Polemic humor

The Whethermen comedy group should incorporate politics into the act

Last weekend, I attended the highly touted Whethermen 64 improv comedy show and left the show very impressed. I had never been to a live comedy performance, but I am a huge fan of the genre. Comedy is a talent that very few possess. It's all about timing. We've all heard of comedic timing, which boils down to how one deliver's the jokes. The Whethermen had no problem with this; it is actually where they excelled. The games were great, though the audience suggestions were a little strange. It seemed to work though - everyone was kept laughing throughout the show. The main theme, so to speak, was video games, which I found a little quirky. However, they were still able to make that into a funny theme. Comedy seems to follow what is happening around us. Seeing the Whethermen do so well with their quirky theme had me thinking: They could be so much better with a more trendy theme. The best comedians, Stephen Colbert or Dave Chappelle, seem to take topics that are in our face and show us that they can't be taken seriously. Therefore, for the next show, it would be nice to see the Whethermen's take on a more current topic like politics.

For instance, it would be amazing to see the Whethermen's take on Sarah Palin's newest endeavor Going Rogue: An American Life. During the show, they picked an audience member to describe her childhood and they proceeded to act it out. It was funny, but also impersonal at the same time. It would have been nice to see something we can all grasp. The majority of us have an opinion of Palin. They could have definitely spiced the show up using her. Imagine them acting out Palin's home life in a governor's mansion or even in a meeting with the editors of her book. Comedian and University alumna Tina Fey won Entertainer of the Year mostly based on her rendition of Palin. She's kind of an easy target, but Tina Fey proved she can be a comedy jackpot.

In fact, politicians generally prove to be comedy gold. The Whethermen's take on almost any political issues would be great to see. The Whethermen, like any other good organization at the University, pride themselves on individuality. They can still maintain their individuality despite taking on politics as an overlying theme because it will be their takes. Colbert won Entertainer of the Year the year before Fey based on his take on certain political situations. It may not be ideal, but politicians sometimes are great material. George Bush often never fails as material for late night talk shows or comedy programs like Chappelle's Show for instance. Fortunately, the University just had an amazing (comedic?) opportunity fall into our laps when the Miller Center was selected to provide the oral history of George W. Bush's presidency. The Whethermen would be great as members of the Bush administration giving their take on what happened during his eight-year administration. They definitely have the talent to do it.

After the show, the main impression I was left with is just how truly talented the Whethermen are with no scripts or other people's thoughts. They could easily make a lot of topics funny. Even still, the show seemed very safe for a group as talented as they are. If a University student took a middle school math test, of course, he or she would do well on it; however, we wouldn't be credited until we tackled something more up-to-date. Future shows should feature them taking on current topics. Some people tend to shy away from politics because of the touchiness - comedy shouldn't have partisanship though. The beauty of comedy is that it can be found in a lot of different situations. Comedians are very individual but they seem to know when to talk about larger than life topics. Although it may be a little out of their element to take on politics, it would be nice to see how far they can stretch their comedic wings. If the Whethermen can make a show about video games funny, imagine how well they could tackle political issues.

Tiffany Morris' column appears Mondays in The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at t.morris@cavalierdaily.com.

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