The Capitol Steps talk satire, American politics, former President Bill Clinton

Election season means one thing to The Capitol Steps: Grade A material for their shows. The troupe is known for singing parodies about current political events. So it’s safe to say that the recent political debates, conventions and speeches have probably given them enough material for decades.

The group started with three Republican Congressional staffers and has grown to about 30 members, including comedians, actors and other former Congressional staffers.

After the troupe’s performance Wednesday night at Gusman Hall, The Miami Hurricane got the chance to talk to three of the group’s members.

The Miami Hurricane: What do you hope to achieve with these parodies and political satire, beyond the laughs?

Evan Casey: Well, I mean there is an obvious end goal in all of this. We hope to use the satire to get people more involved and more informed. It is an effective tool and educates both the people and keeps the people we’re satirizing in check.

Matt Pearson: Yeah, it is definitely universal and catches people’s attention. We want people to get a better understanding of what’s going on while at the same time keeping them entertained.

TMH: What prompted you to join the Steps?

EC: D.C. is a place where politics is all around you; you can’t really help but face it. There are several comedy groups that do the same kind of thing, but none really incorporate singing and song parodies.

MP: It’s exciting; it’s super fun. It’s obviously funny, so it definitely fit.

TMH: What has being a part of the Steps taught you about America and American politics?

EC: Well, definitely that everyone has a sense of humor. We make fun of almost everything and anything and we almost always get laughs. And people, in general, are open to that kind of humor.

MP: You know, the freedom of speech component here shouldn’t go without being said. We have the freedom to make fun of all these people that in a lot of other places you can’t really do. Most people here in the States are definitely open to it, and that’s great for us.

TMH: What has it been like covering the elections?

MP: During the elections it gets pretty crazy, but it’s also the time when we get the most material. It really is exciting.

EC: Yeah, it’s the time when everything comes together and you really have to figure out, “What rhymes with that?”

TMH: Janet, you’ve been with the Steps since 1993. What has it been like covering three different presidencies from Clinton to Obama?

Janet Gordon: A lot of fun. Every new president that comes around, we’re always hesitant because at first they don’t really seem funny. With Clinton, that’s what happened. We didn’t know what we were going to joke about and that obviously proved to be a hilarious couple of years. With Bush, the same thing. When he first got elected we were kind of looking around like, “What are we going to do?” And boy were we surprised! Obama’s the only one that has been a little drier, but we tend make fun of him anyway and kind of focus on the people around him.

September 14, 2012


Sam Abbassi

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.