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Comedian Takes His Wife--Please

March 01, 2000|STEVE CHAWKINS

Most couples do not see the benefit of coming up with a grabby title for their wedding.

A wedding is a wedding. It's not a show. So "Jason and Tiffany: The Fabulous Adventure Beyond Time" just won't fly, besides costing a fortune to have sculpted in ice.

But Sheila Thibodeaux and Richard Inman are not most couples.

Minutes after they secured their marriage license Tuesday, Sheila turned to Richard with another terrific idea.

"We could call it, 'Who Wants to Marry a Comedian!' " she said. "That's it! I love it! 'Who Wants to Marry a Comedian!' "

She was talking to the right guy.

Sheila and Richard are funny people. They do improvisational comedy with Ventura Area TheatreSports. Improvisation requires the courage of a lion, the speed of a gazelle and the unnatural ability to concoct a spontaneous comic opera involving a dentist, his hygienist and an elephant gun.

Or something like that. Remember, they're improvising, which is exactly how the Thibodeaux-Inman nuptials are to be conducted.

This is encouraging.

As the campaign over Proposition 22 heats up, I've heard so much about marriage being sanctified and holy and solemn and somber, and so little about it being--um--fun.

"When two people come together in laughter--well, what could be more important than that?" Sheila asked.

The marriage will take place on stage during an improv show at the Livery Theatre on March 11. Some 80 guests will be friends and family. An additional 20 will be comedy fans who pay 20 bucks apiece for hors d'oeuvres, champagne and a chance to be plucked from the audience as a maid of honor or best man.

Why, you ask.

Why include strangers in the wedding party and dress them in the ugliest get-ups available from the nearby thrift stores?

Why have a wedding officiated by a comic who grabs butter off of tables as he impersonates Elvis in his less-lean years?

Why would the bride wear a white dress with big glued-on daisies? Why would the groom wear a black top hat and a T-shirt that says, poignantly: "Groom."

To find the answers--if there are any, you'd have to know a little about the betrothed.

They met five years ago at a class in metaphysical studies.

They fell in love immediately.

They once operated a Web site devoted to the sale of henna for decorative body art.

"It was a very trendy thing," Sheila insisted.

They collaborated on a musical called "The Stylist," wherein the ghost of Jacques Cousteau helps a hairdresser through the rocky shoals of existence.

A former hairdresser who now owns four skin-care clinics, Sheila is 38 and has never been married.

A composer with some credits in independent movies, Richard is 46 and was married once, for a year, long ago.

For five years they have been together in unwedded bliss.

"Sheila thought it was a good idea to get married," Richard said. "I told her: 'OK, fine. I'll go along with that.' "

So, OK.

A couple of Saturdays from now, the TheatreSports troupe will be taking ideas from the audience--"Did someone say professor? A professor and a butcher's assistant? A howitzer? Fine!"--and making a wedding.

After the ceremony, the audience will participate in a sing-along of the solemn wedding march, "Makin' Whoopee."

Then the happy couple will honeymoon in London, return to Ventura and begin life in mirthful matrimony.

Is there a down side to marrying a comedian?

Too much song? Too much dance? Surplus quantities of seltzer in the pants?

"It's those big shoes in bed," Sheila said.

Steve Chawkins can be reached at 653-7561 or by e-mail at

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