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Hoot, holler, and wolf-whistle

Hullabaloo Revue is bawdy and irreverent

The troupe behind Hullabaloo Revue

Greg Bollinger

Six years ago, Deric Davis had never seen a burlesque performance. Now, the booted, suited, and bearded comedian is taking his clothes off for strangers at least once a month. Davis isn’t a burlesque dancer himself, but he hosts a variety of performers in his Hullabaloo Revue.

Hullabaloo isn’t a standard burlesque show. The traveling variety event features dancers, stand-up comics, musical acts, and a sideshow. Davis strips himself down at the beginning of the show in order to introduce some levity and to show the crowd how to participate.

“For today’s audience, you sometimes have to show people that it’s okay to cheer women on for taking off their clothes,” he said. “It’s okay to hoot, and holler, and wolf-whistle.”

“It’s all about the tease,” burlesque dancer Buttercup said about Hullabaloo.

Davis’s introduction to burlesque came six years ago, when he saw Tulsa’s own TwoLips Burlesk troupe. He was an instant fan.

“I travel for work, and whenever I went to a new city I would try and find a burlesque show,” Davis said. “I realized that Tulsa’s burlesque shows were just as good as and sometimes even better than what was happening in bigger cities.”

Davis had been performing stand-up at the Comedy Parlor frequently when someone at the venue offered him his own comedy showcase. Davis leapt at the opportunity and decided to incorporate his love of burlesque, starting something completely unique to the Tulsa comedy scene.

“The whole intent of Hullabaloo is to provide an experience to the audience … to create a mood of amusing, bawdy irreverence and to show them things they cannot believe they are seeing, especially in Tulsa, Oklahoma,” Davis said.

My two visits to Hullabaloo were a blast.

Women dressed like classic pin-up models led me to my seat, and, between displays of belly dancing and tassel twirling, nervous comedians sweated through jokes about their weight and sex lives. Branjae, a musician who performed at the first show I attended, left the crowd speechless. Additional comedy was provided when a dancer got a stocking stuck on her foot during a sexy reveal and sashayed through the rest of her set with it trailing like a ribbon of toilet paper.

The show has since spread from the Comedy Parlor to themed events at several venues around town.

The Hullaballoo Carnivale event at Fur Shop in September features a sideshow with a bearded lady, a spanking booth, aerialists, a fortune teller, and fire dancing/blowing alongside the usual burlesque, comedy, and music.

In addition to the Carnivale, Hullabaloo hosts Pride Parties. The events feature “boylesque” in addition to their usual presentation. They also hold drag queen and king contests, and proceeds from the event go to the Jerome Food Pantry.

The featured fire dancer is Chrissy Kat, a permanent burlesque performer in the Hullabaloo Troupe. Apart from permanent members like Chrissy Kat and Buttercup, Hullabaloo features performers from around the country. Oklahoma City, Texas, and Arkansas dancers are regulars, and Louisiana’s Lucy Furr recently joined the troupe for good.

Davis, Joan Wright, and Amy Elle Bordeaux are resident comedians, but the rest of the comics rotate, and Davis is particular in his selection.

“It can’t be ‘you might be a redneck if,’ or a family or Christian comic … it has to be someone who is familiar with irreverence, can roll with the punches, and can follow a beautiful woman taking her clothes off,” Davis said.

Local comic T.J. Clark has incorporated his Hullabaloo experiences into his set.

“Of course, when the women are on stage it’s fine to look,” Clark said. “But backstage I was respectful and tried not to stare. There was so much cleavage around me, though, I could not stop sweating. Not staring at boobs is the greatest exercise I’ve had in months. I think I burned 3,000 calories just staring women in the eye. True resistance training right there.

“Comedians are always roasting each other or talking shit about something, which is fun in its own way,” Clark said.  “But everyone was so supportive and positive backstage at Hullabaloo. It was like getting invited to the coolest slumber party ever.”

In addition to Hullabaloo’s flagship and Carnivale events, the troupe is constantly experimenting with new themes.

“We take the variety aspect of our shows, our performance group, our troupe, etc., and spread that across each show with a focus on one performance type in our secondary shows,” Davis said. “We also have one-offs ... for artists to see a mini-show and then create art based off models we provide for live posing ... We have a burlesque brunch planned. A pin-up contest planned. A country music burlesque event called the Hullabaloo Honky-Tonk.”

Hulaballoo Revue will be holding a talent showcase and casting call Feb. 16, 9–11 p.m., at Blackbird on Pearl (1336 E. 6th St.). The Honky-Tonk show is planned for March, and Tulsans can get their fill of Hullabaloo fun, flirtation, and fire-eating at the Fur Shop in April. For all events, visit facebook.com/hullabaloorevue.

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