Freak show review


The offices needed a new instant coffee provider after our previous contract decided to quit the brown to get in on the noun (sock vending machines). As part of a very well-priced special promo offered by one of the majors, we got a modern new machine and a wide selection of bean cartridges, ranging in strength from Morning Sumatran Whisper to Black Stew. Spirits were high and our content team kicked into high gear,  fueled not only by coffee but by a tray of sour mini muffins we found under the old machine when they removed it. But, you know what they say: “if too good to be true, fuck you” and in this case, we were the “you”. I was horrified to find out that the sales rep failed to highlight some additional stipulations of the contract we signed, leaving us obligated to a) adopt a retired bean donkey and b) attend and promote a freak show sponsored by the brand.

I believe in contracts, handshakes and sex with other guy’s hideous, annoying 35 year old virgin daughters, so I wasn’t about to go apeshit and demand a re-sign, I’m classier than that. The donkey got here yesterday and is actually pretty good at eating spiders so he’s alright. I was really against the freak show review because it’s promoting something I don’t necessarily believe in but a deal’s a deal.


Lisa, Jod and Esther having some fun out back with Gonzo, our old mule

Don’t think for a second that freak show reviews will become a regular feature here–I voiced my displeasure and was assured that the terms will be fulfilled as long as we mention the details of the tour and don’t slam it too much. I knew this would be a tough assignment for one of our staff writers because it’s hard to stay positive when you’re watching something so boring, so as editor-in-chief I took the bullet. Here is the review:

My cousin and I were super excited to check out The Maxwell House of Freaks X-Zone, currently engaged in a limited run at the Panasonic Theatre in downtown Toronto. After signing in and promising we wouldn’t throw pennies at the talent, we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted with a free sample of one of Maxwell House’s latest creations, a carbonated coffee called Uplift. After quickly downing the new drink we were directed to the toilets where a long line had already formed. Everyone in the washroom was mentioning how white and foamy their urine was, which I assume was the result of Toronto’s famous pollution and not the delicious drink we had consumed. We were seated by a lovely Colombian man named Nick who assured us that despite his ears that looked like mushrooms, he was not one of the freaks. After some female jugglers opened the show, the real freaks took to the stage, one-by-one. We saw the following acts:

Bearded Lady

What can I say, she had a beard. She wore a very nice designer-looking dress that contrasted well with her thick whiskers, but since you’re automatically drawn to her face, it’s likely that those in the crowd without an eye for the sartorial didn’t even notice. They should’ve introduced her as “The Ultimate Woman” then slowly raised the curtain so that by the time we get to her chin we’re ready to see a real bonker only to realize we’ve been looking at a dad with a bod.

Was the beard real? Looked like it. Was the Prada dress? HA! Not likely, judging by the lack of selection at the wine bar and amateurish lighting design.

Lion Man

I mean, he ate raw meat using an impressive pair of freshly bleached fangs, and he had a passable roar, but it didn’t bring anything new to the table. It’s like going to a restaurant called “PIZZA” then getting the pizza and it’s just fine, you know?

Doggie Boy

Doggie Boy was a highlight only beacuse he was cute, but I got six gerbils and a Polly Pocket orphanage set at home that fills that hole in my life so it’s not like I needed it. We were allowed to pet him after the show, which is one of the things this tour needs more of–interaction. The other is more aquatic-based freaks. The PR rep was unable to answer my questions regarding the availability of such acts, but I assume they get inserted into the lineup once the tour hits coastal cities.

Tiny Man

If you have a tiny man AND he’s the second last act on the show, he’d better be tiny. I’d seen a tiny man (billed as a volcano pygmy) at a decent freak luau on my honeymoon so my expectations were far higher than the couple seated beside us who absolutely fell in love with the little guy, remarking how he reminded them of a miniature Stephen LeDrew. He was reasonably tiny and did perform a great bit where he put a can of Pringles (obviously a sponsor, lion man’s tamer teased him with a pipe of dills) on his legs then did a sort of robot dance to a medley of funk songs.

Tall Man

I’m not positive, but I’m reasonably sure that Tall Man was Charles Gitonga Maina, star of The Air Up There. If it was then they definitely gave him some lifts beacuse the Charles Gitonga Maina I know isn’t eight foot five, based on the scale provided by the film’s promotional imagery:


Our reviews tend to end with a recommendation and though I’m contractually obligated to recommend the show I will add that X-Men: Days of Future Past is in theaters this Friday.

The Maxwell House of Freaks X-Zone runs until September 14. To purchase tickets contact TicketBeaver at (567) 1-1-1-1-15 or email

Not only are we now able to enjoy our coffee in peace but the folks at Marvel Studios are  now obligated to send us a new salt lick for Gonzo because of that quick mention there at the end that I promised them. That’s why I’m the editor and you’re all just bankers or actors or whatever the hell it is that you do.


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