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performance A Laugh and a Scream A Conversation with Haunted Comedy Tour Guide, “Mezzo The Happy Medium”

G

host sightings, dismemberments, and adult-only jokes can be found Tuesdays through Saturdays on the Haunted Comedy Tour from Asheville’s comedy troupe on wheels, LaZoom. The bus is possessed by spirits, attacked by a chain saw, and invaded by “The Gimp,” on a ride hosted by former waste management specialist, Mezzo (“MET-zo”) Gracioso. Following a girl in a tiara, a man boards carrying a cooler, (closed containers of alcohol are allowed – encouraged, even), and whispers to Mezzo, who interrupts, “Lemme guess, I’m havin’ a psychic vision, it’s Tiara Girl’s birthday. I got a psychic antennae like a freakin’ radio tower over here!” Mezzo promises to work her into the act. Birthdays and anniversaries are frequently celebrated on board. A dead-drunk passerby hollers incoherently. Mezzo doesn’t miss a beat, “It’s

RRM: Shocking.

all in an convincing impersonation of the incongruously mellow Taylor.

Mezzo: Let’s

Mezzo: That’s all the actor who portrays me,

just say I had to be relocated. The less you know, the better.

a competing medium — he’s possessed!” The crowd howls, first with laughter, and then at Mezzo’s RRM: I prompting, to scare up ghosts in understand Pritchard Park. Mezzo the Happy Medium with the Gimp you run a For an hour, the big purple on the LaZoom Haunted Comedy Tour. paranormal... bus, known by day for encountering fire-breathing nuns on Mezzo: over-sized bicycles, becomes a “rolling “Cleanup Service.” Like Roto-Rooter, but hearse” by night, in search of ghouls, laughs for spooks. and screams. But Mezzo, with his gold meI moved here with an associate, James dallion, his own brand of gum, (Chew On Gimpanelli, “The Gimp” we call him. His This), and tales of Thomas Wolfe’s ghost, behavior became erratic, it was bad for busiis not a native son, as he explains in a sneer ness, so I sent him to the mental hospital. reminiscent of Silvio from The Sopranos. I think he busted out, though - I seen posters with his face around town. Rapid River Magazine: How long have you lived here? RRM: Tell me about the songs. The Mezzo: That’s on a need-to-know basis. It highlight for most seems to be the Livmay surprise you to know I am not from ing-Dead James Taylor song, in which this area. the singer threatens to eat our brains,

I got nothin’ to do with that racket. Listen, I gotta see a guy about a thing. We never had this conversation, y’hear?

RRM: Loud and clear. Several songs and parts of the script were written by Brian Claflin who plays the part of Mezzo. The Asheville CitizenTimes called Claflin “an immense talent who should be on stage more often,” for his comic performance in The Labyrinth, which premiered at The Magnetic Theatre in April. Andrew McDermott (of the Feral Chihuahuas) hosts tours on alternate nights as Ghoulish Gary. McDermott also performs off-bus characters with James Burns. If You The LaZoom Haunted Comedy Go Tour takes place Tuesday-Saturday

at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $23. More information on this and other tours can be found at www.lazoomtours.com. Find LaZoom on Facebook (where you can also “friend” Mezzo himself).

Vol. 14, No. 11 — Rapid River ArtS & CULTURE Magazine — July 2011 19

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http://www.rapidrivermagazine.com/rriver_mag/2011/07-RRiver_July2011.pdf

/07-RRiver_July2011  

http://www.rapidrivermagazine.com/rriver_mag/2011/07-RRiver_July2011.pdf

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