Entertainment

Gridiron skits all in good humor

One of the performers in this year's Gridiron satirical skit show is promising ticketholders that there will be the same amount of nudity as in last year's show.

That would be none, but Kevin Connelly's irreverence and bawdy humor are typical of what audiences can expect from the show that spoofs pop culture, the news and the people who make it.

"Global warming, tea parties, health care — we'll be making fun of stuff that's happened in Wichita but also statewide, nationally, politically," he said. "There's even some skits about high-profile political and sports figures who have problems with their peccadilloes."

Gridiron opens on Thursday and also will be performed on April 16 and April 17 at the Orpheum, 200 N. Broadway.

Members of Wichita's news media perform in the show, and this year's cast features the return of well-known personalities such as Ted Woodward, Bucky Walters, Sierra Scott and Bonnie Bing.

The theme this year is "Gridiron for Governor," a play on the fact that the governor's race is wide open this year.

As always, the show will include surprise mystery guests each night of the three-night run. The mystery guests are usually well-known political figures, businesspeople and TV and radio celebs.

"Favorites like the Fairy Tale Princess and Gridiron Update will be returning," Connelly said, adding that audiences can also expect the cast to send up the Wichita couple who made national news after getting frisky in a Dumpster.

The show's cast always takes a few jabs at Haysville, he said, and Sedgwick County Commissioner Tim Norton — a former Haysville mayor — has made a habit of attending on Friday night to defend the community.

"If the jokes (about Haysville) are funny enough and scathing enough, he will usually comment from the audience," Connelly said.

"He does it in good humor, and we accept it in good humor."

The show is a fundraiser for scholarships, and this year, the Kansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will give away $10,000 to Kansas journalism students, including several from Wichita State University. The show has given away $180,000 to date.

Wichita's Gridiron was first performed in 1967 and holds the title of the longest continuously running Gridiron show in the country.

Connelly said its success is easy to explain.

"I think our audiences enjoy these types of spoofs because they're relevant to their lives," he said. "I think they also enjoy seeing high-profile media people get up on stage and do goofy stuff."

Having a cash bar can help, too, he said.

"The jokes are much funnier after drinking in moderation," he said.

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