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Viva la Diller

Published Sep. 28, 2005

The headliner in Lido la Tournee is none other than Phyllis Diller, still going strong at 83. "I'm looking better than ever," Diller said in her familiar honk over the phone. "I've got a new hip, a pacemaker. I'm nothing but spare parts."

The Lido show seeks to emulate a night in the famous Parisian nightclub, complete with topless chorus girls. Also featured is another staple of TV variety shows from the 1960s, Tony Sandler, who used to be part of the duo Sandler and Young. He does a Maurice Chevalier number.

"I'll be doing my thing, telling jokes, baby," said Diller, who replaced Eartha Kitt in the show. Kitt dropped out when she landed a part in the musical Cinderella.

"I don't care how I got the job, I'm just glad to have it," said Diller, who continues to perform her comedy act, mainly in casino shows. "I've never stopped working. I don't think you can name a town in the United States I haven't played."

Lido la Tournee is performed at 8 p.m. Friday at Mahaffey Theater. Tickets: $45-$65. (727) 892-5767. It moves to Van Wezel Hall in Sarasota for shows at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $45-$60. (800) 826-9303.

_ JOHN FLEMING, Times performing arts critic