There’s nothing like a presidential race to remind us that politics can be laughably absurd and downright depressing at the same time. However polarized, voters across the spectrum can likely agree on the fact that this year’s campaign has reached new heights – or depths – of inspiration to smack ourselves in the forehead with disbelief that things can get this weird in good ol’ America.
We can also fairly assume that the 2016 election will provide satirists ample material for years to come – which is nice, but first we have to get through the next week. If you’re feeling the need for an injection of humor to help carry you over until some semblance of normality reasserts itself, you have two great choices coming up at the Bardavon, one just before and one a little after Election Day:
First, this Sunday, November 6, the Capitol Steps will be back, and no candidate will be safe from being lampooned in Broadway-worthy song-and-dance format. You know the origin story: A bunch of Senate staffers got together back in 1981 to plan some entertainment for an office Christmas party, and quickly discovered that Capitol Hill was loaded with wannabe singers, songwriters and actors on both sides of the aisle who had settled for more “practical” career paths in politics. Their access to inside info on the grisly process of cranking out legislative sausage proved a gold mine for musical satire, and they haven’t slacked since.
Although not all of the current members of the Steps are former Capitol Hill staffers, taken together the performers have worked in a total of 18 Congressional offices and represent 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience. You’ve heard them on NPR, you’ve seen them on TV; maybe you’ve even bought one of their 30+ records. Isn’t it high time you saw them perform live? They’re probably gleefully dusting off some of their old numbers about the infinitely mockable Anthony Wiener, as we speak.
The Capitol Steps take the stage at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House at 7 p.m. on November 6. Tickets for this show cost $45 general admission, $40 for Bardavon members. You can purchase them at the Bardavon box office at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie, (845) 473-2072; at the Ulster Performing Arts Center box office at 601 Broadway in Kingston, (845) 339-6088; or via Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com. Visit www.bardavon.org for more details.
Or maybe you’d rather wait until we know the outcomes of the election and the dust has somewhat settled. Maybe next weekend you’ll be able to manage a rueful smile – especially if provoked by Andy Borowitz, whose humor pieces in The New Yorker have provided some of the most consistently amusing diversions available throughout this long campaign. The deadpan headlines of his “Borowitz Report” essays – like last week’s “Queen Offers to Restore British Rule over US” – are the sort of clickbait that makes the Internet prowler do a double-take, because they are so barely-over-the-edge ridiculous that in this election year, they just might be true.
Borowitz’s post-election show at the Bardavon on Friday, November 11, will provide some sharp, slightly warped perspective on the bizarre experience that we’ve all undergone, publicly and collectively, over the past year, and perhaps some tonic ways of looking forward. It will also generate always-needed income for WAMC Northeast Public Radio. These fundraiser shows usually sell out during the station’s fall fund drive, but they reached their goal too soon for all the seats to be claimed on-air. That means that you still have a chance to secure yours, by making a donation online at http://wamcpledge.wamc.org. A contribution of $125 gets you a pair of tickets to the Andy Borowitz show, which begins at 7 p.m. on November 11. For more info about this event, visit http://bit.ly/2ejRo5W.