This article by Graham Vyse is published by The Washington Post. Here is an excerpt:
I felt a special sadness when the Capitol Steps announced their retirement last year. The D.C.-based musical political comedy troupe came into my life when I was a kid; my dad took me to see them long before I was old enough to understand elections, much less vote in them. By the time I was a teenager in the years after 9/11 — eagerly returning to their shows and listening to albums like “When Bush Comes to Shove” and “Papa’s Got a Brand New Baghdad” — I was a devoted fan. This silly, pun-loving group had helped cultivate the early interest in politics that sent me to American University, one of the hyper-political Washington campuses where it regularly performed.
Founded by U.S. Senate staffers in the early ’80s, the Steps were a Washington institution with an only-in-Washington story. As on “Saturday Night Live,” the group impersonated politicians in sketches based on the headlines. Like “Weird Al” Yankovic, they did original song parodies, inspired not just by classic rock and pop hits but also show tunes, Christmas carols and Disney musicals. They’d have Laura Bush borrowing from Elton John to tell George W. Bush, “Don’t Go Faking You’re Smart” — and the president quickly reassuring her, “I couldn’t if I tried.” John Kerry would channel Joni Mitchell to confess his flip-flopping on the issues, explaining how he’d “taken stands on both sides now.”
It was corny. Gen Z might call it “cringe.” But it was also clever and creative. The troupe members hit their notes, did some great presidential impressions and had enough showmanship to sell it. The Steps reveled not just in puns but also in spoonerism routines with audience-pleasing innuendo: “It’s the American lay of wife.” They prided themselves on being able to bring Republicans and Democrats together to laugh at their leaders and themselves.
Read the full story here.