June 11, 2008
POUGHKEEPSIE – The tomato salmonella scare has left local playhouses nearly empty. Performers refuse to go on stage with their comic shenanigans and mummery for fear of contracting a deadly disease.
“First there was talkies, then radio, then television and the Internet. Now this? Forget about it!” said Willie Shorbenstein, the Silly Sword Swallower. “It ain’t worth it. I’m not taking that stage! Not at the cost of my life, I’m not!”
The fear preventing these otherwise intrepid performers from braving the lights and greasepaint is the same fear haunting shoppers at produce markets nationwide.
“Even the best performer has an off night sometimes,” explained Orpheum Manager Sheck Gordon. “One tomato thrown in the mouth and boom! You’ve got the Salmon sickness. Er, whatever they call it.”
Some playhouse entrepreneurs are not so forgiving. Dally Maldonado runs “The Opera” and has said he’ll blackball any performer who refuses to take the stage this weekend.
“So what? I’m supposed to believe that the audience is gonna buy a bunch of tainted tomatoes!? These peoples are not so much with the brains around here, maybe, but they ain’t stupid neither. Those tomatoes can kill anyone, audiences and bearded balladeers alike. There ain’t nuttin’ to be afraid of but Bein’ knocked in the noggin by a fresh healthy zuchinni maybe. And if you get that, you deserve it!” he shouted.
Still, only the bravest performers will be risking the onsluaght. Joey “bam-bam” Bambaum is one of them.
“I get slugged in the head with a baseball bat 20 times a night during our sketch,” said Bambaum. “I don’t think a tomato is what’s likely to kill the likes of Joey “bam-bam” Bambaum. You spell bam-bam without capitals. ”
Until tomatoes are cleared of any kind of taint, expect vaudeville to continue to suffer.