Don and Mike take on Hagerstown at Barracuda's

May 19, 1999

Well, you can't say we haven't had an eclectic lineup of entertainment in Hagerstown over the past month: Don Imus, Don and Mike, Carrot Top, Willie Nelson. If you're hot for a who's who of dysfunctional entertainers, there's no need to leave the city limits.

There was a little more riding on the Don Imus/Don and Mike radio broadcasts, because their shows go to millions of listeners nationwide.

And in both cases, local hotels took it on the chin. Imus spent the night here, staying in the presidential suite ("maybe it would be good for the president of Chile," Imus said) of the Best Western. Imus said he recognized the sheets from the last time he was here and said as a general thing he didn't like hotel carpets that squished.

Don and Mike took out their venom Monday on the Ramada Inn, or more specifically, Barracuda's nightclub where they were scheduled to play one of their filthorama, "Las Vegas-style" shows. Problem was, two minutes before the show, the Barracuda's management apparently told the radio team they could still do their dirty show, it just couldn't be dirty.


Poor Don and Mike. Welcome to Hagerstown, where they think the Scopes Monkey Trial was about the right of primates to use mouthwash.

Of course, Don and Mike are sort of like me, in that the more screwed up things get, the better the entertainment value. And entertain they did, spending about an hour of Monday's show graphically detailing Hagerstown's backwoodsdom before an audience of some 5 million listeners nationwide on 60 stations.

Now, I suppose you can argue that the Don and Mike Las Vegas-style strip show doesn't fit in with Washington County's community values (you know about community values: What everyone champions in public but no one practices in private). But honestly, is Barracuda's, the local Kwike Mart of teased hair and tattoos, muscle shirts and stirrup pants, blue-light-special, bargain basement "we put the 'me' in meaningful relationship" lovin, really the one to be saying "for shame" to Don and Mike?

This is Barracuda's, right? The fish bar? Since when did they discover they had such a disprurient social interest in upholding the moral fabric of the community? What's next for Barracuda's, scrap metal recycling for the benefit of abused women?

I mean, this is a place with the ugliest, wildest-painted wall art this side of Berlin, depicting a bare-chested male Skeeziks and a buxom beach broad in a bikini that's about as functional as a Honda Civic cupholder is to a 7-Eleven Big Gulp if you understand what I'm saying and all of a sudden it is offended by smut? Who died and made them Pat Robertson?

If Barracuda's could have somehow fronted the failure of our drivers to understand turn signals, the nation would have been treated to the whole Hagerstown shootin match.

Not everything in Hagerstown made out so bad. Sushi connoisseur Don loved the House of Kobe. Nonsushi connoisseur Mike did not, although he acknowledged that the food was promising enough that "there's nothing that a deep-fryer wouldn't cure."

The Dairy Queen got good marks, too, as did Dual Highway.

Mike liked the straightforward approach to naming the Dual, in that there is one set of lanes going in one direction and a second set going in the other, hence the name "Dual."

All this time in Hagerstown and it took a total stranger to unlock that mystery for me. Thanks, Mike.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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