charlatansSome longtime Rogue Festival followers may have noticed two performers not on this year’s schedule: Tommy “the Rev” Nugent and Shane “Scurvy” Spears.

Separately, they have been responsible for some of the festival more-hyped shows over the years. Nugent (who stared in “Burning Man & The Reverend Nuge,” “Occupy This!”) was so popular that the Detroit storyteller/comic had his own fan club for a bit. Spears, who is known quantity in Fresno’s spoken work scene, was featured heavily in The Bee for his show last year.

While neither are on the official Rogue schedule, the pair joined together to create “Charlatans,” a two-man comedy story telling show, which they present 10:45 p.m. tonight and tomorrow at the Fresno Soap Company. Note the late start time. This isn’t an official Rogue event, though it should be of interested to Rogue fans.

I emailed with Nugent and Spears to find out more about the show.

Those who have seen you guys perform may wonder: Is it really safe to have you to sharing a bill like this?

THE REV: So, long as we’re not performing in a house of worship, I think we’ll be okay. Though I will be working with razor blades and an animal trap, so …

SCURVY: The experts say, hell yes! Leading scientificated professionals in their fields are now saying that attending our show will leave you feeling engorged with tranquility and imbued with superhuman powers of irony.

Seriously though, tell people about the show? How’d it come about and how is it going to unfold? And what about the name?

THE REV: Basically, I needed a trip to Rogue, and this show (and a solo show at UC Berkeley on Wednesday) became my justification for going. Retiring from festival touring last August (after a short 18-month retirement tour that started with 2014 Rogue) eliminates about 80% of my social life. My mom passed away unexpectedly a few months ago and I’ve been taking taking care of my 79-year old dad and pretty much being a stay at home dad myself. I kinda need a little love and attention, and of the dozen or so cities I’ve played regularly over the last eight years, Fresno gives me the most of both. So I reached out to Scurvy — my very favorite speaker-of-words-from-a-stage — to see if he was down to share a stage with me. Apparently he was feeling as bored as I was needy and here we are, about to pass the mic back and forth like Dr. Dre and Eminem. Well…actually pretty much nothing like that, but it’ll be fun.

SCURVY: I would say the show came about as a natural organic outgrowth of two symbiotic show personalities, like an inevitable buddy-cop-movie pair up. Myself being the uptight by-the-script perfectionist and Tommy being the fun loving wild-card loose cannon with a dark past: less like”Lethal Weapon,” more like “Tango and Cash.” The name of the show, is apt for a show in which the principle actors consist of a street magician preacher and a snake oil hustler. Besides, it’s the year of the con-man.

It’s not a “Rogue” show, but it’s definitely fringe feeling and is happening during along with the Rogue. What’s up with that?

SCURVY: Sometimes, creative endeavors are planned thoughtfully, invested in wisely, scheduled accordingly and executed sharply by organized people who make deadlines. And then there’s us. It’s kind of a “gas money, show tickets and beer money” venture, a way for us to enjoy the festival and cover our tab. I like to think the slapdash recklessness of it all pays tribute to the DIY spirit of Rogue.

But Tommy is retired from the Rogue yeah? Is this one of those Kiss final-final tour kind of deals?

THE REV: I am in fact actually retired from Rogue … as a solo performer. And since this is a two-hander, of sorts, that isn’t techinically a Rogue show, the terms of my retirement are in tact. You can trust me, I went to law school for a month 20 years ago.

This if for Tommy: How’s your career as a magician going?

THE REV: “Career” is overstating it a bit, but I’m getting a kick out being one of Motor City Casino’s strolling magicians. I’m using a couple magic bits in “Charlatans,” including the razo rblades-in-mouth trick, which is the first thing I ever did on stage in Fresno six years ago.

Anything else that people need/would want to know?

THE REV: The guaranteed path to salvation and eternal bliss, which we don’t cover in the show, but I am happy to spill the secret of to anyone who buys me a drink when I’m in town.

SCURVY: No wristbands required, only cash, and perhaps a healthy buzz with your casual evening ensemble.

Josh Tehee

Josh Tehee

Joshua Tehee is an entertainment guy. Music runs in his veins. Like seriously, you cut him open and there's no blood-- just music. It's weird.
Josh Tehee
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