I sat at my computer (much needed coffee cup to the left, much beloved cat to the right) for about 10 minutes this morning trying to think of an appropriate opening sentence for this review. You see, I’m impossibly obsessed with the Greater Tuna shows at Grand Rivers Variety. And this isn’t just any review, this is a Tuna Review. Everything has to be just right!
Here’s the thing. One of my most defining characteristics is this: I love to laugh – the more the better. Got it from my dad. He was incredibly generous with laughs and I’m not the least bit stingy with mine. Naturally, a lifelong lover of laughter is drawn to things that make them burst out with CRAZY laughter – the kind that makes everything in the world disappear. Everything except the raining endorphins brought on by laughter.
The Greater Tuna shows put on at Grand Rivers Variety don’t just rain laughter, they cause floods. It may not have been on the news, but there was a flood in Grand Rivers last night. Fortunately, we were all washed away by “feel good” endorphins as opposed to “get wet” water.
The boys (Bill Minihan and Steve Sherling) were all over their game last night. These two incredibly talented and hilarious actors could hold their own with anyone – Steve Carell, Jack Black, Robert Downey, Jr., Dane Cook… In fact, and this is no lie – as much as I love this list of comic actors (each are personal favorites), I had just as soon see a Greater Tuna show in Grand Rivers as one of their movies. I’m not sure how we, as Kentuckians, got such a lucky draw. These guys could be in Hollywood right now, in movies or on tv, making millions do the CRAZY laugh – as opposed to working their mojo in beautiful Grand Rivers, Kentucky.
We got VERY lucky.
Even though it was a Wednesday, the crowd last night was really good. I was afraid that the middle of the week would cause a problem, but apparently I’m not the only one who loves to laugh. The crowd (of all ages) was practically in a fit of laughter the entire time. Some who were sitting around us had never seen a Greater Tuna show and I felt like looking at them and going, “I know, right?!” but it’s hard to speak when you’re doubled over laughing.
Speaking of crazy laughter – why, when we’re in fits of laughter do we hold our cheeks or cover our mouths? Are we attempting to keep our facial parts in place? I understand the doubling over. One has to find a position in which they can breath. Such gyrations!
At one point, I even slapped my husband’s arm – as though it was his fault I was being swept away in a fit of laughter. Fortunately he has big arms and was busy laughing, himself.
A little background, in case you aren’t familiar with the Greater Tuna shows. Two actors (the aforementioned Bill Minihan and Steve Sherling) brilliantly portray a town of colorful nuts and hysterical misfits from the fictional town of Greater Tuna, Texas. When the boys step out in drag, they literally have to wait to say their lines after the laughter dies down. Words cannot possibly do their characters or their performances justice. I’ve seen a great number of bucket lists and “Things to See Before You Die” books, but I’d respectfully suggest each one add this one: See Bill Minnihan and Steve Sherling as the ladies (ladies???) of Greater Tuna.
Visions you’ll never, ever forget. Bill makes a lot of woman… a whole lot of woman, and Steve’s footwear was absolutely killer. The thought of him strutting around in heels makes me laugh even now. These two performers lose themselves in these deliciously outrageous characters the way LeBron James loses himself in basketball, John Grisham loses himself in writing, and Halle Berry loses herself in loveliness. They are willing to go to any and all lengths to entertain their crowds – and that’s just what they do.
It’s as though laughter is their life source and the more laughter they bring about, the longer they’re allowed to live. If there’s truth behind this theory, apparently these boys want to live forever.
From Grand Rivers Variety’s website: The much anticipated third installment in the Tuna trilogy takes the audience through another satirical ride into the hearts and minds of the polyester-clad citizens of Texas’ third smallest town. Along with Tuna’s perennial favorites, some new Tuna denizens burst into the 4th of July Tuna High School Class Reunion. This sets the stage for a show full of fireworks and fun!
Fireworks, fun, and a flood. They forgot to mention the flood.
During the first fifteen minutes, I kept trying to remember favorite, classic lines to tell my daughters (and to include in this post). However, after about 20 minutes into the show, I’d ran out of fingers to count them on as well as the ability to reason. It’s all good, though. Crazy laughter can sweep me away anytime it wants. I was delighted to see that some new insanely funny characters had been added, but even more thrilled to see old favorites back – more deliciously entertaining than ever.
My husband told me that he’d heard that this one was EVEN funnier than the others. I kind of scoffed and thought, “As if. Nothing could be funnier than the other Greater Tuna shows.” At one point (it was either right after I popped my husband’s arm or right at the time the stranger beside me slapped mine), I stopped scoffing and conceded that this one was, indeed, the funniest one yet.
If the thought of three hours of GREAT entertainment, CRAZY laughter, and rushing floods of endorphins sounds like a good time to you, I strongly urge you to head over to Grand Rivers Variety and buy tickets. Pronto! There aren’t many shows left and this is one you’d be a nut to let get away.
As we were leaving, I noticed that (like us) everyone else was still laughing – and most of us were holding our stomachs. Laughter is such a glorious ab workout.
One final thought: It doesn’t matter what age you are, Greater Tuna will give you an evening you’ll never forget. Directly in front of us were two rows of high school kids.
They spent the evening doubled over laughing hysterically. Directly beside us (and in the row behind us) were people who… well, let’s just say they’d been out of high school longer than most of us have been out of diapers. They were also lost in fits of crazy laughter. All of us had the time of our lives and felt it from our heads to our toes.
At one point (and it’s worth noting that we were only an hour into the hilarity) a woman behind me laughed so hard she snorted. It was after one of Bill Minihan’s big women sashayed onto the stage. The lady told her husband, “I’ve never laughed so much in all my life!” They both just kept laughing and laughing – along with everyone else in the theater. A bunch of red-faced, doubled-over, laughing, snorting, people having the time of their lives.
That’s my kind of evening!
People who, if they could take the time to think and reason, would feel woefully sorry for anyone and everyone on the outside of the theater. There was so much happiness and fun in the air that it crackled.
That, dear readers, is what you can expect from a trip to Greater Tuna.
Again, please go to Grand Rivers Variety and order your tickets right now. I want YOU to have the same wonderful time we all did last night. I want YOU to remember what it’s like to get so swept away by laughter and fun that everything else slides away.
It’s a natural high that even caffeine can’t touch.
Also, if you’re on Twitter… and you really should be!… follow Grand Rivers Variety (@GRVariety). They’ll keep you updated on new shows, show times, and a lot more.
More Grand Rivers Variety Reviews & News on Genuine Kentucky:
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- The Sweethearts of Country Music at Grand Rivers Variety
- Red, White, and Tuna: You’ll Laugh Until You Cry!
- Always, Patsy Cline: Back By Popular Demand
- Ring of Fire: The Johnny Cash Musical at Grand Rivers Variety
- Variety! Music, Memories, and More Christmas Spectacular Review
- The Fabulous 50’s Show at Grand Rivers Variety
- The Big Band Show at Grand Rivers Variety
- Greater Tuna is Back in Grand Rivers and All Is Right in My World
- It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play at Grand Rivers Variety
- A Tuna Christmas in Grand Rivers: Sign Me Up!