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Carcieri, Laffey, Celona, and CVS Draw Top Barbs at Follies (posted February 28, 2004)

With former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci in Ft. Dix federal prison, Governor Don Carcieri, Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey, State Senator John Celona, and CVS emerged as the recipients of the most pointed barbs at this year's Providence Newspaper Guild Follies. The annual dinner and political satire show was held February 27 at the Venus de Milo, and the affair provided an opportunity for guild members to poke fun at leading politicians.

Emcees Scott MacKay and Frank O'Donnell drew hearty laughs from the audience for jokes regarding a variety of political figures. O'Donnell had perhaps the night's best line when he said that the religiously inclined and egomaniac Laffey had four tables at the Follies because he "needed room for himself, his ego, and his 12 apostles." Another skit entitled "King Me" ridiculed Laffey to the tune of "King Herod's Song" from "Jesus Christ Superstar". The song featured a Laffey-style actor singing "I am the mayor I'm the great Cranston mayor, People think that I am odd, just because I talk to God....Arlene loves me, so does Kass, on the air they kiss my ass. I'm eager to go, on a radio show, Even John DePetro. I'm gonna make those public unions look like fools."

MacKay was not far behind in good humor when he joked that the half-time Follies entertainment would be to tear the top off the Statehouse and "expose a few boobs." Referring to criticism over Governor Carcieri's receipt of a New England Patriots ticket for half a game from Fleet Bank, O'Donnell said the governor had to leave the Follies early because "he only paid for half a ticket." A musical skit entitled "Thanks for Nothing" complained about the governor's stance against public employee unions. "There were times, you act kind of scary, Smoke-shop raid, you sent in the dogs .... You make unions, hate you very, very, Teacher groups, state employees too, Want the status quo, you said no."

John Celona's business ties with CVS were the object of a musical skit entitled "Call Me a Whore". Guild representatives sang a comical ditty about Celona crowing "I saw the cash I could make as a drug-store consultant. I saw a way to hide thousands of dollars and more. I stood there laughing. I wouldn't tell a soul I was a CVS whore. I'm, I'm John Celona."

Providence Mayor David Cicilline earned his share of flak as well. MacKay had the audience roaring in laughter with a subtle dig at poor snow plowing within the city. "The snow is only pretty for the first hour. Then you have got to clean it up," he said. MacKay also noted that the openly gay Cicilline had "a police chief paid more than A-Rod and he's fired all the arts and music teachers, and we thought he was gay."

The state's summer raid on a Narragansett Tribe smokeshop was featured in a song "Smokeshop Blues". Croners sang "They asked me how I knew, we were getting screwed, I of course replied, white men they do lie, cannot be denied. They said one day you'll find, troopers and the tribe, Fighting tooth and nail, cigarettes on sale, smokes gets in your eyes." There also was a comical skit entitled "The Blame Game" (song to the tune of "I've Got You Babe") featuring actors playing Governor Carcieri and Attorney General Patrick Lynch blaming one another for the ill-fated raid.

The evening always closes with a surprise mystery guest. This year's guest, introduced by Attorney General Lynch, was Narragansett Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas. Dressed in dark sun glasses, the chief joked that in an effort to spur economic development, the tribe planned to convert the smokeshop to a "halfway house for ethically challenged politicians."
Copyright 2000Karen Martin Media Services