Wander into Royale this Monday, and you'll be treated to pituitary cases in chicken masks and pubic wigs pummeling each other and busty "buxoticas" putting on their best Cirque du Soleil moves. Welcome to LA's Lucha Vavoom, an endorphin-soaked, GWAR-inspired triple threat that Cuisinarts together masked Mexican wrestling and live burlesque, emceed by a rotating flotilla of comedians — including, as it turns out, Tom Kenny, the voice actor behind SpongeBob SquarePants (and nine zillion other cartoon characters) and one of Lucha Vavoom's most vocal cheerleaders. Although Kenny will be sitting out Lucha Vavoom's Bay State debut, the man is no stranger to Boston — he kicked off his stand-up career here, mentored by political satirist and sometime Phoenix writer Barry Crimmins. After a bit of phone tag, I reached Kenny at his home on Monday, whereupon he explained: "One of the things that kept me busy this weekend was refuting the Internet reports of my death. So if they turn out to be true, you might be having an amazing experience right now." I did. And, from the sounds of it, so will anyone who makes it out to Royale on Monday.
For the uninitiated, how would you describe Lucha Vavoom?
Well, it's a uniquely Southern California mélange of elements — with showgirls, standup comedy, and also of course the Lucha Libre wrestling. Another element is the mini matches —
Oh, the midgets!
Yes, exactly. Little people. They call them "the Minis." There's a full-sized wrestler called the Chupacabra, who dresses like the goat-sucking demon of Mexican folklore, and then he has Chupacabrita, who is his little offspring. To me, the Lucha Libre Mexican wrestling restores some of the fun that's been lost in the American scene. When I was a kid, wrestling was weird and stupid and goofy and crazy. And then it just got too corporate. These guys are really inspiring as performers. They give everything, and they're so fan-friendly. I've seen these guys get thrown out of the ring, into the audience; somebody runs up with a camera; they pose with the person with the camera; then they jump right back into the ring and start kicking ass after the photo's taken.
How real is the ass-kicking?
These guys, they get hurt — you know, like hurt hurt. In that Three Stooges way. Even though you know that some of it is worked out ahead of time, there's still quite a risk factor there — there's a lot of high-flying twisting and turning, jumping off the ropes. It's so comic-book. You sorta know what's gonna happen, but there are infinite variations on how it can happen, and these guys are so ingenious at the storylines.
How did you start?
I started doing it because I was going to all these Mexican wrestling matches anyway, and they would see me and go, "Hey, you wanna do Lucha Vavoom?" And what I and the other comedians do is almost superfluous. You just kinda gotta get in there and say something crazy while people are thrashing each other, throwing shit around.