Five Ways to Help the Mummers Not Suck

Mayor Jim Kenney says he wants the annual tradition to attract global visitors. First step: Arrest the people who pee on the street.

Photo by Howard Pitkow

Photo by Howard Pitkow

During the televised broadcast of this year’s Mummers Parade, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said that he wants the parade to go from the “regional attraction” that it is to something that brings in visitors from all over the world. Well, Mr. Mayor, you’ve got a lot of work to do, so we thought we’d help you out with these five suggestions.

1. Arrest the Street Pee-ers

Image courtesy David Snyder.

Image courtesy David Snyder.

The day after the Mummers Parade, most enlightened people in South Philly are talking about one thing: the scourge of people who decide to pee wherever they happen to be. In the above photo, a young woman is seen squatting over a curb in South Philadelphia on Sunday.

Here’s the video:

And over the years, we’ve seen plenty of people peeing on side streets in Center City in broad daylight, treating our city like it’s the 700 level at Veterans Stadium. Imagine you’ve flown the family all the way from Albuquerque only to have your kids see a guy unzip his fly and let loose all over Sansom Street. Disgusting.

2. Kill the Wenches and (Most of) the Comics

Photo by Howard Pitkow

Photo by Howard Pitkow

Let’s be honest: The only good Mummers are the string bands, the fancy brigades, and a couple of the comics. The rest just seem like a bunch of drunks who think that “choreography” has something to do with taking out the trash, cleaning your room, and unloading the dishwasher. This year, I didn’t even start my Mummers-watch party until after 1 p.m., just so that I didn’t have to subject my guests to these embarrassments. Maybe give them their own separate parade on Two Street.

3. Fire PHL 17

Mummers co-host Steve Highsmith in a PHL 17 screenshot.

Mummers co-host Steve Highsmith in a PHL 17 screenshot.

How is it that the city’s biggest and most important parade gets put together with the lamest television station around? I vote that we bring in 6 ABC’s Cecily Tynan and Rick Williams, who somehow manage to make our Thanksgiving Parade something worth watching.

4. More Poop

Mummers poop skit

Photo | Dan McQuade

In case you missed it, there was a big poop in this year’s parade, courtesy of the Rabble Rousers, a nontraditional, younger Mummers group that isn’t afraid of taking on such Philadelphia icons as Comcast and the Mummers themselves. (And when veteran Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky calls your act the “singular most tasteless thing I have seen in 40 years of parade watching,” I’d say you’re onto something.)

We need more groups like the Rabble Rousers and their compadres The Vaudevillains. More actual drag queens, instead of a bunch of guys who decide it’s fun to put on a dress for a day. And while we’re at it, we need more of the African-American step teams and drum corps. Not just because the parade needs to be more diverse — though that it does — but also because they’re so damn good, a refreshing breath of air in this stodgy old thing.

5. Hire Mariah Carey

OK, so maybe not Mariah Carey, but hire someone to come in and give a concert once the parade has ended in the late afternoon. After the last string band struts down the street, there’s really nothing to do in the city but go to Two Street, which isn’t for everybody — and it’s most certainly not for tourists. There needs to be some sort of entertainment that carries the event — and the tourists — into the night. Perhaps it’s time to get the Roots back on the phone? Another night of fireworks on the waterfront? A New Year’s Day Night Market?

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