The Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans is a cavalcade of inscrutable traditions, the most confounding of which might be the casting of a celebrity in the role of King of Bacchus. Every year, beginning with Danny Kaye in 1969, a different male celebrity has been chosen to portray the generously bejeweled Bacchus, who rides atop an elaborate float in the Mardi Gras parade. Apparently, the only qualifications necessary to receive this honor is that you be both vaguely famous and perfectly willing to look goofy as hell in a Halloween store king costume. This morning, Dave Weigel of The Washington Post directed us to an existing gallery of previous Bacchuses, the likes of whom are simultaneously hilarious, perplexing, and haunting. Enjoy.
Like all of us, Mardi Gras seems to have had its good years and its bad. For every leather duster-wearing Nicolas Cage there is an overly-serious Jim Belushi. For every hilariously horned-up Jon Lovitz there is a purplish, grotesque Hulk Hogan. We don’t know how the Krewe of Bacchus decides who their king will be, or how they jumped from Will Ferrell to G.W. Bailey to Hugh Laurie in the span of three years, but we know that at some point in the mid-2000s they were really into The Lord Of The Rings.
This year’s Bacchus has yet to be added to the gallery, but it was Jensen Ackles from the soon-to-be-ending Supernatural. Again, we’re not sure what process results in following Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons with the guy from the silly CW show, but it probably involves opening up Deadline and randomly clicking a name.
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