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ONE NATION, UNDER LAUGHTER: Changing Channels reunite to take on the 2016 election season

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And so here we are: a mere two weeks away from having a new president of the US voted upon. I don’t know about you, dear encore readers, but I personally couldn’t be happier about seeing the grueling last year of campaigning come to a close. Though with it, we also will see parodies and memes and jokes and roasts subside. No matter who is voted in on Nov. 8, the one appointed to office will have to deal with late-night TV-show banter and “SNL” skits for the next four years (if they’re lucky). But before we relegate this teasing to only one, local comedy troupe Changing Channels will bring their own interpretations of top political contenders to the stage this Thursday at TheatreNOW.

the orange demigod: Donald Trump will take over the TheatreNOW stage this Thursday in a special Changing Channels: Political Edition, featuring one of many funny people, including Cullen Moss (above). Courtesy photo

THE ORANGE DEMIGOD: Donald Trump will take over the TheatreNOW stage this Thursday in a special Changing Channels: Political Edition, featuring one of many funny people, including Cullen Moss (above). Courtesy photo

“Elections have always been comedy gold,” CC founding member Jef Pollock says. “When we did the weekly show [a decade ago,] we always looked forward to this season of the year.  The jokes write themselves. But this year—come on!”

And Pollock isn’t only talking about national headliners, a la Trump and Clinton. Voters need not look further than NC to get a hefty dose of bathroom humor. “The biggest issue at the state level is bathroom habits!” Pollock continues, in reference to Gov. McCrory’s controversial HB2 platform.

Changing Channels has 12 to 15 brand new sketches planned for the night, featuring original members Sandy Vaughan, Cullen Moss, Val Watkins, Brandi Laney, and Jef Pollock, along with local comedy veterans Madison Moss, Zach Hanner and Phil Antonino. The format will be standard Changing Channels, only narrated by two guest hosts, Donald Trump, played by Cullen Moss, and Hillary Clinton, played by Brandi Laney.

“It is a Changing Channels show, after all,”  Laney tells, “so the usual slo-mo, dancing, and anarchy will be in abundance, only with a political bent.”

“Cullen’s Trump is legendary,” Pollock adds, “and Brandi will be focusing all of her mimicry skills into an amazing Hillary, while the rest of us change from character to character. Trump and Hillary will be themselves throughout the show. Think of it as Changing Channels sketches starring Trump and/or Hillary. Hilarity will ensue!”

They’ll cover all the hot topics of the moment, from the debates to the political ads to Trump’s … dating tips? Pollock especially is looking forward to the ‘80s-style sitcom they’ve created, following Donald’s family and their feisty maid, Hil, in “One Trump at a Time.”

“A D-list reality star and a former First Lady are trying to prove who’s hated less by the public,” Pollock quips. “If we created this scenario 12 years ago, people would say Changing Channels has gone too far. Yet, here it is!”

They’re bringing back fan-favorite characters, alongside the “Huffing Gas” show (with a Trump interview), Vaughan’s interpretive dancing (via Marla Maples), and some improv songwriting of Johnny Cash as performed by an “orange demigod.” 

Because the show will take place in Wilmington’s premier dinner-theatre venue, Chef Denise Gordon will prepare special vittles for folks to indulge upon before the show. And, naturally, it’s sticking to the theme.

“In honor of The Donald’s love of Latino culture, the menu will feature tacos!” Pollock tells. “And hit the bar because, as always, the drunker you are, the funnier we are!”

Political Change(ing) Channels (or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Election)
Thurs., Oct. 27, 8 p.m. doors;
show at 9 p.m.
Tickets: $10 at door/$12 online
TheatreNOW • 19 10th St.

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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