Roasting 'Sister' Kim Richards

Feb. 12, 2007

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Liz Taylor (Judith DiPerna) and roastee "Sister" Kim Richards.
Click photo for larger image.

Anything for charity, right? So last night I headed back over to the North Side to Elks Club #339 to participate in a supposedly Vegas-style Celebrity Roast, with Elks' charities as beneficiaries.

Roastee was Kim Richards, who's been playing the Sister in "Late Nite Catechism" at City Theatre for what seems like forever. Roasting her was a group including Foster Brooks, Sophie Tucker, Dean Martin, Paul Lynde, Jackie Gleason and Liz Taylor, with Phyllis Diller as emcee.

The latter, with a bottomless supply of chutzpah, really bad-good old jokes and that familiar braying laughter, was played with verve by techie-deluxe Diane Melchitzky, who honed her emcee chops a few years ago staging a roast for Jilline Ringle. Other roasters included (in no special order) Tony Totaro, Jamie Smith, Joe Miksch, Judith DiPerna (best costume) and D.J. Devine, with Sister's City Theatre Elf, Jamie Buczkowski, to run the requisite Match Game. Jim Cook was there to take videos, and in case he remembered to take the lens cap off, I'd better admit that I was one of the roasters, too.


Sophie Tucker (D.J. Devine) serenades "Sister" Kim Richards at the front table, with Jackie Gleason and Foster Brooks in the background.
Click photo for larger image.

Everyone else seemed to know what a roast should be and had the traditional jokes prepared, but I announced that I was a journalist from a decade in the future, here to report on the gradual domination of all Romoffsville (formerly Pittsburgh) by Big Brother UPMC and all Pittsburgh theaters and nightlife by Big Sister and her Mega-Charities Inc.

The news item I read purported to be from the Feb. 11, 2017 UPMC Post-Tribune-City Paper-Gazette, at a time when most entertainment had been reduced to hand-held electronics or implanted chip holograms. Sister had long ago taken over City Theatre with her proliferating Catechism shows -- Easter Escapist Catechism, Fourth of July Catechism Follies, Turkey Day Catechism, you name it -- in the process demoting Tracy Brigden to her personal archival librarian in charge of something called "texts" and reducing City's regular scheduling to a single weekend of Momentum: New Plays We'll Never Get to See Until Sister Says So.

She then annexed "The Chief" Cabaret (formerly the O'Reilly Theater), giving Tom Atkins a job as altar boy in her new Downtown Catechism show, and had just taken over Romoffsville's last surviving independent theater, Van Kaplan's CLO Cabaret, where the militant nuns in the CLO's revival of "Nunsense" staged a coup and joined Big Sister.

Diane Melchitzky (emcee Phyllis Diller), left, with roastee Kim Richards and me.
Click photo for larger image.

Kaplan was reported to being reduced to working as a waiter and spotlight operator at Jude Pohl's dinner theater in Wilmerding.

Kevin McMahon and the Cultural Trust were expected to capitulate soon, giving Sister control of the only other surviving Romoffsville entertainment franchise, the SteelersPiratesPens Virtual Gameboy Theme Park.

As I said in conclusion, never tangle with a stripper nun.

Did you know about that stripper part? Our Kim's shady past was the revelation of the evening: a series of precious vintage videos showing her in risque Las Vegas revues, complete with comic stripping and aerial ditto. You should see how cute she was as an underdressed French maid or the comically maladroit Boom Boom Betty!

There were also some clips of her actually acting -- that's a formidable gal hiding (barely) under that habit. And as to bad jokes, Kim ended the evening with the baddest collection of all.

I also discovered those are nice people over at the Elks, and the evening raised about $700, which I guess justifies the silliness. Congrats to Diane, Kim and whoever else made the evening work.



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