When I think back over the course of 2006, there wasn't a whole lot that was funny happening. The war in Iraq raged on, years after "Mission Accomplished," the economy wasn't so hot for everyday people like me, gas prices shot through the roof, North Korea has become nuclear, and now it looks like Iran is too.
So who better to reflect on 2006 than some of the best progressive comedians around? After all, if we can't find some levity in all of this, we might as well just pack it in. So, I presented some questions to some of the top progressive comedians around. They'll all be performing, by the way, in New York on December 30, as part of Laughing Liberally's end of year review. The night will also feature the comic stylings of none other than Congressman Charlie Rangel!
Back to the questions, though... And away we go!
If you were on Santa's lap, what would you ask for this year?
Katie Halper (channeling her inner Republican): "The chance to be his helper in fighting back against the War on Christmas."
Jim David: " Peace in the Middle East, Impeachment Hearings, War Crimes Tribunals, and a flat screen HDTV to watch it on."
James Adomian: "Less Christmas. After at least six weeks of brutally plastic cheer and glib commercial renditions of even the holiest nativity songs, it's time to prune this season back. When did we forget how to appreciate November as its own month?"
Lee Camp: "I would say "Santa, please stop participating in the War on Christmas. Hundreds of thousands have died needlessly, and not a single present of mass destruction has been found."
Who was the best political target for jokes this year and why?
Dean Obeidallah: "President Bush again for the 6th straight year. He is the undisputed world's champion. Why? I think it's pretty obvious."
Reno: "The entire Federal Govt. No impeachable offenses? What about Katrina? Extraordinary renditions, signing statements, Abu Graib, wiretapping, canceling Habeas Corpus, denying global warming. These are not leaders, these are frivolous featherweight quacks that are real good at blowjob impeachments, but serious responsible leadership is beyond their capabilities: "Hey, people, lighten up, don't be so serious." The "loyal opposition" is just that: loyal. To the opposition. They're like tour bus drivers pointing out the seats you've already been sitting in for 2 hours."
Jamie Jackson: "Dick Cheney - because he just won't die."
Adomian: "It is most cathartic to remember that the vortex of this Great National Nightmare is George W. Bush: a pretend emperor as false as "that man behind the curtain" in the Emerald City, a humbug of a cowboy, the son of the highest privilege whose vocabulary is so broken it might as well be feral."
What was the most important political development of 2006?
Halper: "I would have to say our continued victory in Iraq."
Reno: "Mary" Cheney's immaculate conception.
Jackson: "Bush Sr. crying in public. I mean, it's bad enough for the rest of us, but imagine knowing you're the guy's father."
Camp: " The most important political development was when Bush asked to meet with Jessica Simpson and she turned him down. I feel that was the turning point in the public's opinion of Bush because Jessica Simpson didn't even turn down the script to "Dukes of Hazzard"!! I think she was just afraid that the universe would explode if you get too much Stupid in one room at the same time. If Bush said "subliminable" at the same time Jessica said "Platamapus ," we'd all be dead!"
Adomian: "My backroom maneuvering to get my boss fired -- oh, national politics? OK. The election to the Senate of the new economic populist bloc: Sherrod Brown, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb and John Tester. The 17th Amendment of 1913 mandated that senators be chosen by the people, but apparently its implementation was delayed for 93 years while the robber barons wrapped up some of their more urgent business."
When you heard that Dick Cheney shot a dude in the face, what was your first reaction?
Obeidallah: " My first reaction was to wonder how would he blame the terrorists for this. Maybe he'd claim that he thought his friend was an insurgent. Turns out it was just that terrorist known as alcohol."
Reno: "I so wished Cheney had been hunting with a boomerang."
Adomian: "Why didn't Cheney simply choke him to death with his hate rays? Was he only sending a warning? We won't know the full story until the classified records of Cheney's vice-presidency are unsealed three hundred years from now in a ceremony that will include bats and Druidic chants."
Of those who are leaving the political scene (from Rumsfeld all the way down to GOP Congressmen who lost), who will you miss the most?
Halper: "Most of all, I will miss Rummy for his poetry and George Allen for his macacary."
Jackson : I'll miss Virginia Senator, George "Maccaca" Allen. But, Trent Lott's back, and Allen may still return. See, it takes more than hanging a noose in your office and insulting a few minorities to keep a good Republican presidential candidate down. I'll miss Joyce Rumsfeld too - for personal reasons..."
David: "NONE of them. I've had it. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Bon Voyage, Sayonara, get lost!!!"
Camp: "Of those leaving, I will miss Rumsfeld most because he was like having a stern, all-knowing father... Did I mention my father beat me? ...and then accused me of not allowing Democracy to work?"
First thing in 2007, Dennis Hastert will have to hand Nancy Pelosi the Speaker's gavel in a ceremony. What should Nancy Pelosi do as soon as she gets the gavel?
Halper: "She should replace it with whatever gavel the Republican Interior decorator Bush promised to introduce her to suggests."
Obeidallah: " De-licing it would be a good start."
Reno: "Turn that gavel upside down and sing "My Way" into it like it's a mic, with Kucinich, Sanders, Waters, Waxman, Barney Frank, Sheila Jackson Lee, etc. breaking out the instruments and accompanying.
Jackson: "She should hammer out danger. She should hammer out a warning. She should hammer out love between her brothers and her sisters all over this land. And she should stop smiling. If that's still at all possible post-op."
David: "Break into a chorus of "Everything's Coming Up Roses."
Adomian: "She should invite her drum circle up to the chair and have a 'be-in.'"
Camp: "What should Pelosi do first? She should WASH THE GAVEL! She has no idea where that's gavel's been or what shady transactions it's been privy to. On second thought, she should burn the gavel."