Opie and Anthony bring their tour to Mohegan Sun
For more than 10 years, Gregg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia have been in the middle of the fight concerning indecency.
As hosts of "The Opie and Anthony Show," the two have earned a reputation for entertaining and offending listeners with their edgy content.
Now, Hughes and Cumia are taking their show on the road with the second annual Traveling Virus Tour. The tour will be making a stop Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
The show will feature many of the comedians who appear regularly on the radio show, providing fans with a marathon of stand-up comedy.
"We kind of wanted to do a polished event finally," Hughes said in a phone interview. He and Cumia hosted a similar tour last year, and it was so successful they were able to book twice as many shows this year.
Longtime fans now have the chance to see many of the comedians they have heard through the years.
"If we're going to put our name on the tour, we want comedians who have worked with the show," Hughes said. "We look for guys that can go with the flow in the studio."
Thus, comedians who visit the show must be willing to toe the line of decency standards, and sometimes even cross it.
A checkered past
Hughes and Cumia have had a few clashes with station executives, community groups and even the Federal Communications Commission during the last decade. Their show started in Boston in the mid-1990s, when Cumia was a frequent guest on Hughes' radio show on WBAB (102.3 FM). The two soon formed a show, but eventually moved to WAAF (107.3 FM), also in Boston, for a better time slot.
While at the station, the duo had a "100 Grand" giveaway, where a surprised listener received a candy bar instead of $100,000. They also reported as an April Fools joke in 1998 the death of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. WAAF fired Hughes and Cumia later that month in response to that incident.
But Hughes and Cumia were back on the air in less than two months, this time at WNEW (102.7 FM) in New York. They were fired four years later after a contest in which a couple had sex in a church to win concert tickets.
They returned to the airwaves again in October 2004, when they brought their show to XM Satellite Radio. In 2006, they began a simulcast of the show on terrestrial radio.
Along the way, many comedians - including Stephen Lynch, Jim Norton and Bob Saget - have made regular appearances on the show. They will be among the nine comedians performing Saturday.
"Opie and Anthony's show includes a roster of very funny comics - several of whom are regulars at Mohegan Sun's Late Night Comedy series in The Cabaret Theater," said Laurie DiOrio, director of music and variety at Mohegan Sun. "We're proud and pleased that they've been included in this national tour, and audiences should keep in mind that their offbeat humor is intended for adult audiences."
A tour de force
"Opie and Anthony have been instrumental in creating a tremendous fan base for the comedians on their show and comedy in general," said Matt Frost, talent agent at the Paradigm agency and co-booker for the Cabaret Theater at Mohegan Sun. "It's a great outlet for these comics to expand their fan base to a nationwide audience."
The shows on the Traveling Virus Tour can easily last longer than three hours because of all the comedians involved. And the fans have helped turn the comedy event into an experience few other comedy tours can rival.
"It's more like a rock show than a comedy show," Cumia said.
Fans even get to shows early to tailgate, and the tour includes additional festivities because most shows are at outdoor venues. But Mohegan Sun cannot host many of the extra attractions, so Hughes and Cumia will broadcast live Friday morning from the Wolf Den.
IF YOU GO
What: Opie and Anthony present the Traveling Virus Tour.
Comics featured: Bob Saget, Rich Vos, Jim Norton, Stephen Lynch, Patrice O'Neal, Bob Kelly, Frank Caliendo, Louis C.K., Otto and George.
When: 7 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville.
Cost: Tickets are $45 and $65.
Warning: Show contains adult content.
"The Opie and Anthony Show" will be broadcast live from the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday.
For more information, visit www.mohegansun.com
Real names: Gregg Hughes and Anthony Cumia.
Ages: Hughes is 44, Cumia is 46.
Career highlights: Began "Opie and Anthony" in March 1995; fired in 1998 after false report of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino's death; signed syndication deal in 2001 to be heard in 22 metropolitan areas nationwide; produced show for XM Satellite Radio in October 2004.
Michael Savino writes for the Norwich (Conn.) Bulletin.