Unearthed from the deep recesses of MGM’s anus, this rarely heard audio recording of a live performance by Janet Lamé was captured at the notorious NYC hotspot, “Stella” (a sort of a speakeasy type joint in a club called Fez, under Time Cafe in NYC). It served up plenty of big band bebop, swell floor shows and stiff drinks for loose women. This set by Janet proves the last item on that list true and THEN some! She rambles on a lot in a drunken tirade but also sings some of her fans’ favorites, including “America’s Favorite Fast Girl” and of course “Oh, Boy!.” The emcees for the night were those rapscallion ne’er-do-wells- David Wain, Michael Ian Black, and Michael Showalter.
Mary as Janet Lamé with Bill Lobley as Kyle Lather in the B-Picture “Up In Arms”
Janet Lamé is Mary’s beloved alter-ego… a washed-up B Movie star who is convinced that the next “big picture” will finally make her!
A regular on the alternative comedy scene in the mid-to-late 90s, Janet Lamé boozed it up and belted it out with the best of them. And it wasn’t long before Mary started penning entire B-movies for Janet Lamé- performed live on stage with cast members such as Artie Lange (of “The Howard Stern Show”), Andy Daly (of “Mad TV”), and many of the Live On Tape cast members. Ultimately these one-act live films culminated in what is now known as “The Janet Lamé Film Festival”- a televised tribute to Ms. Lamé’s long and sordid career. The Janet Lamé Film Festival was perfomed at PSNBC/HERE in New York City, and had a ten-person cast. The entire evening was hosted by the “Classic Movie Television” (CMT) channel. Anyone who remembers Bob Dorian on AMC (“American Movie Classics”) would go ape over the frighteningly funny actor Bill Lobley as Host “Bob Noonan.” For Janet’s leading man, Matt Scott played “Kyle Lather” (with a respectful tip of the fedora to Kirk Douglas). Tony Menutto played the busboy/hypnotist/stalker “Sanhib.” The show also featured Tom Bolster as the star-crazed, asthmatic fan “Bucky,” Andy Daly as trumpet-blowing Jimmie, Jimmy Palumbo as jazz drummer “Stuie,” and Marie Laferrara, Lisa Jolley and Jen Johnson as the Lady Luck Cigarette Singers. Musical numbers sung by Mary Birdsong (as Janet) included “The Memory of a Rose” and “Conchita, Marquita, Lolita, Pepita, Rosita, Juanita Lopez.” The ladies also did a swinging version of the “Lady Luck Cigarettes” jingle “Put a Little Luck In Your Pocket Today!” dressed, of course, in head-to-toe cigarette costumes. They were… smokin!!!!
This production also featured a full-on Janet Lamé museum exhibit of her movie memorabilia & personal costumes all designed by “Ruth Hand” (no relation to Edith Head). Louie Fleck provided amazing slides and graphics to give it that “Old Hollywood” feel. And Greg Talenfeld did the sound design.
Past Productions of Janet Lamé “films” include:
First developed from a humble one-line writing assignment in a sketch comedy class at Gotham City Improv , that one line turned into a monologue, which then turned into a 20 minute scene performed at the Column Theatre in NYC with Harrison Hogan as Kyle Lather and Bill Lobley as “CMT” host Bob Noonan. That scene then turned into a one-act which was performed as part of AboutFace Theatre Company’s “Off-Peak Fare” series on Theatre Row. It was later coupled with another Lamé movie entitled “The Prizefighter” giving fans a “Lather and Lamé” double feature.
The Prizefighter & Roseblood… A Double Feature!
This B-movie double bill was directed by Wynn Harmon for the AboutFace Theatre Company, and featured Tom Bolster as the wheelchair-bound ex-boxer “The Cracker Jack Kid.” Janet Lamé played his kid sister who must put her dreams of stardom aside to care for her nearly brain-dead brother. John O. Fennell played “Pops.” For the second feature of “Roseblood” Alec Holland reprised his role as the Hypnotist/Busboy “Sanhib,” but David LaDuca replaced Harrison Hogan in this production as “Kyle Lather.” Bill Lobley did double-duty as CMT host Bob Noonan and the “Cracker Jack Kid’s” boxing coach “Stitches.” Michael Walsh tinkled the ivories for Janet’s big show-stopping ballad rendition of “The Cracker Jack Jingle.”
I’ll Sing From My Cell
This movie also appeared as part of AboutFace Theatre Company’s “Genre Fest” on Theatre Row, and fit nicely into the “women in prison” genre. The cast included Francine Lobis (now Francine Wheeler) as cellmate “Spanish” and Tasha Wenger as cellmate “Queenie.” John O Fennell provided a wonderful touch in drag as “Carter” the prison matron. Bill Lobley was there of course as CMT host, “Bob Noonan,” but he wasn’t able to do every performance, so Jordan Hunt also played Bob Noonan for some of the shows and was a delight!
I’ll Sing From My Cell & Roseblood… another Double Feature!
I’ll Sing From My Cell was also perfomed at the Cucaracha Theatre and was paired up with that old Janet Lamé classic, “Roseblood.” There were some slight changes in cast this time around. For the cast of “Ill Sing From My Cell, ” Michael Kowalski showed off his gams, replacing John O Fennell in the role of “Carter” the prison matron, and Tasha Wenger was replaced by Kimberly Ann Evans as “Queenie.” Jimmy Palumbo (from Live On Tape) pitched in too, playing “Detective Ruder” to Janet Lamé’s chorus-girl- turned-jailbird, “Viv Devere.” Bob Noonan was once again played by Bill Lobley. And Bill also did double duty by playing Kyle Lather too!