Two Nuts and a Bolt: A Magnificent Obsession
Two Nuts and a Bolt
A Magnificent Obsession
by Jennifer LB Leese
Two Nuts and a Bolt are a musical comedy group performs in the eight-state area, but mostly locally - Greencastle to Hagerstown.
The 47-year married couple started performing at nursing homes in 1983. "We perform shows for a range of audiences from national conventions to small churches with only 15 people," said Russ Clever, originator of the show. Russ has enhanced the production of the Greencastle annual Hobo Minstrel Show by holding the position of one of the two Premiere End Men (singer, actor, & comedian).
Russ Clever is a retired counter manager from Johnny's Restaurant Supply in Chambersburg, and Dody is a retired general manager from Comfort Inn in Greencastle.
Dody Clever, writer/performer, has contributed to the success of the group not only on stage, but also by composing most of their on-stage material. Dody has held supporting roles in such classic favorites as "Annie Get Your Gun" and the musical version of Charles Dickens' "Scrooge".
In the beginning they were restricted to taking their act on the road to the occasional evening and weekends. Now, working full-time, the retired two regularly perform at banquets, nursing homes, group chapter meetings, large and small private and public parties, state and national conventions, civic clubs, and churches.
Dody and Russ aren't the only ones that make up Two Nuts and a Bolt; they have on-hand, five pianists who provide all the musical enhancement they need: Trevor Timmons, an organist/musical director of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Greencastle, Betty McCure, a former pastoral musician and music teacher at Corpus Christi School in Chambersburg, Lisa Bender, organist at the First United Methodist Church in Mercersburg, Annabelle Myers, pastoral musician for the United Methodist Church in Fort Loudon, and Janet Smedley, music instructor at St. Andrew School in Waynesboro.
Their shows are tailor-made. They can go from one frame of mind to another in a mater of an hour. "We have to sometimes. One such occasion is when we performed for the VFW one afternoon and performed later that evening at an Amish dinner party."
Two Nuts and a Bolt say they are "different" and always perform a "clean" show. "We don't have to be dirty to be funny," said Dody, speaking for the two who are disappointed in some comedians' material. "There's a difference in smut and risque," she said, giving a quick sugary smile to her husband Russ.
"We do not imitate anyone - Elvis, Minnie Pearl- nobody." They are original and proud to entertain for all age groups. "Eight to 80," said Russ. Providing three different kinds of shows, a good clean show, a middle of the road show, and a liberal show, the two are getting quite well known in the tri-state area.
Their kid's show is roughly 30 minutes long for ages 5-12, but the majority of their performances are for adults with an hour show.
Their act consists of stand-up comedy, sing-a-longs, Vaudeville skits, duet and solo performances, basically they put on an hour's worth of foolishness and down-right fun, but usually always end their show with a 3-minute patriotic "God and Country" skit. "Everyone loves God and County," said Russ.
"Audience participation is extremely important." Depending on where their performance is, they'll pull individuals up on stage. "Some things don't work, sometimes they do."
"We both love to make people laugh," said Russ. "We enjoy seeing them forget their troubles for a while."
"We like to see their faces when the lights come up," said Dody, grinning from ear to ear. "We prefer to see their faces."
When someone asks us to perform at a show, "we try not to say no to people. Sometimes we'll even adjust our fee to accommodate them." In it for the love of comedy and entertaining, Dody said, "We don't do it for the money." The musical group performs at several local charities throughout the year: Relay for Life in Greencastle, Rubber Duck (cancer awareness fundraiser), Heritage Christmas where they hand out candy, Old Home Week in Greencastle, and for Desert Storm in Mercersburg. "We try to do a lot of charity work," said Russ.
In all their years of entertaining experience, Dody said, "[We've found that] no audience is the same." Russ and Dody are sincere and they believe their audiences know this about them. "We do it all in fun. We don't embarrass anyone."
When asked how they see themselves, Dody said passing an astute glance at her husband, "We are not clowns. We are Hobos." ... "Clowns do slapstick, which we don't do unless it's for a kid's shows. We mainly enjoy making people laugh."
During the interview I witnessed just how well the two work together - the magic and the connection they share is inspiring. They are great storytellers who definitely feed off of one another.
Over the years they've certainly gathered some funny stories...
Russ shared a comical moment while dressed in stage-attire: "A lot of times they'll furnish us rooms [to change in], but one time in North Carolina, the place where we were staying wasn't that far from where we were performing, so we had all our garb when a North Caroling State Trooper pulled us over on a routine traffic stop. The trooper looked at me, stepped back a step or two and stared at us."
Dody said that sometimes they'll stop at convenience stores and forget that they have their make-up on. "One time we stopped for gas and people kept staring. The attendants looked worried like we were going to rob them or something."
The two laughed when they told me about the time they had to put their make-up on behind a U-Haul trailer in a stone-pile. "A lot of times we're given suites, living the high life...other times we're not so lucky."
Dody and Russ would like to thank their supporters who have sent thank you cards and sent praise through phone calls. "We do so appreciate it. We get to reminisce over the show with them. We have just as much, if not more, fun," said Dody. "It's always nice to find out that you've done a good job for somebody," she added.
If you'd like to attend one of their shows, Russ suggests giving them a call at 717-597-3815 or E-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out where they will be. *See "Upcoming Shows" below:
Dec.1- Retired Mack Truck employees "Golden Bull Dogs", Greencastle V.F.W. at 1pm
Dec.1- Faith U.M. Church, Savoy Restaurant, Waynesboro, PA at 7:30pm
Dec. 4- Morris Frock American Legion Auxiliary, Legion Home, Hagerstown, MD at 7:30pm
Dec. 8- Conewago Prep/Huntertown Ruritan, Gettysburg, PA at 2pm
Dec. 8- Upper Potomac Chapter of retired Naval Officers, Clarion Inn, Shepherdstown, WV at 8pm
Dec. 14- Christmas Banquet for Crider's Church, Greencastle, PA at 7pm