Who's the Ross Portland PDX Brian Whitney late-night talk show performance comedy PDX portland Slimkid3 Tre Harson Dookie Green Tony Ozier Cassidy Quinn KGW News anchor Brian Hodson Canby Mayor Dante's

How does each episode of Who’s the Ross? get booked???

Good question! For a local, AND WEEKLY, late-night talk show, I have been quite thrilled with our stacked guest lineups, of late. Almost 8 years in the game, we’ve certainly learned a thing or two about assembling the parts that make a quality presentation in only 7 days.

The booking all starts with myself, the host, as I currently book almost 100% of our guests. My booking objective is to present a lineup with three unique guests, all serving different purposes…

  1. A Celebrity (someone whose name will draw people to the venue)
  2. Musical Guest (featured EVERY single week, playing 2 original songs, backed by THEM! THE BAND!)
  3. Performer/Oddity (Comedian, Sinferno circus style act, or someone promoting something current that peaks the audience’s interest)

November 3 theme was Election Night, as the show conveniently fell directly on Election Day. Aiming for a political lean, I looked towards my friends in elected office to join us for a game of “Win, Lose, or Mayor!” – a gameshow we do every year, pitting three NW City Leaders against each other in silly contests.

I had a pair of mayors locked in for weeks before the performance, with the objective of acquiring a chat with the Mayor of Gresham (a surprise guests if I could get him, as his fare city is typically the but of many punchlines).

Prior to having WLOM 2/3 booked, I already had local funk-master Tony Ozier AKA Dookie Green booked as our musical guest, a badass I had wanted to collaborate with for ages. To boot, he has a side project with our good friend Slimkid3 of The Pharcyde, so I pursued a possible pop-in by Tre, which ended up becoming a reality weeks before the show date, so on the music end, we certainly had the goods!

The lineup seemed to round itself out as I filled our third, and final guest spot, with the lovely, talented, spunky Cassidy Quinn of KGW News. So there we were, a couple weeks before the show, with a full lineup (locked in earlier than normal) that featured some great, diverse names, and would be easy to promote.

But, as soon as I looked for our 3rd Mayor to complete the WLOM lineup, one of my mayoral guests had a last second call-of-duty (as his day job is being a Fireman), leaving me with only one Mayor and less than 36 hours to showtime. Despite putting out a dozen flyers for other mayors in the previous week, a conference in Nashville had taken most of them out of town…so on short notice, I had to get creative. I was lucky enough to hear the day before the show that our frequent collaborator Bim Ditson of Portland’s BEST FUCKING BAND And And And had officially just put his hat in the ring for PDX Mayor. A text message secured him in minutes, and then we took one of our actors, and had him play McDonald’s Mayor McCheese (this burger headed costume we bought years ago, has certainly logged many miles, as it’s the most expensive thing WTR has ever bought) as the third contestant. Oddly enough, the who was to play McCheese got sick right before the show, so co-writer Jordan Paladino had to fill in for him 60 minutes he was to hit stage, and trade one of his roles in the contest with our announcer Rob Ems, who ended up playing “Dan would you Rather.”

After all that, the show was a big success, the guests all brought the raucous, and the audience was none the wiser as to the struggles we had gone through to give them a lineup they would love. This story showcases just how fragile a guest lineup can be for a late-night talk show, and how flexible you need to be at the drop of a hat (which also means changing the material, changing who acts in what, and so on). But that’s one of the best parts about this comedic genre, on and off stage, you have to be on your toes. And that’s what makes it so damn exciting, stressful, frustrating, and rewarding!

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