Last night’s Red Hot Riot was especially packed, content-wise. Belle Plaine was the house band, previewing a track off her new album, Notes from a Waitress. (It just so happens she’s also playing a release show for that album this Friday at the Artesian, which you can read all about in this Thursday’s prairie dog.) Julia and her Piano were the musical guest, dishing out four songs over the course of the evening. Two different local musicals opening this week — [title of show] at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and Cope at the Globe Shumiatcher Sandbox — previewed songs. Plus, there was all the comedy Regina’s come to expect from host Jayden Pfeifer and his gang in this monthly variety show.

But there was a little extra “oomph” added to last night’s addition in the form of the guest of honour, CBC news anchor Costa Maragos. He was entirely in his element, coming in with prepared bits for his interview with Pfeifer and generally hamming it up, to the ecstatic delight of everyone present. He knows how to work a crowd and obviously revels in being in front of one.

Without a doubt the greatest moment came when, during an anchor-off competition, Maragos finished his white wine and threw the glass to the ground, shattering it. What would have been a faux pas with many others was just another moment of greatness for the ever-charismatic and charming Maragos. The words “force of nature” come to mind.

As a side note, Pfeifer is really, really impressive. He’s been in front of a lot of audiences through his years as an improviser and has no doubt had the chance to tone his comedy muscles. If the last few months of Red Hot Riot are any indication, those muscles are fucking ripped now. The fresh monologue material he’s coming up with month after month is always dead on, and his instincts with the crowd are spot on.

The next Red Hot Riot on February 26 at the Artesian will have a different format; instead of the normal variety show, they’ll be setting up a screen to show the telecast of the Oscars, while the cast of the show goofs on the awards. Stay tuned to find out if the house band will be back to play off bits that run too long, Oscar acceptance speech-style.