Thursday, February 13, 2014

Carrot Top gives audience what they apparently want, sad to say

(This review of comedian Carrot Top’s performance in Kansas City, Kansas was published in The Kansas City Kansan on June 23, 1995.)

By Steve Crum

Opening amidst smoke, strobe lights, The Little Rascals’ theme music and an M-80 explosion, wildly orange-red-haired comedy-propster Carrot Top (Scott Thompson) treated the obviously delighted 1,000-plus at Memorial Hall Saturday night to an hour and 45 minutes of sometimes goofy, too often vulgar, and frequently inventive laughs. 

Labeled his “Junk in a Trunk Tour,” representing Carrot Top’s stage setting of numerous trunks (he pulled humorous inventions from five of them), the evening showcased the Carrot-man’s talent for visual, topical humor. A “Mark Fuhrman tool belt” had a half dozen bloody gloves Velcroed around it. Showing some versatility, CT cleverly excerpted about 15 rock stars in the finale. 

So why then does Carrot Top resort to using the “f” word so frequently? Why are so many jokes built around sexual and bathroom humor (he uses a dozen toilet seats in his act) as well as ethnic putdowns of Vietnamese and Middle Easterners? My answer is The Carrot is no different from too many currently popular funny men in using what used to be considered (and I still do) offensive humor. 

He gives his people what they want. The 20-ish audience certainly wanted it. In fact, throughout the evening, several fans shouted obscenities to Carrot Top. Only once was he momentarily stunned at what cannot be printed here. 

Undoubtedly, the loose attitude of the audience was encouraged by the permissible beer drinking that occurred within the auditorium all evening. The drinking, as well as widespread cigarette smoking, was irritating and distracting. However, Carrot Top used the drinking to his advantage, borrowing a front rower’s plastic glass of suds and chug-a-lugging it to his sound man’s cue-up of the Cheers theme. The audience ate…er, drank it up. 

Just a quick thanks to Memorial Hall’s crack security team for their polite harassment of yours truly. Right after the warm-up comedian began (a funny 15-minute spin by Patrick Simpson), security interrupted me as I sat in the audience and asked for my ticket, signature, and address. Embarrassing enough. Minutes later the same guy appeared, and ordered me to accompany him out of the auditorium and to the security room. Behind a closed door, I shared my ticket and press pass with three security guys. After 10 minutes, a honcho said he thought he knew the problem, so I was told “sorry” and permitted to return to my seat. Never was I told what the problem was and my supposed part in it. Mistaken identity, evidently. But hey, being treated like a criminal is always a great way to make friends and influence critics.

The end of Carrot Top’s showtime (a standing ovation) seemed to justify the means, which included latex sexual props, and a far too long demonstration of how men (including John Bobbitt) and women urinate in the snow. 

Calling Carrot Top a roadshow Gallagher (another prop comic) is an injustice. Gallagher’s watermelon bashing act has less crass and more class. 
Carrot Top in action on The Arsenio Hall Show:

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