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Meet the Variety: Hot Todd Lincoln, MC

Posted by Jules V Moorhead | Posted in Meet the Variety, reviews, sideshow | Posted on 31-03-2015

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HotToddLincolnI first saw Hot Todd Lincoln on stage at a Twisted Knickers show in the Yellow Sign Theater in Baltimore, the city he calls home. I wouldn’t formally meet him until a year or two later when he accidentally molested my knee at Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey‘s annual Holiday Spectacuthon, but I digress. Hot Todd’s MC style is pun­filled and banter­heavy. He likes to make a connection with his audience. Over the years, as he’s added sideshow acts to his sets, you can feel that same sense of connection in his performances.

For Hot Todd, being an MC is an extension of who he is offstage. “I tend to be very outgoing, and really like being a part of a community. The role certainly plays to my strengths of being quick on my feet and very convivial. I tend to be fast with puns and snappy comebacks, and I truly enjoy the feeling that comes with connecting with an audience.”

But with great power comes great responsibility, and Hot Todd wasn’t satisfied with simply delivering a well­timed zinger. “As I continued to host shows, I realized that being an MC gives me unique opportunities to do more. Once you connect with an audience, you can say something really important.” Hot Todd has used his time on the mic to promote marriage equality, equal rights, body positivity and the sexiness of consent. “I want to create a space in which everyone is having a good time and feels safe and welcome.”

He cites MCs and performers such as Swami YoMahmi, Mab Just Mab, Paco Fish, Professor Sprocket and Harley Newman as some of his biggest influences, among many others like Miss Astrid, Bradford Scobie, Bastard Keith, Scotty the Blue Bunny, Magnolia Jackson Pickett Burnside, Ben Wisdom, World Famous Bob, Doc Wasabassco, Murray Hill and Armitage Shanks. “Everyone I’ve mentioned comes to the mic with wildly different perspectives, and really connects with their audiences from a very personal place.”

In addition to his skills as an MC, Hot Todd also does classic sideshow acts like the bed of nails and routines such as a fun, audience-­participatory straight jacket escape number. “While being an MC is fantastic, I wanted to explore what I could do on the performance side of the equation. I’m no dancer, so initially, sideshow seemed a better fit. Once I started, I became captivated by the physicality and honesty of sideshow. There’s no illusion to sideshow. What you see, is really what’s happening. Bed of Nails? Real nails. Walking on glass? Real glass. Eating fire? Yep…real fire. I am also realizing the benefits of performing and practicing sideshow on and off stage as I’m pushing myself beyond my own fears.”

As if hosting and performing wasn’t enough, Hot Todd co­produces a monthly show with Chérie Nuit as Hot Night Productions at the Bier Baron in Washington, D.C. As someone who lives and hosts in Baltimore while producing and performing in D.C., Hot Todd straddles the burlesque scene in two different cities to an extent few others do. When asked to compare and contrast the two, he replied, “One immediate difference is that there aren’t really any ‘troupes’ based in DC, with the exception of the Cheeky Monkey Sideshow. There are a lot of production teams: Hot Night Productions, Valentine Candy Burlesque, The Weirdo Show, Atomic Doll Productions, etc. This creates flexibility in casting and adapting to venues and performer schedules. In Baltimore, there are both. Twisted Knickers and TimelessTease Productions have adopted the small core with a lot of guest performers model, whereas troupes like Gilded Lily Burlesque and Bawdy Shop Burlesque are doing well with larger core casts and fewer guest stars. Both scenes have a wide pool of talent to draw from and are generally very supportive of each other with a good amount of overlap. Another difference is that the some of the Baltimore groups are doing more scripted shows and bigger productions.”

As to what it’s like being in both scenes, “It’s pretty great in that I work with really good people in both cities, on both sides of the curtain.”

Jules V Moorhead co­produces TimelessTease Productions in Baltimore. Find Jules and TimelessTease Productions on Facebook.

[Photo credit: Josh Aterovis]

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