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Readying for their roles reading celebrity biographies, Sharon Moreno and Laurie Jenschke search for “accidentally humorous” excerpts. Celebrity Biography Night is Saturday, April 9 at St. Josephs Hall in Fredericksburg.


Details:
Celebrity Biography Night is Saturday, April 9, starting at 7:30 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Halle in Fredericksburg. Bring your own beverages and snacks. Cups and ice provided. For information: sharonmoreno19@yahoo.com or lauriejenschke@gmail.com. There is no charge to attend, but donations will be accepted for Meals On Wheels.

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Accidental Humor

by Phil Houseal
March 30, 2011

 

Imagine your mayor reciting an excerpt from Destiny’s Child. Or a retired educator quoting Charlie Sheen.

You might hear that - and worse - at the first ever Celebrity Biography Night coming to Fredericksburg on Saturday, April 9.

This event is the illegitimate (emphasis on “ill”) brainchild of local impresarios (emphasis on “imp”) Sharon Moreno and Laurie Jenschke.

“Yes, we stole this brilliant idea,” Moreno admitted. “We have been kicking it around for awhile and decided, what the heck, we’ll do it.”

As far as I can tell after all that kicking, the concept is this: celebrities (or at least local leading citizens) stand in front of an audience and recite passages from legitimate biographies. It is modeled on “Celebrity Autobiography,” an Off-Broadway production that has been winning awards and selling out for three years in New York. Actors dramatically read writings that run from the poetry of Suzanne Somers to the romance tips of Tommy Lee. The humor comes from the fact that the original writings were not intended to be funny.

But how can you not laugh as you listen to someone read what Vanna writes about how to flip letter panels?

The best way to explain the concept is to demonstrate. Moreno and Jenschke gleaned these gems from celebrity self-penned tomes and interviews:

Brooke Shields: Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life.

Sylvester Stallone: The only happy artist is a dead artist, because only then you can't change. After I die, I'll probably come back as a paintbrush.

Britney Spears: I'm a woman now, and I've had so many cool experiences... and awesome ones as well.

And my favorite (because it makes sense until you think about it)...

Jason Kidd: We're going to turn this team around 360 degrees.

The pair has been poring through thrift stores and online sites finding books with quotes they can use. So far they’ve turned up treasures from the likes of Tiger Woods, Burt Reynolds, Vanna White, and Valerie Bertinelli. “I know way more about Kathy Lee Gifford than I ever wanted to know,” Moreno said.

They are also open to reading from letters to the editor, complaint letters, student essays, classified ads, even old press releases (hmmmm... I might have a few of those).

I must admit my first reaction was that this seemed cruel. I’m not sure I would be comfortable listening to people make fun of others as entertainment. Moreno had an answer. “I’ve thought about that, too,” she said, “but they are public figures, and after all, they wrote it! If you publish it, it’s fair game.”

It’s as simple as that. Moreno and Jenschke just wanted to do something a bit off center while having a good laugh with friends. They will host a cross-section of readers who will step on and off stage quickly. Scheduled to read so far are Sarah Fontenot, Susie Jaksik, Kevan Webb, Leo Tynan, Julie Roseberry, Cynthia England, JP Phelps, Laurie Jenschke, and Sharon Moreno.

The whole event might last one hour, is G-rated, and they promise a laid back, relaxed atmosphere, “nothing you have to dress up for.” Folks can even bring their own refreshments.

You still can get in on the action. Assuming you have yet to write your autobiography, you can always volunteer to be a reader.

But you’ll have to dig up your own unintentionally funny material. Start hitting the thrift stores. I hear they are selling out of William Shatner autobiographies.