The Southpaw Sam McClowski Show | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

The Southpaw Sam McClowski Show 

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The Southpaw Sam McClowski Show, at Frankie J's. Southpaw Sam McClowski--the creation of writer-performer Samson Crouppen--thinks that television talk-show hosts have become too namby-pamby. So he comes up with The Southpaw Sam McClowski Show, coming to you from station K-ASS in Bryan, Texas. This host wears a Yosemite Sam Stetson, Roy Rogers shirt, sneakers, and a single boxing glove emblazoned with his initial, the better to accomplish his mission, which is to "kick ass."

On the night I attended, Southpaw was backed by Colonel Bufurd's one-man band and a bevy of shrill technicians. He accused Subway spokesman Jared of being a "puker," grilled Ricki Lake on her premarital escapades, and dissed a hapless audience member's boyfriend by telephone. The show also featured video clips of Sam and company "on location" in Chicago, chatting up compliant Michigan Avenue habitues; a commercial for electric VD detectors; a barrage of sexist and homophobic jokes; and a sweet rap duet by Mik and the Hit Man. All of it was enthusiastically endorsed by the station's African-American manager, who exultantly cried "white-on-white crime!" when Southpaw assaulted a guest.

Many young actors playing a character so aggressively charmless might be tempted to let us see the innocuous performer behind the mask. Under the direction of Pat McKenna, however, Crouppen never swerves from his larger-than-life portrayal of a testosterone-ridden male at his most incorrigible.

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