Pardon the Pundit pokes fun at politicians
By: Patrick Gavin
February 28, 2012 10:26 PM EST
For those who think that political punditry can be, well, laughable at times, you’re in luck: There’s a new comedy troupe that has people just like you in mind.
Pardon the Pundit, a year-old satirical website that pokes fun at the ways of Washington, is taking its brand of satire around town for a series of comedy events (or, as they call them, “Comedy Caucuses”). With a rotating cast of roughly six stand-up comics, the group put in two nights recently, performing at the Harman Center for the Arts. POLITICO caught up with two of them, Alyson Chadwick and Andrew Heaton, for an interview about their project.
“Being in Washington, D.C., we’re at the epicenter of American politics. It just seemed like we needed this,” Chadwick said. “Political satire belongs in Washington.”
“Our politicians are the only type of vocation in America where you have to deny that you actually are that vocation,” said Heaton. “An electrician would never go into your house and tell you, ‘I’m not a career electrician. I don’t know how to do wiring.’ You would immediately kick them out of your house. But that’s usually what the people in Congress are doing.”
Chadwick has a résumé thick on politics, having worked for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (who Chadwick says is funny, in case you were wondering), Rep. Joe Sestak (not funny) and John Edwards (at this point, she doesn’t want to see him at any of Pardon the Pundit’s shows). To prove her street cred, she even has a donkey tattoo on her backside.
“The GOP candidates make the ‘Jersey Shore’ cast look like intellectuals,” she jokes.
Don’t tell that to Heaton, however. He also has worked on the Hill, but perhaps his most unique contribution to the Pardon the Pundit comedy company is less his experience in politics and more his politics views.
“I’m going to be there as the token conservative,” said Heaton, who’s not above ribbing the current GOP field. “I’m also a science-fiction fan, so it’s hard for me to choose between Mitt Romney, who’s probably an android, and Gingrich, who wants to build a moon base.”
For Heaton, the challenge of making conservatism funny in Washington is a Catch-22. On the positive side, Washington audiences are more up to speed on current events (“If I’m somewhere else in the country and I’m making political jokes, I can make jokes about how Republicans dance like this and Democrats dance like that, but here, I can make fun of Ted Poe, the judge, saying whatever and people might actually know what I’m talking about”). The downside for him, of course, is that it’s a heavily Democratic town.
Here’s one joke from Heaton’s stand-up act: “Gay marriage: Go for it. Every gay man is less competition for me and higher property values for you. Really, it’s a conservative agenda we can all get behind.”
Heaton knows why conservative comedy is a challenge. “I think it’s because Republicans tend to have a proclivity for respecting and holding things in reverence, which is antithetical to comedy.”
But for the Pardon the Pundit comics, the aim is for partisanship to take a back seat to parody. Jeff Mauer, another member of Pardon the Pundit, did this riff recently on D.C.’s architecture.
“I like the white marble, Greco-Roman theme to the buildings. And what I like about it is that we chose that architectural style like 200 years ago. And think about it: We weren’t a world power 200 years ago. We’re a tiny country full of farmers and traders. But what style did we go with for our capital? We went with Roman F**king Empire! That is balls, out everyone. That’s like, ‘How do you want to decorate your studio apartment?’ ‘I want a chandelier and marble fountains! I want two gold lions guarding the futon!’”
“We really do need to laugh more in this city,” Chadwick said.
Heaton agrees, albeit with a more conservative approach.
“We need to laugh more and drink less.”
© 2013 POLITICO LLC