The Randy Dandies' 'Game of Thongs' is Cheeky Fun at Plush
Mimi Le Yu is putting burlesque back into the local entertainment pot. Mix it with a healthy dose of show biz, a generous splash of pop culture parody and enough innuendo-laden puns to make Freud blush and you’ve got the Randy Dandies, proving that burlesque is alive and breathing heavily. The pulchritudinous St. Louis-based comedy burlesque group brings their particular brand of sexy fun to Plush Nightclub with “Game of Thongs,” a Build-Your-Own Burlesque Fantasy night, this Saturday, Nov. 23 at 9pm.
“Game of Thongs” is based on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” the wildly popular American fantasy/drama television series. “We’ll draw from the entire fantasy genre—’Pirates of the Caribbean,’ ‘The Hobbit,’ it’s all in there,” says Laura Coppinger, the founder and producer of The Randy Dandies, who performs with the troupe under the name Mimi Le Yu. “You don’t have to be a fan of “Game of Thrones” specifically.”
The production features the Dandies’ biggest cast of the year. In addition to the eight core cast members, there will be five to ten extra performers, including renowned pole dancing team Michelle Minx and Katrina Dohl, as well as a fire performer and one of St. Louis’ top belly dancers, Ami Amore. The attending audience is encouraged to wear their best fantasy genre costume, with the best costume getting a prize.
A Randy Dandies show is always a pop culture parody. Past shows included shows titled “A Pasty Home Companion” and “Bra and Order.” The cast members also can’t pass up an opportunity for sexy pseudonyms, performing under the names Roxy Red Rockets, Little BoPeepshow, Pinny Yearned and other names best left to the naughty imagination. Each show follows the form and style of the show it’s parodying, and they’re always packed with puns and sexual innuendo.
“Since our shows are based on existing television shows, every Randy Dandies show is completely different and original from any show we’ve done before,” Coppinger says. “That’s one reason people come to see us again and again.”
Coppinger and crew start planning and writing the shows eight weeks out, then as the performance draws closer, they focus on getting enough rehearsal so they’re comfortable with the script, but not locked into it. “We don’t get the show so set that we can’t improv and discover things during performance,” she says.
Today a Randy Dandies shows is a far cry from their deliciously raucous but ramshackle first performance, when Coppinger got a bunch of her comedy buddies together and cobbled together a show. “It was a chaotic first show,” she says. “We didn’t know what we were doing. I didn’t know how to produce. Now we’ve gone from a mess to a hot mess,” Coppinger says.
Producing the Dandies still holds challenges for Coppinger, who holds a theater degree from Lindenwood University. Trying to get the cast together for rehearsals—all of whom are engaged in various projects—is sometimes easier said than done, which Coppinger says is “a little like herding kittens.”
The Dandies perform four big shows a year like the upcoming show at Plush, which are always done for charity, with the most recent benefitting Food Outreach. “I think it’s really important to give back to the community. If you have a talent to share, that’s how you should give back,” Coppinger says.
In addition to their big production performances, the Dandies can be found the first Thursday of every month at The Fountain for Burlesque Bingo from 9pm-11pm.
Coppinger is quick to point out the difference between the Randy Dandies and someone who merely takes off their clothes on stage. “They’re selling sex. We’re selling art.” In fact, the audience at a Randy Dandies performance consists of a large percentage of females, and many of them are older women, whose husbands don’t seem to mind either.
Coppinger’s outlook is simple: It’s perfectly acceptable to not be ashamed of your body. “It’s okay to be sexy,” Coppinger says. “It’s about being comfortable in your own skin.”
“Game of Thongs” is at Plush, located at 3224 Locust, Saturday, Nov. 23. Doors open 8pm. Show starts 9pm. For more information, visit the Randy Dandies Facebook page.