The Telethon travels 8 years backwards

The Telethon is a semi-serialized nightmare/sci-fi/variety show. Sal Stevens, a Jerry Lewis/Gene Rayburn-esque professional host, and Marty Fleming, a squirmy, indecisive college kid, are forced by mysterious agents to host a fundraising telethon twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It’s part The Prisoner and part Mystery Science Theater, but mostly it’s an excuse for us to do all of the silly things we want on stage. Our next episode, Bush to the Future is a particularly silly one; Marty uses a time machine and travels to 2004 to make sure John Kerry wins the election.

This one’s been in the works for a while. The real true impetus for it was a shared love of George W. Bush jokes among all of us in the group. There are no politics in that enjoyment really, and it’s hard to pin down why I enjoy it so much. But if someone makes a Rock Against Bush joke I am on board, absolutely, always. We wanted to highlight that humor somehow, so we decided to do an episode set during the 2004 election. The 2000 election is too contentious and too important. No, we insisted, if we’re going to have an episode where a Bush presidency has to be stopped, it must be in 2004.

Then there was a happy coincidence. We realized Marty Fleming was named after Marty McFly, and like Venus emerging from the sea, our Back to the Future show appeared to us fully formed. Marty would stand in for Marty, of course. Sal Stevens would be our Doc Brown. John Kerry would be George McFly and Bush would be Biff. It was all so obvious. Here is a madlibs synopsis of Back to the Future, with our own Bush to the Future changes inserted:

Marty Fleming uses an experimental time machine to travel from 2012 to 2004. There, he meets a younger version of his wacky friend Doctor Sal Stevens, and runs into wimpy John Kerry. John Kerry desperately wants to be noticed by Uncle Sam, but is constantly being bullied by George W. Bush. Things go from bad to worse when Uncle Sam shows a romantic interest in Marty Fleming. Marty desperately tries to fix everything at the Under The Sea Debate, where, with some luck, he’ll be able to get Uncle Samarty’s mom to kisvote for GeorJohn Kerry and change the future for the better!

We have some great folks joining us, too. Our old friend and fellow Bush-joke-lover Sean Rose will be playing Dubya, and Oh Theodora’s own Trevor Martin will be doing his best George McFly impression/worst John Kerry impression. The extremely funny Drew’s Tumbler will be performing a sketch set, and our favorite handsome man Joe McAdam has an all-2004 stand-up set all ready to go.

It’s going to be a great night of silly jokes and awful impressions. Hope to see you there!

Transient the Playground Theater, 3209 North Halsted Street, at Midnight,11/3, for $5.

-Stephen Winchell