A third of the way into her one-woman comedy show “Dixie’s Never Wear a Tube Top While Riding a Mechanical Bull and 16 Other Things I Learned While I was Drinking last Thursday,” host Dixie Longate asked a member of the audience what it feels like to find yourself on the floor, having been quickly tossed off a bucking bull.
The Swedish woman in the front row’s answer? Empowering.
The word seemed to surprise and please Dixie, who wraps her run at Blumenthal’s Booth Playhouse Sunday. The woman’s word choice wasn’t rehearsed, but it fit the underlying theme of Longate’s follow-up to the hit “Dixie’s Tupperware Party.”
“Never Wear a Tube Top” finds Dixie (aka male actor Kris Andersson) doling out advice (and name tags, crowns, and moon pies) from her Julie Andrews-loving BBF’s honky-tonk during a storm. The Mobile, Ala., trailer park trollop (a description she embraces) is beyond colorful, riffing on sex and quoting her mama, who butchers standard English expressions such as “a bird in the hand…” to hysterical proportions. (Having butchered a few myself, I relate.)
On the surface, Dixie – a towering figure in polka-dot stilettos, a hunky trucker-patterned dress and a modernized Peg Bundy red wig – is a hilarious good-time gal that keeps the crowd laughing loudly throughout the show. But her advice, which boils down to living a full life for yourself and engaging – not just tolerating – others, is sound. Dixie lets her freak flag fly and wants you to do the same.
The funniest parts of the show are unscripted. Longate plies nuggets of information from her guests and runs with them. The audience participation isn’t meant to embarrass theatergoers, as it can be at crasser comedy shows. There’s a feeling of camaraderie in being welcomed into Longate’s circle, even if she’s teasing someone for the size of their breasts or their ineptitude with a child’s Tupperware toy.
Her jibes aren’t mean-spirited, and although she talks about sex – a lot – she never ventures into gross or offensive territory. That’s the vibe of the whole show, balancing snide asides about her mama and children with a misty-eyed nostalgia for a child’s innocence and imagination.
The laughs are as big as her hair, but it’s the heart in her lessons that really makes the show work.