“A wonderful amount of controlled chaos.” That’s how Landon Bradbary describes his Dec. 9 variety show from a small coffee shop table in Old Town. Aptly dubbed “Landon’s Dysfunctional Christmas Reunion,” the highly anticipated event is the second show in a series produced by Nick Norman of Big Stage Productions.
“We are basically meshing a Christmas Party and a variety show,” says Bradbary, with Norman at his side. “And then we stock it with the best musicians, some of the funniest comedians — and smash it all together and throw it out there in front of an audience.”
That is the essence of Landon Bradbary. There is no middle ground, no compromise and certainly no mercy. Throughout the interview, we consistently exist in a fragile state of either being kicked out of the coffee house or having the entire joint join in for Christmas caroling (luckily, the latter occurred later in the meeting).
“I’m actually not a fan of the holidays,” says Bradbary beneath his signature salt and pepper beard and aviator sunglasses. “By the time the first month of Christmas is done, I’m over it.”
It’s hard to decipher if Bradbary is being serious or whether he’s evoking the persona of his popular “Bad Santa” character — something he reprises each holiday season. But one thing is certain: the variety show will be a memorable treat for anyone lucky enough to score tickets within the quaint confines of First Flight Restaurant and Brewery.
“We’ll have a running order throughout the show,” says Bradbary. “It kicks off with awesomeness. Then singers. Then comedians. All with audience participation. This is not a come and ‘sit on your hands’ kind of show. And if you don’t like something, don’t worry. It changes again every five minutes.”
“Awesomeness” is apt branding for the stable of local celebrities. Bradbary will be joined on stage by Norman and other musicians, along with local comedic talents like Kathy Gilmore, Chad Newman and Pony Charvet — who Bradbary says is “the fastest and sharpest” he has ever seen on stage.
“Pony has been my sidekick many times,” says Bradbary with a sinister grin. “Having him as your ‘evil Ed McMahon’ is a blessing, especially when it’s us and the audience all in this thing together. There is no rehearsal and everyone brings a self-contained act.”
For those attending the show, Bradbary insists they wear their holiday worst to the event. Simultaneously, he points to his red T-shirt, with a picture of an RV and a caption reading, ‘Merry Christmas. Shitter was full.’ Bradbary reads it at full volume for six tables to hear—and I notice a nearby young woman snort coffee out of her nose with amusement.
At that moment, Norman bares the magical harmony between him and Bradbary. While Landon plays the role of Cousin Eddie, Nick steps in to center the interview.
“I do want to remind folks that we are creating this sense of congregation at these events,” says Norman. “Not only are we supporting local artists, these are the folks who create in this town — the people who deserve to be on a stage. And when you place them in an intimate setting with an engaged audience, there is something special that happens.”
Landon’s Dysfunctional Christmas Reunion takes place on Dec 9 from 8 to 10 p.m. at First Flight Restaurant and Brewery on Whitehead Street. For tickets, visit their Facebook page or Eventbrite.com