winnemuca Ranch developers.
The look of surprise on Smith’s face and Zadra’s acceptance speech were priceless. Although both knew they were going to be nominated Friday, neither said they knew the outcome before being dragged onstage.
The Legends project grabbed a little more stage time as actors took Scheels All Sport commercials to a new level of ridiculous. Clem Carney the Ferris wheel operator ogled a team of roller derby chicks and Dr. Ariel Aqualung saved dynamited fish from certain hunting doom before taking off to clean the store’s fish tanks. Not unlike your resident Scheel’s experts at work, right?
Between the skits, local newscasters took to the stage, performing obviously scripted and yet refreshingly real routines that swept the range of local events throughout the past year.
As they introduced the topic of the Sparks council’s scattered relationship with the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitor’s Authority, I knew something was coming.
And then there he was, a stout actor who bore the resemblance of Mayor Geno Martini, waltzing onstage with a flaming pink father boa accenting his biker’s vest and plastic show glasses. And right behind him were the Village People wannabes, prancing to the beat of RCVA. No S. Sparks was left out of the RSCVA for its independence.
Other skits and video presentations joked about the oh-so caricatured Sarah Palin, the woeful state of the economy, Tad Dunbar (insert any joke here) and creative uses for automated checkout lines. The obligatory crotch knocks, fart jokes and a few groaners were certainly not absent.
As the show started, however, I was reminded that there was one politician whose 2008 adventures would draw bigger laughs than flatulence, groins or the Sparks City Council.
The jokes flowed almost as freely as the alcohol as Gov. Jim Gibbons was given the shaft for everything from flirtatious parking garage exploits to budget blunders to endless divorce proceedings to blundered land grabs to .... well you get the point.
Gibbons shown out from the screen onstage, feet propped up on his desk, perusing a copy of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.”
“And I thought budgets were hard to understand,” Gibbons said, giving the book a confused look.
It was then that I knew, no matter who else did what over the past year, Gibbons was going to steel the show. His adventures over the past year provided plenty of fodder for the joke-hungry crowd.
Al in all, the show was a fun way for this news junkie to spend an evening. The cast was obviously enjoying themselves and the almost packed house was just as glib.
For someone who has watched the foibles and fortunes of the Sparks politics, Friday night’s political roast was refreshing. For once I would get to sit at a booth at John Ascuaga’s Nugget and laugh with reckless abandon at just how funny politics could be.