Politics Elections and the News

When it's political and it's just before an election and the election has torn a rift in the country so wide, we Blue State people couldn't even recognize our Red State brothers and sisters, the topical nature of what I'm talking about can really bite you in the ass. If Bush or Cheney said something particularly galling, it had to go in. If Kerry couldn't make a point about whatever he was trying to make a point about that day, it has to get dropped in. The Democratic National Convention started to fade out of audience memory. The Republican National Convention was going on during my show, so I had no choice but to watch it and comment. The New York audience was depressed after the Republican convention and the bounce Bush got in the polls, so the show was more difficult, and of course I had to address their mood and the convention. They were giddy after Bush did so poorly in the debates, and just saying hello was funny to them.

I had to access whatever was topical, and slowly let go of stuff that had begun to fade. There were certain go-to topics—the environment, the prison abuse scandal, the President's I.Q.—but if I were doing this particular show again, a whole ton of material would have to be reworked or cut out entirely. Sure, I can talk about a specific terrorist or cabinet member, but if the day ever comes when they catch the guy or there's another resignation, the very next moment anything I had to say about him would have to be changed. It's the nature of doing political material. It was a lead-up to the election; afterward, it's a completely different animal. I understood that going in, and that's fine with me. Bush getting elected might be good for future shows, but I'd have gladly given that up for a more sane leader in the White House.

Q The truth is, self-censorship must be overcome, as it is the greatest

< enemy of this kind of expression. I remember a teacher I had in college. She was a terrific actress, and somebody asked her how she got so brave with her choices in rehearsal. Her answer was that it's not bravery if you don't care if you look like a fool. I believe we're living in dangerous political times. I believe we're being represented by some of the worst our country has to o offer. It's easy to go to the wall when the alternative feels like capitulation to

§ a religious fanaticism we recognize as evil in other parts of the world, but are

0 self-righteous about at home. I'm sure some people reading this consider those thoughts foolish. I don't care.

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