GIGGLE CITY: Oh, Susanna exposes herself!
Got a Jackie Harvey scoop for ya: The swarthy, supposedly Italian Susanna Patchouli, hostess of the Oh Susanna variety-talk show once a month at the Varscona Theatre – as it is this Saturday at 11 p.m. – is none other than Edmonton thespian Mark Meer in women’s clothing!
He doesn’t even try to deny it. Instead we descend into a mad in-and-out-of-character improv interview where he – or she – makes a hollow mockery of Giggle City. Here we are trying to seriously probe the minds of the modern stand-up comedian and in comes this ACTOR who’s only pretending to be a swarthy, supposedly Italian talk show hostess. He really had us going there for a while. We want the real Susanna – so here “she” is:
Q: If you could be any Canadian celebrity, who would it be and why?
A: I would like to be former Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, for it said he had magical powers. It is rumoured that he once beat Hitler in a fistfight that was later attributed to Captain America.
Q: What’s your best heckler story?
A: On one occasion a gentleman proposed marriage to me in the middle of the show. Before I could respond, he was hustled out the door by security and shot in the parking lot. But such is the price for being rambunctious at the Varscona.
Q: What’s the difference between kids today and when you were a kid, in Italy?
A: Don’t they all have chips in their heads now?
A: Unlike many celebrities, I have the advantage of being a fictional character. So I stop existing when I’m not on stage – and thus I am very rarely pestered by fans.
Q: Who has been your most fabulous guest on Oh Susanna?
A: We’ve had a dazzling array of guests over our 12 season run, ranging from Canadian comedy legends like Joe Flaherty and Dave Thomas of SCTV, to Nathan Fillion, to Tyson Houseman of the Twilight movies. We had internationally renowned puppeteer Ronnie Burkett.
Q: Did he bring his puppets?
A: He bought us dollar store puppets. We were able to book him, but his puppets are far too expensive.
Q: Did you get anybody really famous?
A: Kevin Taft of the Alberta Liberal Party.
Q: Any Conservatives?
A: No – for some reason they don’t return our phone calls.
Q: Do you have a new bit that’s going over well with the crowd?
A: I recently had a new uterus installed.
Q: How’s it going?
A: (Breaks character) Ass – say ass. That would be better. (Resumes) I recently had a new ass installed. It’s holding up very well.
A: Sold it on eBay. I’m told it sold for as much as Pamela Anderson’s old breast implants – which I actually bought.
Q: Who got your old ass?
A: It was an anonymous bidder – from Ottawa
Q: Stephen Harper seems to have a new ass. Coincidence?
A: Could be.
Q: Are you excited about Riverdance? It opens at the Jube tonight.
A: (Breaks character): Shit, really? No … but she would be, um, let’s see … (Resumes) I’m thrilled about it. I’m hoping that the Lord of the Dance shows up and they get into a slap fight?
Q: What the worst meal you ever had on the road?
A: I was served a plate of ‘Moons Over My-Hammy’ at a Denny’s, in Ontario. It made me weep for the state of mankind.
Q: You’re just making that up.
A: (Breaks character) You’ve never had Moons Over My-Hammy? It’s fried eggs on a slab of ham.
Q: I thought you were just riffing there. Is there anything you can make up that hasn’t already been done?
A: (Susanna returns) There is a school of thought that history is cyclical, which means that we’re going to get experience every shitty song, movie and television show a second time.