Sunday, August 29, 1999

'Weird Al' can do kazoo at Oktoberfest




BY JIM KNIPPENBERG
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Sometimes, don't you know, getting a star to toot into a kazoo is, well, a long and winding road indeed.

        Witness the trek of the Downtown Council, looking for a celeb to join Rick “King of Kazoo” Hubbard leading the World's Largest Kazoo Band at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati '99.

        It began in May when public relations director Buz Buse sent an invitation and four-foot floral arrangement — orchids, anthurium, dendrobium, greenery and 100 neon kazoos — to talk show princess Rosie O'Donnell.

        No go. Then followed a stab at Alex Trebek. Nope. Vanna White. Nope. Pat Sajak. Nope. Schedule conflicts, all.

        Likewise Drew Carey, Loni Anderson, soccer star Mia Hammand NASA, too.

        Then an offer to Weird Al Yankovic. Hmmm. King of Kazoo meets King of Weird, while 30,000 people do the chicken dance to kazoo tunes in the middle of the street. How could Yankovic refuse? He couldn't. He'll kazoo here Sept. 18.

        Mr. Buse stresses that Mr. Yankovic isn't a second or desperate choice. His name came up late in the process. In fact, Mr. Buse has a list of second choices he was about to flip to if first choices all flopped.

        The 30,000 kazoos, for the record, come from Butterball Chicken. Who better?

        ON THE TUBE: Well for goodness sakes, look who's popping up on BET (Black Entertainment Television). None other than Cincinnatian William Alexander.

        Mr. Alexander, recall, is the standup comic who's had all kinds of success setting up comedy shows at mid-sized clubs around town — usually 10 or so comedians, most, but not all, minority.

        Now it's his turn. Big time.

        Earlier this month, he trooped off to BET headquarters in Stone Mountain (outside Atlanta) and taped a segment for Comic View, BET's highest rated show.

        His 7-minute routinewill air this fall, but he isn't sure when. “I find out the first week of September. Right now, they're still editing the tapes. Scheduling comes later, once they see what they have.”

        In the meantime, Mr. Alexander is working on yet another comedy extravaganza: Eight acts Sept. 11 at the Apple, in Woodlawn.

        TAKING A SHOT: So then, she doesn't run, she doesn't block and she doesn't tackle, but Paula Norton is still a rising star on the football field.

        The Clifton photographer, see, has been taking pictures of cheerleaders. A couple weeks ago, she shot the official Ben-Gals poster, a freebie that will be given out at some games this fall.

        Earlier in the summer, she spent a week in Cancun shooting the Ben-Gals in a beach games competition against Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins cheerleaders.

        Then went on to shoot individual shots for the Bengals' yearbook in exotic locations around Cancun.

        Whatever she did, she must have done it plenty well, because the next thing you know, the Philadelphia Eagles grabbed her to shoot them. She did more yearbook photos in more exotic locations, then sat in on the photo shoot for their calendar.

        Which is also what she wants to do with the Ben-Gals: A calendar, maybe for the year 2000. The Ben-Gals don't have one right now and nothing's in the works. Yet.

        Knip's Eye View appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.

       



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