Yesterday, I drove up to The Mallet Restaurant in Fallston for the premiere of a new docu-style comedy series called Hot Flash and Company. Readers of the magazine's monthly Publisher's Note may recognize the title because our publisher, Steve Geppi, has mentioned it a few times lately. His daughter, Breanna, has a role as "naive, ditzy" Bre in the pilot, which was filmed in and around Baltimore last summer and fall. And most of the Geppi family was on hand for yesterday's debut, along with dozens of excited friends and associates of the production including longtime Sun columnist Michael Olesker and 98 Rock's Mickey Cucchiella.
The show, created by Barbie DeSantis, follows a middle-aged mom (DeSantis) who is downsized from her job and decides to open an odd-jobs business named, you guessed it, Hot Flash and Company. Surrounded by a well-meaning but incompetent support staff of wacky characters, hilarity naturally ensues. As the show's Facebook page says: "Think I Love Lucy meets Benny Hill and they drive past John Waters's house on the way to pick up a van full of old people." The cast is rounded out with plenty of local talent including newcaster Richard Sher as a sleazy suitor and model/actress/opera singer Chrisdine King as a boozy floozy in DeSantis's employ.
The crowd noshed on wraps, pasta, meatballs, and salad as the cast and crew did the rounds congratulating each other. But a certain nervousness hung in the air, espeically for DeSantis, who was eager to find out how her baby would play to a live audience. " As long as I hear laughs, I'll be okay," she said. She needn't have worried, the crowd whooped it up, loving the comedy, which ranged from slapstick to high-camp.
Speaking by phone today, DeSantis sounded relieved and triumphant, noting that she has enough scenarios to keep the show going for a long time—and she's determined to keep the production here in Baltimore, even if it gets picked up by a major TV network. You gotta love that.
Here's a short clip from the pilot episode, courtesy of the producers. DeSantis and her coproducers can be reached via the show's Facebook page.