ARBOR, Mich. -- It's appropriate that the Fourth of July
be dedicated to celebrating the finest of America's pastimes.
This past Wednesday night, one of those celebrated pastimes was
highlighted on stage at Ann Arbor's Power Center: satirizing the
hell out of and back into American politics. At 8:00 p.m.; political
humor group the Capitol Steps lit off an hour and half's worth
of fireworks that the major government leaders and issues of the
of vignettes and monologues were performed by five Steps members
and one piano accompanist in the spirit of spoofing all the primary
figures, as well as giving regards to more generic aspects of
American government in recent scandals and issues. Almost all
of these sketches, however, took a "Weird Al" path in
covering current events in song.
on, a caricature of President Barack Obama would appear to signify
the anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death with a post-mortem
yet biting version of "Under the Sea:" "He'll swim
with sturgeons instead of virgins under the sea!" Next up,
a pair of ex-Secret Service agents lamented the whole Columbian
prostitution debacle to the tune of Johnny Rivers' "Secret
Agent Man," mentioning that "To pay with Groupon was
would go global quickly, with a visit from German Chancellor Angela
Merkel and fellow European Union leaders who mixed a reinterpretation
of a musical classic to coincide with the latest continental crisis,
which they called "Greece!" By the time they voiced
they frustrations over these "Summer Days," they would
go so far as to suggest that China should pull off a rescue: "They
could give Greece a good start... they could build... a Great
and skits would continue, with additional pieces from "I'm
Just a Bill" to the Eagles' "Lying Eyes" thrown
in to keep the theme going alongside more spoofs like Mitt Romney,
Herman Cain and Joe Biden. Even Obama would return to go total
Topol on us all with the following proposal: "If I taxed
each rich man..."
gauntlet for mockery couldn't be thrown down harder than when
George W. Bush himself popped in. "I went to a zoo. A monkey
threw me a cupcake," he reflected. "Tasted like crap."
From there, a loving duet with Texas Governor Rick Perry lead
to the following inquiry: "If you finish that book, will
you color one for me?"
there would a sappy rendition of "Hotel California"
over Arizona's immigration laws that ended with a nice twist,
but the standalone performance of the evening came from a play-it-cool
private eye named Hugh Jim Becile (you can still pronounce it
if you want). When assigned to check on the Occupy Wall Street
protests, Mr. Becile recalled, "I caught the first flight
from JFK to Laguardia," with stops at Chicago, St. Louis,
and other locations. "The stench was so bad you had to go
down down into the subway for... fresh air," he added about
his arrival at the scene. Such predicaments, however, wouldn't
stop him from taking followup assignments, he promised. "Someone
was drilling holes into the dressing room at Victoria's Secret.
I decided to take a look."
number was a spoof on Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire,"
but the real finale for its dynamism was a prior marathon of spoonerisms.
Merely trying to remember the overflow of fantastic letter swaps
couldn't find room here, but if the entire tour de force sketch
could be summed up by one line, it's this: "Poopid Stoliticians.
Butt could be wetter?" Coming away from that performance,
there was brilliance and awkwardness present, but it helps show
that these political comics know how to make the most crucial
of subjects highlighted with jest. As one quip about an Alaskan
governor put it: "Para Salin? Sounds like something you'd
do at the beach. Wait..."
The Capitol Steps deliver lots of laughs at the Power Center