Laffo's future stars invade the Star Bar

As host of the new "Gong Show"-styled amateur night at the Star Bar, the Rev. Uncle Laffo of local all-clown band Greasepaint (aka local music ringleader Jim Stacy) is excited about his new role as a modern-day Ed Sullivan. "I realized how much fame is out there and wanted to share it with the masses," he says. "I lead these people down the primrose path to notoriety. All they have to do is walk down it."

The imposing clown hosted a similar show at Athens' High Hat Club several years ago, and the biggest star to emerge from that stint was the enigmatic karaoke singer 8-Track Gorilla. Laffo took on this latest hosting job because, he says, "Ed Sullivan, last I heard, the bastard was dead. We don't have the budget to bring [TV's "Gong Show" host] Chuck Barris out of cryogenic suspension. So, Laffo it is."

While TV's "The Gong Show" had a stable of irregulars, including the Unknown Comic and Gene Gene the Dancing Machine, Laffo isn't sure if his show will nurture such fine oddities. "Sidekicks happen, they are not made," he says. "We'll have to see how it goes. This is organic art at its apex."

Enlisting a more modern method of gonging his stinker acts, Laffo and his panel of celebrity guests use sporting-event airhorns — "much, much more annoying," the clown says ruefully. Acts that don't get honked off the stage receive prizes from an assortment of Little Five Points-area sponsors.

A portion of the evening's proceeds go to Pediatric Aids of Atlanta, Laffo says. "So not only is it a damn riot, but you're helping out a good cause as well. This is going to end up as the thing to do on Thursday nights."

"Rev. Uncle Laffo's Amateur Talent Sideshow" is held Thursdays at the Star Bar. Contestant sign-up begins at 9 p.m.??