Laughing Matters — Veeps

Sometimes comedy illuminates hard truths with a pointed urgency that other means can’t quite achieve. Sometimes comedy is just funny. This series of posts is mostly about the former instances, but the latter is valuable, too.

About the only good thing that has resulted from the current misbegotten presidency is the near-extinction of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, a travesty of cheap chumminess between government figures and the journalists who covered them, revealing that politics is a mere game to most of them, as inconsequential as an afternoon tapping around a Candyland board. Never mind that policy decisions have real, and sometimes devastating, consequences for the citizenry, I guess. The brinksmanship of two-party politics and corresponding horserace news coverage is more important.

And yet, I must concede that there were many genuinely terrific comedic efforts connected to the event during the years of the Obama administration, largely because the then commander-in-chief had crack timing and a proper understanding of which topics were and weren’t suited for joshing from the dais. His wingman was pretty good, too. And when one of the greatest comic performers of all time happened to be blazing her way through a role as a miserable, caustic vice president of the United States, the sketch premise was sitting right there, begging to be used. The result was probably the least profane seven minutes of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s long, masterful performance as Selina Meyer.

Around six years after this bit, Louis-Dreyfus is rejuvenating her connection with Joe Biden, participating in an online, video chat–enabled reunion of the Veep cast. It’s the latest in a string of impressive, starry fundraisers for the Wisconsin Democratic Party in an effort to swing America’s Dairyland back towards sanity and decency after a razor-thin margin led to its electoral votes winding up in the grubby hands of a lifelong criminal in the last presidential election. Chip in a few bucks and remember what it was like when abhorrent, mortifying behavior coming out of the Executive Branch was reserved for a half-hour of fanciful fiction on Sunday nights. There’s more information at the ActBlue website.

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Laughing Matters” tag.

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