US Oh No at the Morgan in Bushwick supports the troops

Performance patriotism at its burlesque best

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Gone are the good old days of Bob Hope, and here in his stead is Donny Vomit.

A group of tawdry Brooklyn burlesque performers are reinventing the form of entertainment made famous by classic United Service Organizations shows, giving a sideshow-style makeover to the wholesome acts that defined the World War II era.

But instead of wowing troops with performances by entertainment greats such as Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra, these gigs feature human blockheads like Vomit, as well as off-beat comedy and burlesque dancing.

“The USO shows tend to be pretty PG-13 and that’s not me, so it’s a pretty loose interpretation and loose theme,” said organizer Ben Doray — known by his stage name Scary Ben — who wears an Army doughboy-style uniform and cap to emcee. “There is a bit of a military and patriotic theme, but it’s not overwhelmi­ng.”

There won’t be any uniformed soldiers in the crowd and the performers at the show — dubbed “US Oh No” — aren’t heading to any war zone, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t putting themselves in harm’s way.

“My acts mostly involve the chances of me being hurt or seriously maimed,” said Vomit, a “Sideshows by the Seashore” icon who is planning to hammer things up his nose and juggle chainsaws.

Doray has been a fixture on the Coney Island sideshow scene for years and US Oh No, which is now a monthly staple at the Morgan, calls for the crowd to participate and showcases some of the city’s weirdest, most flamboyant, and least categorizable talents — such as operatic strippers and bunny suit-wearing comedians.

“Burlesque is great, but as it’s currently defined, it’s kind of limiting,” said Doray. “There are so many talented people in this city who do more than take their clothes off. I want to have comedians, strippers, magicians, fire-breathers; any manner of stage-based performance that is amusing to me.”

US Oh No at the Morgan [250 Varet St. between Bogart and White streets,]. Oct. 2. $7. 9 pm.

Updated 5:36 pm, July 9, 2018
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