Off the Leash: November 17, 2016: Entertainment changes over time …

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Entertainment changes over time …

Well, after 18 months of nonstop entertainment, finally the “circus” has pulled up stakes and left town. I can’t say I will miss all the chills and thrills of superfluous polling and inane speculation.

The price of admission was higher than any other time in history, more than $1 billion, and all I got was a T-shirt.

The Funhouse became the Chamber of Horrors and it appears the carnival barker stole the show, leaving the bearded lady at the altar. Despondent and confused, she was wondering why she got stood up again. Maybe she got so wrapped up in the wedding that she forgot to pay attention to the groom. After all, the real work of building a relationship comes after the honeymoon night. And in the words of Willy Loman, “attention must be paid.”

So now, the carnival barker has to take the show on the road. He’s a little wet behind the ears when it comes to running an operation of this size; so I hope he can find a good road manager to hold his hand during this long tour.

That said, I think he’s a little sluggish and light headed coming out of the gate. It appears he has enlisted the Three Stooges — Rudy, Christie and that white-faced clown Bannon — to orchestrate the acts. I sure hope they can pull it all together before opening night. The stakes are high and you only get one chance to make a first impression. If things go well, there’s talk of an international tour. I say it’s high time for someone to turn that European laughter into tears. They’re so pompous, rubbing our noses in their social programs and delicious food. It’s about time for someone to teach them a lesson in Show Business.

I wonder if the bearded lady will sign up for another traveling gypsy show. I remain optimistic. She is, after all, a rare talent in a changing industry. Maybe she would have done well to take a little advice from the great Laurence Olivier when he quipped, “The main job of a performer is to keep the audience from falling asleep.”

But times have changed and it’s harder to hold a crowd. Carnivals are on their way out. The days of the glitz and glamour of broken-down rides, rigged games, animal oddities and greasy carneys are on the wane.

Now we entertain ourselves with cheesy platitudes, selfies, the exploits of talentless people with a sex-tape and television shows, and movies that recycle old plots with a youthful twist. (These shows, by the way, have given me a very nice life.)

What’s old is new again.

The circus will never truly die, but maybe it can morph into something more in pace with the times. People are tired of the old show. They told us that in 2000 and now in 2016.

We are too busy playing “Whack a Mole” to notice that the Greatest Show on Earth has changed and so has the audience. Let’s all pay attention, then maybe we won’t miss the circus when it comes back around.

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