Sheila Dixon: Ready to roast?
(Sun file photo)

The purloined gift cards. The fur coats. The bicycling tours of the city with staffers.  And, of course, the famous shoe incident.

Former mayor Sheila Dixon's tenure in City Hall is ripe with material for comedians.  On Thursday, seven comics and local media personalities will be poking fun of  Dixon -- to her face-- at a "Roast and Toast" at the Baltimore Comedy Factory.

Why would Dixon, who resigned in 2010 as part of a plea deal to settle criminal charges, agree to a such a thing?  Is this the opening salvo in the 2016 mayoral campaign?

 "This has nothing to do with politics," Dixon said in an interview. "I'm doing this roast to support one of the nonprofits I was working with when I was doing my community service hours. Young people are very important to me."

Dixon said that she did not declare any topics off limits and hasn't spoken with the comedians who will perform.  The roast will be good for her, she said.

 "One of the key things to keeping a healthy lifestyle is laughter," she said.

 Dixon said agreed to the event after some initial hesitation.

 "Of course I was like, 'Oh I don't know about this,' but then I said, 'Yes,'" she said. "They're a good group of girls who have challenges and I'll put myself out there for them."

Part of the proceeds from the roast will be donated to Agape House, a West Baltimore shelter and community aid center, that offers mentoring to young women.  Dixon offered guidance to the girls as part of her court-ordered community service.

The Sun's own Peter Schmuck will host the event, and the roasters include radio host Marc Steiner, comedians Miss Maybelle and Chris Thomas and former City Council candidate (and current college student) Devon Brown.

Dixon's foibles have already amused national audiences. 

Jay Leno picked up Dixon's story soon after her 2009 conviction on embezzlement charges. 

"I love this story," Leno said in his monologue. "The mayor of Baltimore, a woman named Sheila Dixon, found guilty this week of embezzlement. The mayor! The mayor! Embezzlement for spending $1,000 worth of gift cards intended for the homeless on herself. The mayor took a $500 Best Buy card and $500 Target gift card - took the money from the poor - and spent it on herself."

"She said it was an honest mistake: She said she just thought it was a bribe."

The roast starts at 8 p.m. A VIP reception begins at 7 p.m. Tickets to the show are $35 and the VIP party is $55.