Since its beginnings at a Senate office Christmas party in 1981, The Capitol Steps has produced political satire that even makes lampooned politicians laugh at themselves. The group's 2011 wrap-up is no exception, drawing on a cornucopia of gaffes and ludicrous moments in an otherwise forgettable year.
The musical troupe satirizes Herman Cain's womanizing to the tune of Love Potion No. 9 and spoofs Congress (the opposite of progress) in a take-off of the Mary Poppins' favorite, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. A hilarious reprise of Bob Dole's character returns as the more experienced running mate for John McCain's late-arriving 2012 presidential bid.
Hardly anyone gets a pass in this hour-long special, not even the female U.S. Supreme Court justices, who, while waiting in line at the high court's one-hole women's restroom, coo about their secret lust for fellow justice and conservative hunk Antonin Scalia.
Not surprisingly, the living laugh track known as the GOP presidential candidates gets dominant play in the show, which includes a contest for funniest hopeful of the year. Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a previous winner, introduces the contestants. Featured is a romp through revisionist history sung by Michele Bachman and Sarah Palin.
Of course, former Democratic Congressman Andrew Weiner makes an, ahem, appearance in what Capitol Steps' veteran Mark Eaton calls a built-in joke. President Barack Obama hangs out with the troupe because "I live with my mother-in-law."
No Capitol Steps show is complete without a version of Lirty Dies, the tongue-twisting, consonsant-switching play on words that produces outlandish and belly-laughing results.
You can go to The Capitol Steps website and download the 2011 revue, which also contains a sneak peak into the anticipated missteps of 2012. Don't try to navigate the distress that lies ahead without first cleansing your soul by listening the troupe's 2011 revue.
Even for the button-down believer, catching a Capitol Steps live show can be a Washington, D.C. highlight. For the cynics in the crowd, the show is a witty confirmation that the country is indeed seriously out of whack.
The Capitol Steps, which consists of many former Hill staffers who clearly have more than legislative and letter-writing skills, perform every Friday and Saturday at the Ronald Reagan Building on Capitol Hill.
They also perform around the country. The troupe will visit Olympia, putting on a show in the Washington Center March 8. It will appear at the Northshore Performing Arts Center in Bothell and the Mount Baker Theatre in Bellingham the following two nights. No dates in 2012 have been set so far for an appearance in Oregon.