LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - From the fire at Millennium Park to former Governor Edwin Edwards being released from prison - it was all big news and fair game for this year's 39th Gridiron production. Members of the Southwest Louisiana Ad & Press Club poked fun at this year's newsmakers through song and skits.
"You can't do anything that is private, but if it is in the news it's fair game. And usually we have enough material we are throwing stuff out," explained S.J. Gomez.
"We all get together. We take a lot of time from our families, but it's all worth it in the end and we enjoy roasting the politicians and they enjoy being roasted. In fact they would probably pay us to roast them," said Jolyn Slate.
But politicians aren't the only ones getting grilled. The 7 News Sunrise crew did their bit with an appearance by Agnes DeRouen (aka: Lee Peck dressed in a wig and wearing a jacket covered in brooches - Agnes' signature).
The laughs add up to big dollars for scholarships for students studying Mass Communications at McNeese State University and Graphic Design at SOWELA. The donation to education is one of the main reasons Vera Hollier joined the cast 17 years ago.
"At the time I had two teenage daughters who were about to start at McNeese. So I just wanted to give back, but at the same time I'm really a ham and I love the laughter," said Hollier.
It takes about six months of logistics to get the show ironed out and a whole lot of practice and direction from Brett Downer, who is directing his 13th Gridiron.
"It's great to work with so many people of the media: television, print and radio all come together. They are competitors by day sometimes by cast members of the Gridiron by night," said Downer.
Ruthie Broussard, 89, has been in all 39 Gridiron's in some fashion. She started out behind the scenes but eventually found her calling.
"I just love this crowd. Well you can see how they beat me up tonight," said Broussard. "I used to take tickets and serve drinks, and then I got on stage and I was hooked. I just love the people. I love the people I work with in the cast... I really do."
Among some of the other newsmakers poked fun at:
The Target Hippie Bus People; Coyotes in South Lake Charles; Calcasieu's version of American Idol; Swamp People meet the Kardashions; Jim Beam's commentary (a crowd favorite)