SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - “Once you see the breath, when you wake up in the morning, you see your breath in the air when you're going to work, then the only thing on your mind is January 1st!”
Tom Kelhower and Tom Kee are counting down the days to the Mummers Parade. They're with the Riverfront Wench brigade, going for a record three wins in a row. But preparation this year? It's been different.
“That's one of the toughest decisions I think we have to make this year, is our makeup, I really do. So that we don't offend anybody,” Kelhower said.
Their theme is horse racing's Triple Crown, the costumes coming together. The starting gates already built.
“Wwe're doing a jockey theme. It's been brought up to use mud. Jockeys get the mud on their face. You gotta use a brown. They're asking us not to use brown makeup because it will offend someone.”
It follows last year's controversy, after a different brigade wore brown face and another mocked Caitlyn Jenner, from Wheaties Olympic hero to Froot Loops.
This year, all brigades had to submit the details of their performances, many went through sensitivity training, and all are encouraged to watch a series on online videos.
"What's entertaining and fun for one group may not ever be considered entertainment or fun to another group."
The Chairman of Love the Mummers says-- it's not about censorship or stifling creativity. It is about understanding the line between satire and being just plain offensive.
“When you're gonna make fun, and you're gonna do satire, you're gonna punch up, not punch down. So if you want to lampoon somebody, lampoon the powerful, and do it for the right reason.”
“When you're going to spoof Caitlyn Jenner, spoof Caitlyn Jenner because she's part of the Kardashian family, and expose their self to this kind of notoriety, and is a rightful subject of that type of ridicule. But not because, we don't want to target transgender people.”
“When they are given an opportunity to think it through, given the training, given the thoughtfulness, they're not gonna want to hurt people's feelings. They're gonna want to have fun.”