"Young man, there's no need to be down," once thrusted the painted pelvises of the Village People. And while I'd love to thrust myself into a pelvic tantrum of construction-worker abandon, right now I don't feel so well. There's a big dilemma this week in the celebrity-lite cesspool of wordy personality baiting, and I am apparently setting myself up a prescription for tasteless failure. Granted, the precarious positioning of humor in near proximity to disease is supposed to represent hope, but from the looks of things this week in the local philanthropic-event circuit, hope is hopeless -- whether it's wearing Native American headdress or not. Consider me disclaimed. Comedy is funny, right?
Not for Squiggy. David Lander, a.k.a. Andrew "Squiggy" Squigman from the Nick-at-Night, lesbian-how-to prototype "Laverne & Shirley," has been running the celebrity interview gauntlet for about six months now, hyping his new tell-all ailment book, "Fall Down Laughing: How Squiggy Caught Multiple Sclerosis and Didn't Tell Nobody." Scheduled to appear at 8 a.m. on a Sunday at Disney's Grand Floridian convention center, Lander apparently has a lot to talk about these days, and in some almost-scathing interview transcriptions even waxes bitter about the proximity of his secret and his concurrent failings in Hollywood. It's enough to make you twist the front of your hair and cry out "Lenny!," really, and I'm not too hot about the prospect of twisting any more than I already do. Noting that I've stepped into something perhaps more tragic than even my thoughtless humor (or headdress) can transcend, I tuck my ducktail between my legs and head off from Squiggy to piggy.
Or, to the second annual Kiss-the-Pig fund-raiser for the American Diabetes Association. Again, it's a dressed-up humor situation wrapped around a physical decline, this time with some of Orlando's best-connected and moneyed notables gathered for a chance to love their fellow man and tongue living pork. The pig motif we come to find out, somewhat uncomfortably, stems from the fact that insulin was first discovered in the pancreas of a pig.
"So no pigs in blankets?" I bar lean into the tendress, not very humorously.
Gulp. The ADA co-chairman is up on stage at Sapphire promising something she calls a "singular entertainment experience" (wink, wink), and I'm trying to figure out which of the Village folk I would most like to Y my MCA -- um, 20 years ago. She also mentions something about a "Kissing Party" in June, to the delight of the guests in pig-ear headbands and rubber snouts recently escaped from the costume shop at the country club. It doesn't get any worse -- does it?
"You're covering this?" smirks my punk-rock sound-guy friend. "I've got something to show you."
And while I'm hoping it's a pudging Village Person on a post-pertinence image parade -- y'know, the promise of which actually brought me to this place -- it's not. Instead, he produces a treacherous, topical rewrite of the Village People classic about the place where boys stay for free and pork.; ;
Young pig, there's no need to be down,; ;
I said young pig, pick yourself off the ground,; ;
I said young pig, if your insulin's down ...; ;
Offstage, the waiting candidates for the pig kissing have crowned themselves irony-free as The Village Pigs as well. Appropriately, they're the CEOs and CFOs of some of Orlando's larger entities (Hard Rock, SunTrust, Village Meat Market!) -- all bigwigs dressed as pigs. But when the music finally starts and they step into the spotlight, things get a little more incriminating: they're big wigs dressed as gay pigs, sporting everything from leather-queen fineries to full "Half-Breed" Cherokee feathers. In this rare revisionism -- the same sort that reminds us that all of ABBA's peppy hits were miserable divorce odes in reality, and that Tina Turner wasn't happy -- it's important to remember that the Village People were the largest gag ever played on America. Larger than even Squiggy. You see, "My Roommate" was really a gay song. Lenny!
Pop travesty fully executed, with fake five dollar bills thrown up in the air by the porky audience, the evening switches into its closing campaign segment -- each of the portly porkbellies on stage lobbying audience adoration for their kissing campaigns, while I try and find the least visible way to exit.
"I've probably kissed worse things," offers pig-lovin, cowboy-hatted SunTrust CEO Tom Yochum. "Anybody who's been in the military knows what I'm talking about."
I won't ask if you won't tell. After all, Squiggy didn't tell nobody.