Just as irreverent and hilarious as ever, the 51st annual Cornyation left its audience at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in stitches on Wednesday with commentary on local and national current events and politics.
With witty dialogue and over-the-top costumery – the majority in the form of cross dressing – this year’s sketch comedy show touched on everything from the Blue Bell Listeria scare to marriage equality. Of course the U.S. presidential candidates were the butts of several jokes, in addition to Mayor Ivy Taylor and the notorious, recently captured Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
Laughter and applause rang through the audience of hundreds of San Antonians throughout the night who delighted in the routinely ragtag nature of the show which included costume and prop malfunctions that only made the performance more enjoyable.
The show also is a spoof on the Fiesta tradition of the Coronation of the Queen of the Order of the Alamo, a more upscale event at the Majestic Theatre complete with an orchestra performance and an elaborate pageant featuring Fiesta royalty, that honors Texas’ fight for independence from Mexico. Cornyation, too, appoints royalty as part of the festivities, with this year’s first ever dual honor of King Anchovy bestowed upon Wayne Beers and Michael Bobo, husbands and owners of W.D. Deli on Broadway.
As one of San Antonio’s favorite – and most outrageous – Fiesta events, Cornyation has been going strong since the ’50s when it began as a lively but small gathering at the Arneson River Theatre during NIOSA. The event’s controversial antics led to its ejection from the venue, but it eventually found a home in the Empire Theatre.
But when the wigs and loads of makeup come off, those behind the production make positive contributions to the community. The nonprofit Cornyation, Inc. donates serious funds to local charities advocating for those affected by HIV and AIDS. To date they’ve donated more than $2 million.
The party ends with early and late showings on Thursday night. Tickets are typically hard to come by, so if you do happen to find some, consider yourself lucky.
This article was originally published on April 20, 2016.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Cornyation began in the ’60s when it actually began in the ’50s, and incorrectly stated that there were Friday shows.
Top image: The Duchess and Royal Ringleader of the All-American Clown Car Representing If It’s Not Fun, You Are Doing It Wrong impersonate politicians. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone