Second Annual Stranger Gong Show
Number of acts at the second annual Stranger Gong Show: 21.
Number of audience members: 500.
Indoor weather: As muggy as you'd expect from 500 bodies jammed into Chop Suey, drinking cheap beer, and heckling.
Most heckled act: A shambling dance by Tap Explosion. One of its members, fed up with the booing, bent over, yanked her leotard to one side, and stretched her buttocks beyond the bounds of decency.
Best in show: Comic Solomon Georgio, who secured his victory with a relaxed stage manner and a joke that went more or less like this: "It may surprise you to know that, as a gay man, I'm a big supporter of homophobia—because homophobes are the number one source of gay people. And I'm not about to bite the hand that's about to make the hand that's going to touch my penis."
Cruelest in show: Judge Kerri Harrop, who rewarded a nervous singer's bravery in finishing "Let's Get It On" (despite extreme crowd hostility) by saying: "I now understand why Marvin Gaye's father shot him."
Most absorbent in show: A white barrister's wig, made of tampons, worn by Judge Barry. It sopped up an entire glass of red wine, poured by host David Schmader, and barely changed color.
The only person who seemed weirder offstage than onstage: Neurocyb'x, a white man in a black mask and shiny black shirt, who danced earnestly with flashing light-sticks to the kind of industrial music you'd expect to hear in the world's saddest sex club. Backstage, he described himself as a "neurocibe," and a "pan-galactic warrior." He said he first discovered his "powers" when he was 18: "I was at Wazzu, tripping on LSD and controlling people's minds. They kicked me out of school for that. Nowadays I only use my powers in self-defense." He lives on Queen Anne, but declined to disclose his profession, saying it was "against the neurocibe code." He appeared to be in earnest.
The comeback story that wasn't: Last year, performance artist Queen Schmooquan was gonged offstage (prematurely, many argued) after masticating a Twinkie and disgorging it into the mouth of a rubber chicken. This year, judges allowed her to finish. The Queen rewarded their forbearance with a W. mask, an enormous prosthetic cock and balls, and a faux-turd-and-Twinkie sandwich, which she masticated and disgorged onto a few audience members. Last year's judges were right.
Bravest attempt to find the silver lining in a humiliating performance: A fidgety young man in glasses, after suffering a barrage of booing for singing out the names of countries to what sounded like the Mexican hat dance, said: "Well, at least I'm not nervous anymore."
Congratulations to: All the contestants, especially Nervous Marvin Gaye Guy. You'd have a nice voice if it weren't warbling with fear. Take some beta blockers and come back next year.