As the only person paying attention to Fathom Events, the company best known for streaming live spectacles into movie theaters for exorbitant prices and with little fanfare, I was struck with morbid curiosity during a commercial for the Bold & Fresh Tour Live! starring Fox superstars Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck. Both pundits would take the stage separately, live via satellite from Norfolk, Va., only to verbally spar together during the grand finale; no spin allowed! My desire (or Freudian death instinct?) to see two titans on the same stage, from the safe distance of a Friendship Heights movie theater, was overpowering.
The evening’s first hiccup: As it turns out, Bold & Fresh Live! turned out to be taped. According to the official press release:
Due to the weather-related state of emergency declared by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, the original Bold & Fresh tour date in Norfolk, Va., has been rescheduled, making a simulcast from Norfolk tomorrow evening impossible. Not wanting to disappoint fans who purchased tickets to the Jan. 30 movie theater event, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Fathom and participating theater circuits worked together to ensure Saturday’s theater event will still be held, using the production taking place in Tampa tonight.
As it turns out, a mix of heavy snow and scant promotion resulted in an audience of around 50 in the cavernous Mazza Gallerie Theater. The crowd, young and old, clapped along when provoked and chortled at Beck’s incessant mugging. Though both performances were dismayingly subdued by the standards of O’Reilly and Beck. I came away with four useful lessons:
Nancy Pelosi is funny-looking, and Barney Frank is gay: What an ugly old broad that Pelosi is! Described lovingly by Beck as “what I would look like before getting hit by a truck, only smiling,” Pelosi was easily the most lampooned figure during the 2 hour affair. Beck even broke out some Pelosi impressions; the most memorable conjured a hybrid between Mickey Rooney’s Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and a gopher. Also, did you know Barney Frank was gay? I considered Glenn Beck’s vocal affectations and nipple-twisting a tasteful treatment of this alternate lifestyle.
This exchange actually happened: O’Reilly, like so many “pinheads” before him, asked Beck the tough questions, including: “What’s the best thing about America?” “The people, of course!” roused Beck. (People are also America’s worst element, according to Beck, due to their tendency to “sponge” off their countrymen.)
Health Care? More like Death Care!: I speak seriously when I say that at this event, Bill O’Reilly was the voice of reason. Compared to Beck’s histrionics and generic conspiracy mongering, O’Reilly is positively centrist, a fact that led me to my own absurd Beck-ian conspiracy theory that Glenn is Fox’s ploy to make similarly hawkish but less inflammatory colleagues seem reasonable. Whatever the case, this might help explain my momentary disappointment, not expectation, of O’Reilly using the name Swifty Lobotowitz to describe a defense attorney and a post-health care reform doctor named Punjab who enters your hospital room sounding like Apu.
Lupe Fiasco references: Because one bad/tragic thing cannot be understood without making an ill-advised metaphor referencing another bad/tragic thing, last week O’Reilly compared the devastation in Haiti to the impoverished conditions on the South Side of Chicago. His shaky logic, somehow involving Obama’s reliance on big government, is not very interesting. More interesting is the encouragement O’Reilly took from comments made by Lupe Fiasco in which the rapper kinda-sorta agreed with O’Reilly about the whole Chicago thing. Improbably, Lupe Fiasco can now claim name recognition from thousands of conservative-leaning Floridian grandparents. Could Lupe have found new Inspiration for Lasers?
An encore performance replays this evening at the AMC Mazza Gallery tonight at 8:00 P.M.