Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Go ahead," he said sarcastically. "Bite the bullet!"

During the past decade, many Americans have grown to love the kind of politically-oriented sarcasm that has been perfected by people like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Lewis Black, and Margaret Cho. The writers for The Daily Show have perfected a technique of researching and then juxtaposing inane statements made by politicians with previous footage of their comments on the same subject. Consider the following brilliant piece of editing:

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On September 20,at a town hall meeting held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Anthony Scaramucci (the founder and managing partner of hedge fund Skybridge Capital, L.L.C.) addressed the following question to President Barack Obama:
"I represent the Wall Street community. We have felt like a pinata. Maybe you don't feel like you've been whacking us with a stick, but we certainly feel like we've been whacked with a stick. When are we gonna stop whacking at the Wall Street pinata?"
Three nights later, Jon Stewart delivered the perfect reply to Scaramucci's vainglorious question::
"Um, I don't know, maybe when the fucking candy comes out! How about that? That's how pinatas work."
A little bit of lemon juice goes a long way -- especially when applied to an open sore. That's why two entries into the 2010 San Francisco Fringe Festival had audiences either laughing their heads off or nodding in bitter agreement with the performers.

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Billed as "L.A.'s premiere multicultural sketch comedy troupe," OPM Comedy (the OPM stands for "opening people's minds) is a frequent visitor to the San Francisco Fringe Festival. This year's entry, OPM's Green Tea Party once again delivered sharp, sophisticated satire with an appropriate Asian twist. Their first skit, Green Tea Party paid tribute to the Asian edition of the Tea Party movement which, in addition to to resenting taxes, insists that people don't wear shoes inside the house.

Photo by: Ewan Chung
The hilarious Leaders in Jeopardy mocked the popular quiz show in a segment during which Alex Trebek (Dave Wilder) faced a panel /comprised of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Ewan Chung), Kim Jong-Il (Charles Kim), and Sarah Palin (Diana Toshiko).

Oh, Arizona was a brief skit built around an Asian couple from California (Ewan Chung and Diana Toshiko) who get pulled over by the Arizona Highway Patrol following the enactment of SB 1070. OPM Comedy has also been making some brilliant videos. This "iPhone" clip (from 2009's Fists of Funny show) still packs a delightful punch:

Other skits, such as Happy Birthday, Julius Caesar, Chuy the Cholo, Dumb Professor, and K-Town 9-0-O-M'-GOD! scored strongly. But without doubt, the audience favorite was Glee: Season 2
(which took devastating aim at how the silent Asian boy on the series is treated). Another gem, was this short film (written and directed by John Lopez) entitled The Guy Who Cured Cancer.

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Directed by David Ford, Love and Sex in the Earth's Spin Cycle is Lambeth Sterling's one-woman show in which she attempts to save audience members thousands of dollars and years of grief by explaining what they won't learn in therapy about the pitfalls of dating and marriage. A true "daughter of the South" (and a certified relationship coach), Sterling carries a well-deserved chip on her shoulder as she examines the various forms of insanity underlying different methods of counseling. As Lambeth explains in her program, "Yes, these stories are true. Why else would I stand up here and tell stories like this if they weren't?"

Lambeth Sterling in her wedding gown (Photo by: Bill Patterson)
Unfortunately, at the performance I attended, the temperature in the 40-seat Exit Studio was starting to feel like a dry sauna, a condition which Sterling noted and, in spite of  its toll on the audience, bravely confronted. While her material is quite hilarious, there is a bitter tinge of disillusionment and brutal sarcasm in her delivery which often makes her advice even funnier. The following clip gives a sample of her act (try to see it in a theatre that has a decent ventilation system).


1 comment:

Katherine Dieter said...

Love this, especially, "...God is always late."