TEEN AMBASSADOR:CHRISTOPHER CONDE | OCTOBER 19, 2016
No matter what party you stand with, nearly everyone tracking the 2016 United States Presidential Election can agree that there has never been an election more filled with drama, excitement, and twists than this year’s. With both candidates driving strong points, it can sometimes be difficult to pick sides, and the stress and anticipation of choosing who to vote for can drive some folks mad. When you need a break from the chaos of the polls, you can always turn to Capitol Steps for a laugh and a half about the current events that shape our country today. Formed in 1981, the Washington, D.C.-based comedy troupe is primarily composed of former U.S. Senators and Congressmen that want to share the humor of politics with the world.
At the Zeiterion, the main focus of the evening was this year’s Election. Every member of the cast played their over-exaggerated roles spot on, and several actor’s voices were nearly indistinguishable from their real-life counterparts. Donald Trump was a highlight – his performer had gotten the loud, New York accent down to a science, and so many of Trump’s strange aspects were reflected perfectly – for instance, the fictional Trump’s first order of business was to demolish the White House, and replace it with a 36-story “Trump White House”. Hillary Clinton was another classic character – while her performer’s voice wasn’t quite as precise as Trump’s, her attitude and body language was hilariously on point. Another highlight of the show was the collection of politically-themed parodies of pop songs. With songs like “All About that Base” (All About that Bass), Vladimir Putin’s enthusiastic rendition of “Putin on the Blitz” (Puttin’ on the Ritz) and Donald Trump’s “Shut Up and Vote For Me” (Shut Up and Dance), these numbers add some spice between skits.
While the performance itself is all in good fun, there seems to be something deeper underlying the acts. When we really think about it, it can be hard to take modern United States elections seriously – often times, highlights are shown on news stations or social media outlets as entertainment, or as something to laugh at. At times, it can seem that the election has turned from a respectful argument over who has better ideals, into an all-out war in which both parties try to say something more outrageous. In fact, Capitol Steps even has a skit that touches on this – another fictional debate is organized, but instead of conversation over issues that the U.S. faces, the moderator decides to turn the event into a “joke-telling competition”. In other words, Capitol Steps is trying to tell us something – the elections that will shape our country’s future shouldn’t be treated as a joke. At the end of the day, the candidate that you choose to vote for is one of the most important decisions you can make in helping or hurting the progress of our country. It’s alright to laugh at the antics, or to follow a parody troupe like Capitol Steps, but when it comes down to it, it’s integral to do your research and to educate yourself on the issues that we face.
In the end, Capitol Steps at first glance seems like a light-hearted comedic performance, and the jokes are performed brilliantly – I myself nearly laughed my head off – but if you really stare deep into the heart of its origins, you’ll see that if we don’t knock some sense into the real-world elections, they may soon become the laughing stock of the nation, and become just another form of entertainment, rather than a serious decision. Capitol Steps made me laugh the whole ride through, and afterwards made me do my homework on the main candidates that we’ll be voting on this November. No matter who you vote for when Election Day rolls around, you can count on Capitol Steps to relieve some of the pressure from the fateful decision. I certainly hope that the group returns to the Zeiterion soon, and I’ll be prepared for another evening of hilarity.