[ATTENDED: December 9, 2012] A John Waters Christmas
Sarah and I were pretty excited to go see John Waters: gay icon, movie provocateur and all around oddball. We had no idea what to expect from this show (his Christmas shows have apparently been around a long time although I have no idea how much it changes per year), but we knew it would be peculiar (and damned funny).
What we got was John Waters in a beautiful sparkly suit talking about seemingly whatever came into his mind (although I know from others that the routine has the same elements in every show, so I it is not extemporaneous). He had a podium and a bottle of water, but he used neither. Instead, he walked around the stage, telling stories, telling jokes and being as filthy as he could.
Since this is a Christmas show, he talks a lot about the holiday (he really likes it, mostly because people give him presents), he talks a lot about sex (the more deviant the better), and he talks about himself.
We were surprised by the age range in the audience Aside from a few young people (in punk garb), we were the youngest by far. And while that certainly makes it seem like the older folks of the Branchburg area are much hipper (and dirtier) than I realized, it also makes some sense. Waters definitely reached his most prolific peak quite some time ago. And those earlier film were much raunchier than his more recently releases. By now, Waters has settled in as kind of an outre celebrity but one who is more than happy taking part in pop culture (The Simpsons for instance–quite a long way from Divine eating poop). We wondered if half of them knew what they were in for–but I didn’t hear any gasps, so I guess they did. The older attendees could no doubt also appreciate a number of cultural references that were just too old for me.
But that didn’t stop me from laughing. This was one of the raunchiest shows I have seen in a long time–no topic was taboo–and he managed even to, if not shock, then certainly surprise me. He comment about gifts for Christmas is that if someone gives you a book for Christmas you should
reward them with sexual favors. A book you like gets a blow job, a book from your favorite author that you didn’t know they’d written? That’s worth a rim job. This follows his meme: “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ‘em!” But he teased out this question with this: What if you go home and find out that they are racist. Do you still fuck them? (He does). He also offered some updated gay hipsterisms (the blouse joke was hilarious) and came up with a new Christmas sex term: after you get a “facial” and go outside and put your face in the snow. When it freezes, it’s called a snowman!
Some other highlights: the “v of her crotch” joke had us rolling. The quote comes from Peyton Place, a book that I have never read but which he talked about in such great detail and with such a funny anecdote about the author that I will forever think of it fondly. The most interesting thing about the whole show is that for all of his raunch and X-Rated talk, there is always an undercurrent of sweetness to Waters. Whether it is his fondness of his actors, or of his family or even of the holidays, you come away from the show laughing and joyful, not bitter at all.
The amazing thing is how energetic the show seemed–you’d never guess that he was doing the same show each time, because he seemed so “on.” He looked great and was full of excitement (and yes the mustache was there). After the show he took some Q&A, which was fun, as the audience knew him well enough to ask good questions. He talked about what it was like to work with so many people different over the years (there’s a nice bit about Patty Hearst). And of course, people ask about Divine. But also about show business in general. He’s a real DIY pioneer.
Best of all, when the show was over, he signed books in the lobby. When David Sedaris signed books we wound up getting late to the line and eventually gave up. But for Waters, we were fourth in line. He signed our books (one of which was a Christmas gift for my brother-in-law, Tim) and our poster and he even took a picture with Sarah.
The last few months have been kind of rough for us, but I’m taking this no-wait and cool photo as a sign that things are turning around. And they already have. So thank you John Waters for setting up 2013 to be a very good year.
Merry Christmas everybody!!