Friends and foes alike met at Baltimore’s Power Plant Live’s Comedy Factory last week to “Roast and Toast” former Mayor Sheila Dixon.

Absolutely nothing was out of bounds for the comedians who took full advantage of the opportunity to rag on Dixon’s leadership, legal and personal troubles, and of course, those now infamous gift cards that landed her in court.

The jokes were all in fun, as proceeds from the event were donated to Agape House, an organization that offers help for ladies in need. The former mayor said she didn’t take offense to anything that was said because it was really “all about the girls.”

Dixon laughed heartily throughout the 90-minute program as numerous public figures and comedians took their best shots and lowest blows. Taking notes, Dixon seemed completely at ease during what Toastmaster Peter Schmuck warned her would be “the worst 90 minutes of community service of your life.”

Familiar radio personalities such as Konan and Mark Steiner from 92 Q and WEAA, respectively, were among those who joined the show Thursday night.
Dressed in one of her finest numbers complete with a belly shirt, Pamela Leak, better known as Ms. Maybelle from the Katz Insurance commercials, was also present.

“You always kept your head up- no matter what the naysayers said,” said Leak to Dixon, who was seated stage left of those lined up with an arsenal of sarcasm and blunt humor. “You said no comment to everything. ‘Sheila what about the fur coats?’ ‘No comment’! ‘Gift cards?’ ‘No comment!’

Roasting is an event that draws crowds if for no other reason than to see the reactions of the honoree being targeted. Celebrities and other public figures often agree to be roasted for charity. During the event, jokes are aimed at anyone present both on and off stage not just the main guest.

Comedienne Maria Sanchez wasted no time in making fun of the woman she said had done so much for Baltimore City.

“Look at Ms. Dixon, looking nice. I like those shoes, you got the orange and the black on- looking like the Oriole Bird. Is that your new job?” asked Sanchez.
“My grandmother called me and said ‘did you hear about the mayor? She’s a gift from God.’ I said “No grandma! She stole some gift cards,” said Sanchez, as the former mayor sat on stage left just feet away.

“Honey, I am a gift from God, I am going to take you to my hairdresser,” Dixon later said to Sanchez, who attended in sweatpants and a t-shirt with a plastic clip holding her hair. Dixon was last to take to the podium, and was given time to respond to all of the insults flung her way in good spirits.

In 2010 Dixon resigned as Mayor of Baltimore after being found guilty of misusing over $500 worth of gift cards. She was sentenced to community service and probation that ends next year.

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer