Scandals, Gaffes and Smear Ads Provide Humor Despite Serious Election Stakes
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STEPHEN COLBERT, Host, “The Colbert Report”: Only eight days until the midterm elections, or, as most Americans call it, next Tuesday.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, “next Tuesday” is finally upon us, the close of an election season that’s seen more than its fair share of mudslinging, name- calling, and negative campaigning.
“CAPITOL STEPS” PERFORMER: … got to get set for the fall elections. Will we change course? Will we stay the same?
JEFFREY BROWN: But for the nation’s comedy writers on stage and screen, all the negatives added up to a net positive.
“CAPITOL STEPS” PERFORMER: Democrats wish they had some direction; Republicans hope they can spread the blame.
JEFFREY BROWN: The Washington-based “Capitol Steps” satirical revue has spent the last 25 years mining the political mud for comedic gold.
“CAPITOL STEPS” PERFORMER: He is George Allen. He’s from Virginia. Though he has California roots, he likes wearing cowboy boots.
“CAPITOL STEPS” PERFORMER: To my shock-a, I said “macaca,” and now I have stepped in some ca-ca.
JEFFREY BROWN: The group's co-founder, Bill Strauss, is known for his so-called "lirty dies," spoonerisms where the letters of words are flipped, but the meanings somehow strike a deeper chord.
BILL STRAUSS, Co-Founder, "Capitol Steps": Yes, those zed-roners could get their whannies fipped by the zoo-bloners. Cow hum? Because of that ex-cember of Mongress, that radle-crobber, Fark Moley.
Fark Moley, slut a weazeball!
JEFFREY BROWN: Indeed, the Mark Foley scandal has been the gift that kept on giving.
JAY LENO, Host, "The Tonight Show": Former Congressman Mark Foley -- I love this story -- he's decided to remain in rehab, even though his 30-day treatment ended last Tuesday.
Apparently, phony alcoholism is the trickiest type of alcoholism to treat.
JEFFREY BROWN: Then there was John Kerry, who perhaps should have left the joke-telling to the professionals.
DAVID LETTERMAN, Host, "The Late Show": He's now walking around saying that he botched the joke. He was trying to tell a joke about Bush. I'm telling you, this guy can lose elections he's not even in!
JAY LENO: I guess you all heard about the reaction today, right? You know about that? Yes, pretty gruesome. Apparently, a number of Republicans running from George Bush collided with a bunch of Democrats running from John Kerry, and there was just carnage everywhere.
SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), Pennsylvania: I'm Rick Santorum, and I approve this message.
JEFFREY BROWN: Some politicians were able to generate laughs with ads that themselves poked fun at the negativity in evidence everywhere.
In Connecticut, Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont targeted himself.
TV AD NARRATOR: Meet Ned Lamont. He can't make a decent cup of coffee.
JEFFREY BROWN: Kinky Friedman, a country-western singer, writer, and Texas gubernatorial candidate, had his alter-ego answer questions.
JOURNALIST IN TV AD: Kinky, has Texas become too politically correct?
KINKY FRIEDMAN DOLL: Hell, yes, and I'm going to de-wussify Texas if I got to do it one wuss at a time.
JEFFREY BROWN: There was also, of course, the Internet. After a Tennessee ad aimed at Democrat Harold Ford and funded by the Republican National Committee stirred a lot controversy...
WOMAN: Harold, call me.
JEFFREY BROWN: ... two Los Angeles-based screenwriters produced a satire that was widely viewed on the popular video Web site YouTube.
ACTRESS: I met him at the Playboy party, and he spent the entire time talking to my little brother.
ACTOR: I met him a year ago when I was interviewing for the page program. He took a real interest in me.
ACTOR: I mean, why don't we just use Michael J. Fox's stem cells?
TV AD NARRATOR: This satirical ad inspired entirely by the hypocrisy of the Republican Party.
ACTOR: Congressman, call me.
JEFFREY BROWN: All in all then, it's been a brutal -- and, at times, brutally funny -- campaign. But as the pundits keep reminding us, the stakes are unusually high. Just ask Bill Strauss of the "Capitol Steps."
BILL STRAUSS: The storal of my mory is this: If the POG wants to peep its kower, it better keep it wean as a clistle, keep the bowsers truckled, keep that fud off their maces, or else those cremodats are going to have a dong overlue, lorious glandslide.