Parading unicorns and bubble-blowing fairies are scattered among the family entertainment at Scarborough Renaissance Festival, but if you look along the fringes, you’ll discover a few saucier acts for mature audiences.
We went through the Museum of Mythical Monsters, which houses replicas of things like shapeshifters and flesh-eating death worms. We also toured Tower of Yorkshire, a moated dungeon to be avoided at all costs by those with even the slightest tinge of claustrophobia.
“Would you like to visit my tower of torture?” beckoned a guard near the medieval tower’s iron gate.
Once inside, we wondered if we’d ever see daylight again. Still, a torture tower and replica monsters aren't exactly saucy. For something a little more PG-13, check out these three acts.
Christophe the Insultor
Wearing a fur cape and round spectacles, Christophe the Insultor makes money by insulting his audience. The more money the audience doles out, the raunchier the jokes become.
“If you’re really a high roller,” he said, “your friend won’t even be your friend when I’m through.”
After one group paid $40 to have a friend insulted, Christophe declared the guy was so ugly that if Joan of Arc had seen his shovel-beaten, squinty-eyed face, she “would have put the torch to the hay herself.” And if the pope were to lay eyes upon him, he’d excommunicate himself.
Another group shelled out $55 to have a friend grilled, so Christophe ramped things up, saying the man was so pathetic he probably drank from a warm, expired juice box and whacked off every day in the face of a rat.
“Every time you take a shit,” he said, “your turds are happy to be single.”
And it didn’t stop there. Christophe said that although the guy follows his friends around like a small dog eating cat dung from a litter box, if he were to die right then, his friends would leave him in the gravel. Then came the lowest of blows.
“Whenever he goes to a pet store at the mall,” Christophe said, “the puppies all pretend to be asleep.”
Another group paid a little more to have their friend hear he was such a loser that he’d probably get fired from a shit factory for eating on the job and couldn’t sell an anti-venom kit to a guy with a king cobra swinging from his gonads.
And this was all before Christophe’s grand finale.
Iris and Rose
Next up were Iris and Rose. If anyone wonders whether two sisters could be raunchier than Christophe the Insultor, the answer is yes.
The women, who looked a bit like Old English barmaids, laughed a lot at their own jokes. And to inform the audience they were only kidding, they’d start things off with “a joke.”
“Why are there no Scotsmen in Narnia?” a sister asked. “Because the animals can talk.”
The sisters sang barroom-style songs about dildos and — we’re leaving out the distasteful details — everything that happened after a handsome sailor unzipped his pants.
The two then gave a toast to the Texas heat.
”And we’re not talking about the kind that burns down trailers and shanties,” they said, “but the kind that brings down Wranglers.”
Before the show was over, the duo even answered the age-old question of why women wear underwear.
“It’s because state law says that all man holes must be covered,” they said.
Arthur Greenleaf Holmes
Years ago, Arthur Greenleaf Holmes would stand out in the meadow asking people at Scarborough Renaissance Festival if they would like to hear his poetry. They did not. But after describing himself more raunchily as a wildly inappropriate poet, he’s now wildly popular.
Holmes says his lyrics are not the stuff of silk doilies and lady fingers but of gutters and alleyways.
“It is the poetry of going in dry and coming out ashamed,” he said.
Still, Holmes insisted his poetry is not about offending people but more about “bringing people together in laughter and joy through the glories of language and literature.”
Part poet and part showman, Holmes shared his tales with animated passion, delivering verses ranging from the semi-romantic “he mounted his dutiful mare” to the raunchy “tastes like a drip from a camel toe’s crack.”
“There are times I feel the need to apologize for my own sense of humor,” he said, adding that he often feels compelled to order his eggs doggie-style.
At times, Holmes resorted to heckling the audience, and after discovering that one couple had shared a sausage at the festival, he asked a couple that had only been dating a month if they, too, had shared a sausage.
Holmes also asked a woman if she was a pixie because “it‘s hard to tell when elfin begins and inbred ends.”
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Seemingly obsessed with private parts, Holmes said he penned “Mother Will My Stones Drop?” after his testicles failed to descend. Among his other poems are “I Built My Love a Menstrual Hut” and a wedding poem.
The wedding poem talks about a man who “stinks up the room like a cave-dwelling ape,” and “is shooting up enemas just for the thrill,” along with a woman whose chin drops and “wobbles like a turkey,” and whose “vulva dries up like two slabs of beef jerky.”
After reciting that poem, Holmes asked the young couple in the audience if they’d be sharing another sausage anytime soon.
“Give it to someone you love,” he says. “It’s the wedding poem. And it’s beautiful.”