A group from Washington D.C. actually TRYING to make us laugh

February 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Instead of watching the Nevada caucus results on CNN this weekend, why not laugh at Obama singing or Gingrich dancing ballet? The Capitol Steps last visited Anchorage just after the Presidential Inauguration in 2009. This time, their visit comes as we gear up for the pinnacle of the intense Primary season and playing at the Atwood for two shows this Friday and Saturday.

So what makes the group so popular, especially during election season? “The world’s going crazy, you’ve gotta laugh,” said Elaina Newport in a recent interview with the Juneau Empire. Newport is one of the co-founders of the group and a co-author of the material the group performs on stage. So basically, when political news becomes excruciating, that is exactly when people need to laugh the most. And politicians are a ripe target.

“People like to see the high and mighty taken down a peg,” she said. “They need a laugh; otherwise you can just get depressed watching the news.”

The Capitol Steps were created in December 1981 when some staffers for Senator Charles Percy were planning entertainment for a Christmas party. Their first idea was “to stage a nativity play, but in the whole Congress they couldn’t find three wise men or a virgin.” (Yuk yuk.) So, they decided to dig into the headlines of the day, and they created song parodies & skits which conveyed a special brand of satirical humor.

And although it’s no longer a per-requisite for the current members of the Steps to be former Capitol Hill staffers, taken together the performers have worked in a total of eighteen Congressional offices and represent 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience.

The Capitol Steps “watch political races hoping for the best outcome for comedians, not necessarily what’s best for America,” Newport said with a laugh. Many of her hopes for material in 2012 and beyond have already been dashed, with the ideal comedy ticket of Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann both bowing out of the GOP presidential primaries, along with Rick Perry. The name Perry, Newport points out, “is a name that rhymes with a lot.”

Newport said the show is kept on a PG-13 cleanliness level, sans four-letter words but with some references to scandals that might turn someone a pale shade of blue. “We’re as clean as the politicians,” Newport quipped.

Have you seen the Capitol Steps before? What’s your favorite song/skit? Should they come to Anchorage during the next Presidential election?

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