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The Secret Word Is Chris Evert, as the Women Pros Gather for a Few—very Few—laughs

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Who says Chris Evert doesn’t have a sense of humor? For starters, maybe her fellow-travelers on the Virginia Slims Women’s Tennis Circuit. As a purveyor of Marxist one-liners in a private revue staged by the women pros, her performance was something this side of broad comedy—with the laff-riot quotient of, say, George Fenneman. Appropriately, it happened in Philadelphia.

“Those who feel our forte is only on the tennis court,” rhymed Chris, “would have been astounded to see such raw talent.” Raw was the word. A kazoo band featuring Rosie Casals (at left, with a mustachioed Evert) and Martina Navratilova brought the crowd to their seats with a knee-buckling rendition of Oklahoma. Game, but overmatched, Françoise Durr and Betty Stove essayed a can-can, followed by a number from Swan Lake which, in the interests of accuracy, was retitled “The Duck Pond.”

Evert came on between the acts to rate the performers and provide comic relief. Rolaids might have done as well. “You people, you lack enthusiasm,” she said to the kazooists. “Now go and practice.” Physician heal thyself, they might have said in turn, but never mind. Seven days later—was it the result of her sedative effect on fellow competitors?—Evert won the Virginia Slims championship for the fourth time in six years.