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John Lamb, Published January 15 2011

Lamb: Slogan needs celebs

I don’t want to tell people how to do their jobs – but here’s what I would do with those “… downtown, baby!” commercials.

For those of you who haven’t seen them, these are the locally produced spots that started in December, highlighting the finer points of, you guessed it, downtown Fargo.

The phrase is supposed to be the answer to all questions worth asking about Fargo’s cultural center. As in, “Where can I go some Saturday night in January, stumble from bar to bar wearing only an Ed Hardy T-shirt and low-hanging jeans while yelling at girls in tankinis, hoochie shorts and stiletto heels?”

“Downtown, baby!”

(What’s particularly odd about these commercials is the surprising amount of the declarations that seem to be dripping in Southern twang, including jazz pianist Simon Rowe, who comes from even farther south, as in “The Land Down Under.”)

The feedback to those commercials has been pointedly mixed. So how could they be better? By incorporating the only people the uninformed public really listens to – celebrities.

I understand having Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker capping off the litany of colorful characters giving enthusiastic endorsements, but Denny’s a bit of a downer, mumbling his one line with little interest.

So who should they get to rave on about Broadway?

Comedian/actor/writer Patton Oswalt was glowing about being in Fargo, and particularly Broadway, during his two days in town this week. (Though, he didn’t have such fond things to say about the Barnes & Noble bathroom.)

The really entertaining thing about Oswalt’s Wednesday night show at the Fargo Theatre was how much he genuinely liked being in Fargo. He talked at great lengths with crowd members who were DJs at the Northern and discussed stopping at Paradox Comics. He even bought some fans lunch at the HoDo. Since the powers that be would like to believe everyone would have that reaction to Fargo-Moorhead, why don’t they tape enthusiastic celebrity endorsements? We already know Denny likes downtown Fargo – he saves it from floods every year.

Hey, Josh Duhamel and Fergilisuspicious, where are you going to escape TMZ and model fashionable winter wear?

Downtown Fargo, baby!

Ty Pennington, where will you belly up when the cameras turn off?

Downtown, baby!

Patton Oswalt, where will you get your comic fix?

Downtown, nerd!

Yo, Ronnie from “Jersey Shore,” where are you going to get your GTL (gym, tan, laundry) on when you come to town on Jan. 28?

Downtown, Guido!

Lemmy! Where are you going to get your hair done when your metal band Motörhead comes to The Venue at The Hub on Feb. 13?

Downtown, #%@!

OK, maybe don’t ask Lemmy. He’s as hard to understand as Denny.


Readers can reach Forum columnist John Lamb at (701) 241-5533