Which Local Leader Has a Future in Comedy? You Decide

Here's what happens when leaders of Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township poke fun at one another.

The annual Community Outlook Luncheon sponsored by the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce is an opportunity for the community to hear all of the good things about the area in which they live.

It's also a chance for local leaders to show off their comedic flair.

Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett, Rochester Mayor Stuart Bikson and Oakland Township Supervisor Terry Gonser took their 15 minutes at the podium Wednesday afternoon to spread the economic tidings of their communities.

Along the way, they took a few shots at one another.

Here are some excerpts of the comic relief. 

For more about the luncheon, read

Magic Mayor

Rochester Hills City Councilman Michael Webber introduced Barnett by mentioning he had "recently finished second in a Tatum Channing look-alike contest." (Actor Channing was propelled to fame as stripper "Magic Mike" in the movie of the same name last year.)

Barnett's address then ended with a 30-second video that hinted at the mayor undressing, presumably for a Magic-Mike-style performance. The video, Barnett said, was a teaser for his upcoming State of the City Address next month.

But it was Gonser, whose speech followed Barnett's, who got the unexpected last laugh.

"Have you ever noticed that people who want to go naked shouldn't?" Gonser asked.

Rochester vs. the Hills

It's a Community Outlook Luncheon tradition: Bikson comparing himself with Barnett in a "city vs. city" format. 

"We spent last year fixing downtown," Bikson said about Rochester's Main Street Makeover. "They spent the last two years fixing the bridge to nowhere." (That's a reference to the rebuilding of the Avon Bridge in Rochester Hills.)

Bikson also contrasted Rochester's Big, Bright Light Show with the city of Rochester Hills' holiday celebration, which he said was a "small Christmas tree inside the window at Taco Bell." 

Bikson then praised his downtown as the greatest, while calling his neighboring city's downtown "two Rite Aids and a strip mall."

The engineer speaks

Gonser was the last to speak and admitted he had a tough few acts to follow. This was his first time giving a Community Outlook address.

"You're about to see the difference between a politician and an engineer," he said. The audience laughed, then listened as Gonser gave a serious snapshot of his township and his accomplishments so far in office. 


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