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Area men to appear at 'An Evening With the Onion'

The last time staffers of the fake-news website the Onion visited the Parker Playhouse, a horde of alligators, Burmese pythons, pelicans and other snarling beasties from the Everglades invaded the Fort Lauderdale venue and devoured all but one member of the troupe. As the animals launched themselves at the unsuspecting performers, pelican feathers showered the stage and audience.

"It's a tragedy, and every time we go to do a presentation about the Onion, we always say, 'Not another Parker Playhouse. Not this time,' " says Scott Dikkers, the animal attack's lone survivor and the Onion's co-founder, admitting he's "still haunted by frequent nightmares of the accompanying flood of raw sewage onstage."

Recalling the incident during a recent phone interview, Dikkers sounded optimistic but found it difficult to fake enthusiasm for the Onion's performance this Sunday at the playhouse, titled "An Evening With the Onion." "We're still leery, but we're prepared," he says. "If there's another backup, another flood, we'll be ready. We will have our knee-high boots and sticks."

Of course, the aforementioned incident never happened. No alligator or pelican has ever besieged the Parker (we think). But it's a bizarre premise that could have been ripped from the pages of the Onion, that Chicago-based repository of satire and dubious journalistic excellence. Dikkers, who played along with this story's phony setup, is the Onion's vice president of creative development. On Sunday, he will deliver a South Florida-centric talk with Onion head writer Todd Hansen.

"Our talk is about the past, present and future of the Onion, and how more people trust 'The Daily Show' and the Onion for the daily dose of news rather than so-called legitimate news sources. A lot of people find this frightening and funny," says Dikkers, speaking one week before the site's infamous Oscar-night tweet about 9-year-old actress Quvenzhané Wallis.

Dikkers says the show is part of a live touring series the Onion began in earnest last year. "Who is the real trustworthy news source of the future? We lay out this wonderful dystopia where all news is fake, and we say, 'You know what? The Onion is that source. Trust us,' " he says. "The [Chinese newspaper] People’s Daily recently reprinted an article of ours verbatim about Kim Jong-Un being named the ‘sexiest man alive’ as fact. There are fewer things that entertain us than when people buy into our reality.”

In 1988, Dikkers, along with Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson, created the Onion as a weekly broadsheet at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He later served as its editor in chief. The touring shows are a push outside the Onion's usual comfort zone of skewing current events.

"We try to localize the shows a little bit," Dikkers says. "So we will somehow involve your shirtless coeds and your contingent of [Tommy] Bahama-shirt-wearing, suntanned old people."

"An Evening With the Onion," with opening comedian Adrian Mesa, will take place 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at the Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $29.95-$59.95. Call 954-462-0222 or go to

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