Make every weekend epic with our free Weekender newsletter. Sign up today!

Binders full of punch lines

Now that the election is really (really) over, the producers of Laffing Matterz can finalize their dinner-theater show.

The revue opens its seventh season Thursday, Nov. 15, in the Abdo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts with the usual lampooning of news headlines in a supper-club setting. Speaking before last week's election, the dynamic duo of Mark and Rita Wells explained how they were in a holding pattern with a few skits.

"There are at least two big numbers that are kind of twisting in the wind until we see what is happening [with the election]," Mark Wells says. "But that happens a lot, anyway. And sometimes, we end up pulling a number if it's not getting a response. Always, the audience is the barometer that tells us what is funny and what is not."

But they both agree that this election, in particular, is good fodder.

"The show revolves around what is going on in the news, so we obviously had a good year for stuff," Rita Wells explains. "And there is a lot of Florida-type of humor. It's a cross between, like, a 'Saturday Night Live' and a musical."

So this time around, expect satirical songs on a slimmed-down Paula Deen, "Dancing With the Stars," Ambien antics, "50 Shades of Grey" and Anderson Cooper's coming out.

"We do a take on cosmetic surgery," Mark adds. "We've got Katie Holmes being chased by Scientologists. We've got a song about erectile dysfunction. There's one with Arnold Schwarzenegger and some children he's fathered that he doesn't know about. [There is] a good, way-out-there number about Chick-fil-A. That's the envelope-pusher this year."

Dinner theater is nothing new for the Wells. They met while performing at the now-defunct Crystal Palace in Aspen, Colo. "That's when I started doing political and social satire up there," Mark recalls. "This is more like Monty Python. It's more like Vaudeville really."

Laffing Matterz runs Thursdays through Sundays until May 12 at the Broward Center, 201 SW Fifth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. Dinner starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and at 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets cost $59-$65. Call 954-462-0222 or go to

Copyright © 2018, South Florida