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Group puts 'mock' in democracy

November 15, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

FREDERICK, Md. - Capitol Steps will portray another side of Vice President Dick Cheney - Cheney the rap artist.

He will perform the song "I Like Big Cuts."

The D.C.-based comedy troupe also will have a take on North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il doing show tunes. Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani will sing a Led Zeppelin song.

Capitol Steps, which claims to have put "the 'mock' in democracy," will bring its brand of political humor to Weinberg Center for the Arts on Saturday.

Producer and founding member Elaina Newport said members of the troupe have spent time on Capitol Hill, some working for Republicans, others working for Democrats. There's no favoritism to a particular party.

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As of late, Republicans have taken many jabs.

"The office in power tends to be the most funny," Newport said.

But the Democrats have been the butt of many jokes. Newport called Bill Clinton's presidency as the "golden age of political satire."

Bush's presidency, on the other hand, has generated much more serious headlines.

"That makes our job a little harder, but I think that makes our job a little more important - getting people to laugh in the midst of all those serious headlines," Newport said.

Hurricane Katrina is an example of a very unfunny issue, Newport said. But the federal government's bungling after the disaster is fair game, Newport said.

Of all the presidential candidates, Newport said Hillary Clinton provides the most comedic material.

She also is a Clinton, which Newport said makes her a target by default.

Capitol Steps formed in 1981, poking fun at the Reagan administration and the novelty of a president who went from showbiz to politics, Newport said.

And the troupe has changed its act with the times.

Much like TV's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Capitol Steps' show relies on current events. When news hits - like the airport sex scandal involving U.S. Sen. Larry Craig or when Pluto's planetary status was revoked - they've got to include it, sometimes on a day or two's notice, Newport said.

"If a senator's tapping his foot in a bathroom, you've got to write about it," Newport said.

That meant the prop designer had to come up with a portable toilet on the fly. "And we had to be able to check it at the airport," Newport said.

As for the top three most spoofable political stories of all time, Newport said they are as follows:

"Monica Lewinksy keeps "the dress";

"Dan Quayle spells potato with an 'e'";

"Cheney shoots fellow hunter," an incident in which, at least in Capitol Steps' conception, prompted President Bush to say, "Some people say he shouldn't have done it, but those are just people who hate freedom," Newport said.




If you go ...



WHAT: Capitol Steps, political comedy on stage

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17

WHERE: Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St., Frederick, Md.

COST: Tickets cost $20, $25 and $30.

MORE: For tickets call 301-600-2828, or go to www.weinbergcenter.org. Go to www.capsteps.com.

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