For a year and a half, Seattle DJ Bobbi Rich has been taking local bands out on a hot-tub boat and asking them weird questions like “Who was the first butt you ever touched?” The result is a wonderfully bizarre web variety show called Hangin Tuff, highlighting bands like La Luz, Dude York, Fly Moon Royalty, and others during nautical-themed interviews spliced with weird animated segments, drunken mermaids, and a lot of partying. Think early MTV mixed with Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.
After shooting her first whole season of the show and nearly 20 individual band segments at this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party, Rich is gearing up for the taping of her first holiday special: A Very Tuff Christmas. She’ll also debut never-before-seen episodes from Season Two. We sat down with Rich to ask her some holiday-themed questions and chat about her attempts to take Hangin Tuff to television.
It seems like you’re always in some exotic location partying. Give me a summary of this year for you, and whether or not you think you’d be on Santa’s Naughty or Nice list.Rich: I’ve been all over the place. I think I’d be on the naughty list because I definitely did party a lot this year. Santa would probably be, like, “Why you fuckin’ shit up, party animal?” I love hot water—obviously, there’s a hot-tub boat on the show—so I’m a connoisseur of hot springs. I went to so many hot springs this year and just got really drunk in them—this one I had to take a snowmobile to. I still want to go to that one in Japan [with] those little fuzzy monkeys that hang out in it. I went to one in Soap Lake this year.
Isn’t that the place with the world’s largest lava lamp?Yeah! I couldn’t find it, though. I guess the town used to be this hippie hotspot in the ’60’s for wellness/New Age stuff before it dropped off the map. I went there for my birthday by myself, and there was a hot tub in the cabin, and I just got champagne-drunk in a mineral hot tub, and it totally did feel healing. I was like, “This year’s going to be great! I’m not going to party as much. Well, actually, I will party as much, but the partying will be more strategic partying.”
You’ve been pitching
to TV, right? Is a lot of strategic partying involved there?Half the trips I went on this year were business trips. We [Hangin Tuff production team Easy Bake Coven] signed with Screaming Flea [the local producers of Hoarders and The Legend of Mick Dodge], and they’ve been pitching it to all kinds of crazy folks to be executive producers before they take it to the networks. Like, “Are you seriously pitching it to Mike Myers today? That’s crazy fucking awesome—tell him ‘Schwing!’ for me!”
They also were talking to Paul Reubens [Pee-Wee Herman], and I almost died—he’s one of the biggest inspirations for the show and for everything throughout my life. He couldn’t sign, though, because Pee-Wee is actually coming back for a new Big Adventure movie with Judd Apatow. Until I found out, though, every day I just dreamed about how I’d impress him at our first meeting: “OK, I’m going to wear a big trench coat with tequila in it, and I’ll have a mini-boombox and big shoes and get on the table and do the splits.” A physical therapist once told me I’d never be able to do the splits, but it’s still one of my goals.
Any other possible producers you’re talking to?The Workaholic dudes. It would make so much sense. They’re really into music, the whole ’90s vibe, and silly as fuck. I think we could make a kick-ass show together. I just need to show them the footage from Capitol Hill Block Party where we’re taking marshmallow bong rips with bands.
What do you have in store for this Christmas-party taping? And how’d you get a Rainier sponsorship? That’s a dream.My dad actually used to drive a truck when we lived in Colorado and [he] and his buddy used to be the big Rainier truckers in Colorado even though it’s Coors land, so I grew up wearing a Rainier T-shirt as a little child. I met the Rainier rep here, and we became friends and we scored free Rainier. You’ll actually be able to get free Rainier logo flash tattoos at the show.
As I’m sure you know, Christmas was based on pagan traditions. Would you say the Christmas show will be more like new Christmas or old pagan Christmas?We have a Krampus—it’ll be [vocalist Bryan] Krieger from Deadkill, and he’ll be interrupting people, being a dick all night and hitting drinks out of their hand. He’ll also have a mistletoe kiss-me cam that’ll project on the wall, so everyone will see you getting harassed by him. So I guess it’ll be a nice fusion of new and old Christmas. We definitely recognize all of it, though—Kwanzaa, Festivus. We’ll have lots of party bands, so no matter what it’ll be a party.
What’s your favorite Christmas special?Oh, I mean, Pee-Wee’s, easy. With Grace Jones coming out of that box? Pshhh.
Favorite Christmas gift of all time?My parents didn’t have a lot of money and I’m one of four little baby girls in the family, so we’d have a lot of Christmases with nothing, but they’d do weird stuff to make up for it. One time they bought a shit-ton of balloons and blew them up on Christmas Eve. My dad got on the roof and stomped around and was like “HO-HO-HO!”, and my mom was like “Go to bed, he’s here!” When we woke up there were magic balloons all over our house and we loved it. Also one year I got a light-up Fisher-Price microphone with pedals attached to it that had different vocal effects, and you could sing to a little beat. I got that and a two-deck cassette player with Michael Jackson’s album, the one with “Black or White,” so I just recorded myself singing to it a bunch.
Mariah Carey’s or Celine Dion’s Christmas album?Mariah, all day every day.
Did you hear about her big goof-up on “All I Want for Christmas” last week?That one at the Christmas-tree lighting in New York? I was surprised she even did it, given everyone protesting. Mariah forgets words and stuff kind of often. I’ve seen performances where she does that, but I still love her, she’s Mariah. She could just sing the word “poo” the whole time, and I’d be like, “Still love you, Mariah! Wish your hair was still curly!”
A VERY TUFF CHRISTMAS With Don’t Talk to the Cops, Thunderpussy, and more. Fred Wildlife Refuge, 128 Belmont Ave. E., 588-6959, fredwildliferefuge.com. $10; one free drink ticket with toy donation. 21 and over. 7 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 11.