May 8, 2009—San Francisco’s Episode 18 was a night for the books; the Elbo Room was filled with a lovely crowd, brimming with literary enthusiasm and good cheer. In honor of Mother’s Day, co-finalists April Sinclair and Peter Orner took each other on in a “Yo’ Mama” joke smack-down. By audience applause, a graceful but tough Sinclair took home the medal.
Round 1 kicked off with esteemed writers Ellen Sussman (Word for Word) and Peter Orner (A Public Space). Orner took the stage first, sweating under the hot lights, and told a tale of a young man’s bike ride home from an unsuccessful night with a girl, only to be pulled over by the police and falsely accused of peeping on another lady--the audience praised the story with laughter. Sussman was equally charming with her story of a new mother hating that she hates Paris. Wonderful and amazing judges Andrew Leland (The Believer), Eve Batey (SF Appeal) and Andy Raskin (The Ramen King and I) “almost came to blows” over the decision, but elected Orner to advance to the final round.
After a brief and boozy intermission, co-hosts Alana Conner, in her favorite white boots, and Sky Hornig, gathered the audience to watch the poetic prowess of Jesse Nathan (Milk Machine) battle the supremely talented April Sinclair (Single Woman of a Certain Age). The audience marveled at Nathan’s truly original poems, told from various famed visionaries of old, such as Salvador Dali and Virginia Woolf, and were alternately speechless and laughing at Sinclair’s excerpt from “Coffee Will Make You Black,” centered around an 11 year-old girls’ question to her mother: “Mama, are you a virgin?” Though Batey thought Nathan’s “handiwork” with the microphone might be something she could bring home to the bedroom, Sinclair took the round.
Finalists had one minute to cleverly finish the lines, “Yo’ Mama’s so fat”... “so skinny” …and “so medium.” We’re pretty sure it was Sinclair’s “Yo’ Mama’s so skinny, she makes Lindsey Lohan want to call up Jenny Craig” that won the crowd, and the LDM championship.