The Trump administration and the maturing of social media keeps The Capitol Steps on their toes as they travel from city to city.
“The news cycle is so fast,” said Elaina Newport, co-founder of the satirical political troupe of former congressional staffers that tours the country. “In some ways Trump is good for business, and some ways it’s just exhausting. It’s almost impossible to stay ahead of this guy.”
She remembers Trump being “pretty funny” during the 2016 presidential campaign and writing an exaggerated joke about Trump hating babies because “they were losers” and “needed to get a job.”
“But then a couple weeks later, he actually got into a fight with a baby at a campaign rally and kicked the baby out because the baby was crying. So then I went, ‘Well I give up,’” she laughed.
So how quickly can the script change in this political climate?
“I have been known to occasionally text a joke to somebody standing backstage waiting to go on,” she again giggled. “That’s if something really big has happened and you have to say something about it.”
There are some recent stories that actually have some shelf life for The Capitol Steps, such as the Russian investigation and ongoing partisan bickering.
“You know Putin’s not going anywhere. He’s been in our show for several years,” said Newport.
With Republicans running all three branches of the federal government, the president and party in power make for easy fodder according to Newport. But she said the troupe works hard to keep the political jabs bipartisan.
“We have Bernie Sanders out there. He’s not going away so that’s good. We have Elizabeth Warren in the show, as well as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. So we’re always looking for a way to make it bipartisan. We do our best to make it bipartisan. We’ll get the guy you like in the first song, then go after the guy you don’t like in the second song,” said Newport.
How do you make Bernie Sanders funny?
“You try getting a wig that’s bad enough for Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump,” chuckled Newport. “We do have him singing ‘If I Were No Rich Men’ to the 'Fiddler on the Roof' staple ‘If I Were a Rich Man.’ I always wanted to say, if you wanted to see Donald Trump singing a rock song and Bernie Sanders sing a show tune, and Vladimir Putin dance shirtless, this is the show for you because you will not see that anywhere else.”
The Capitol Steps return to the BCPA in Bloomington on Sunday, May 13, at 3 p.m. with their show titled “Orange Is the New Barack.” Mentioning GLT when you call the BCPA box office for tickets will give you a special rate.
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