OA: ‘The Santa Class’ shows coming to Mesa

David Bartlett is known for his comedy, his ballooning, shown here as he makes a Santa head, and his clowning as Mr. Rainbow. Bartlett performs his one–man play “The Santa Class” twice this weekend at Mesa State College.

David Bartlett sucks on his finger, pokes it in a balloon, pinches the balloon, twirls it, loops it around, ties it here and there and voila. He has made intricate creations out of air and latex.

He doesn’t make balloon dogs that look like horses or balloon horses that look kinda like dogs. He’s a professional, who sometimes wears a multi-colored wig and overalls.

“I’m an adult,” he said. “I’m a clown, but I’m an adult.”

Bartlett is an actor, a clown, a world famous balloon artist and a singer. He’s a quadruple threat. But he’s hardly threatening.

The jolly man also goes by the name Mr. Rainbow. But this story isn’t about clowns.

This story is about Bartlett playing a man who once played a Santa who teaches other people to play a Santa too, sort of.

Bartlett is coming to Grand Junction to perform his one-man play called “The Santa Class,” with two performances at Mesa State College’s Experimental Theater at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, and 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6.

Bartlett said the idea for “The Santa Class” hit him in a flash of creativity.

The concept for the 95-minute play, is that everyone in the audience is actually attending a class on how to be a mall Santa Claus. It’s about what Christmas looks like from the point of view of the guys behind the beards, Bartlett said.

He talks about Santa, the real meaning of Christmas and childhood memories.

The play will make the audience “laugh and laugh and laugh and make them cry and then
make them laugh again,” he said.

“It just brings on all the good, warm feelings.”

The play isn’t for children who still believe there’s only one Santa and he lives at the North Pole.

Bartlett’s business is laughter and making people feel good.

In 1983 in North Carolina, Bartlett taught Grand Junction psychiatrist Bob Sammons how to make balloon animals while Sammons was a medical student. The men have been friends ever since, and Sammons still makes balloon creations for his patients.

It was Sammons who forced Bartlett to film his first ballooning how-to video. Now Bartlett has more than 20 DVDs. Titles include “Cartoonie Balloonies,” “Return of the Bubble People” and “Rainbow Goulash.”

“David is one of the funniest guys I know and you can’t listen to him with a full bladder,” Sammons said.

It’s the new comical Christmas CD “Jest in Time for Christmas,” featuring Bartlett and his friend Myke Hutchings, that really brings on the laughs.

Bartlett will sign copies of “Jest in Time for Christmas” from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 6, at Traders Coffee and Tea, 666 Patterson Road.

The duo, who go by the names Balderdash and Humbug, put their own spin on Christmas classics by singing “Beginning to Look a lot like Santa,” (Sammons’ personal favorite) and “Bella Gusta Santa Claus” set to the tune of “That’s Amore.”

Preview and buy the CD online at http://www.myspace.com/balderdashandhumbug or go to the CD signing.


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