Your favorite TV shows just got hotter: Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and Doctor Who have been given a makeunder by a New York City burlesque troupe.
Hotsy Totsy Burlesque’s rotating cast hosts themed performances every third Tuesday of the month. Last week’s tribute show to Game of Thrones pushed the TV show’s R-rated envelope further with booze, blood, fire, and flesh (lots and lots of bare flesh). In the burlesque act, host Cyndi Freeman (AKA Cherry Pitz) drank a toxic alcoholic concoction that landed her in the hospital. GoT played in her mind during her unconscious state and she channeled the character Tyrion Lannister during her risqué performance.
Khal Drogo, Cersei Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, and Sansa Stark were some of the other characters brought to life by Hotsy Totsy’s fire-breathing, sword-wielding, belly dancing cast of women.
Joseph Naftali (AKA Joe the Shark), the show’s co-producer and talent coordinator, said the shows are often in the form of sketch comedies that pay homage to old-school Saturday Night Live skits (with nudity). The acts don’t always celebrate pop culture, but the group’s most popular performances have had TV or film themes. Event-goers often come dressed in costume and recite their favorite show tag-lines in unison with the performers.
“It’s an easier marketing job when you’re referring to something that everybody knows,” Naftali said. “It’s like putting a star in your movie. There are people who show up for the star alone.”
The key to their success is to stay faithful to the original material, he said.
In June’s Mad Men show, Naftali cast 400-pound, 6-foot-4, handlebar-moustached actor Peter Aguero (dressed in lingerie) as Betty Draper/Francis, referencing the character’s buzzed about weight gain.
“Making fun of something that people love adds another onion layer of fun,” Freeman, the show’s creator and co-producer, said. “The hope is that the people in the audience have seen [the show] and they get all the tiny little jokes.”
Hotsy Totsy’s Doctor Who show was so successful last year that Naftali and Freeman plan on giving it a facelift in September.
“The quote from one of the doctors, ‘wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff,’ was a hit,” Freeman said. “Applause broke out so loud that we had to pause.”
Future pop culture-themed shows include October’s ”Cherry Pitz: Vampire Hunter” and parodies of The Avengers, Wonder Woman, and Star Trek. Past shows centered around Harry Potter, The Jazz Singer, and Groundhog Day may be revamped as well. The troupe performs in New York City at the Lower East Side’s R-Bar.