A-Go-Go A-Here-Here

Doonesbury gets the letters of complaint and the threats to cancel newspaper subscriptions. But Bizarro hits its mark faster and more stealthily. Instead of four panels, the nationally syndicated newspaper cartoon Bizarro takes just one frame to lambaste those who oppose gay marriage but don't apply the same standards to themselves. One couple says to another, "How do you think we feel? Allowing gays to marry makes a mockery of all seven of our marriages." The same goes for his forecast of how the future might look with the Britney Spears-izing of the English language. The scene takes place in a courtroom with a lawyer saying to a judge, "But my client is, like, an awesome family man." To which the judge replies, "But he, like, killed five people or whatever. Hello." We totally get that. It's like evolution, right?

Now Bizarro's creator, Dallasite Dan Piraro, has drafted three kindred spirits for a performance he calls "hard-hitting liberal slamdance in the tradition of political comedy of the '60s." Called Bizarro's PolitiComedy-A-Go-Go, the show plays Dallas on Sunday and Monday in the middle of a several-city tour. Piraro's cohorts are San Francisco stand-up comics Michael Capozzola and Jeff Kreisler and New York City's Brian Malow. They're like the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down. Their jokes make people laugh as they tackle the complicated and generally serious topics of drug laws, terrorism, global warming, Enron- and Martha Stewart-ish corporate crimes and many more. One of Piraro's other favorite subjects is Bush, or, as he likes to call him, "Genghis Dubya and his Millionaire Marauders." Piraro's recently published kids' picture book-looking tome The Three Little Pigs Buy the White House features the adventures of Dickey, Rummy and Dubya as they attempt to catch The Big Bad Wolf. There's a reason the posters for Bizarro's PolitiComedy-A-Go-Go feature four donkeys with an elephant on a spear and a voodoo doll that resembles a man with a broad jaw and big ears. And it's not just because donkeys are cute, especially when they're wearing dark-rimmed glasses and driving a Vespa as the one representing Piraro does.

The point of these shows is not to rehash the kind of pseudo-political jokes found on television--or "sugar-coated, corporate-approved drivel," according to Bizarro's PolitiComedy-A-Go-Go--but to address real issues in a manner that people can consume without their eyes glazing over. It's educating voters for the election in November with chuckles instead of charts. We like to think of it as Laugh the Vote.

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Shannon Sutlief

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