No “30 Rock”? No “Office”? The Winter Olympics might have prevented your usual NBC laughs last week (and this week) but there was something on C-SPAN that could have just as easily filled your comedic void. C-SPAN isn’t usually synonymous with laugh out loud comedy, despite what Jon Stewart is able to do with it, but the annual Conservative Political Action Conference might have made a run at next year’s Emmy for Best Old Comedy.
No comedy show or performance is truly that without a welcoming audience who tolerates its performers and the CPAC crowd was no different. In fact, this group even participated in the hilarity. They created this little slogan for one of the speakers that really set the tone for the whole weekend. “Run, Dick! Run!” chanted the raucous crowd. Yes, the conservatives answer for the future is to put former Vice President Dick Cheney on the ticket for 2012 and yes that same vice president who left office with a resounding 13 percent approval rating. I didn’t have much time to clean the laughter tears out my eyes because Cheney really hit his stride with this zinger, “We do not torture. It is against our laws and our values.” Apparently water boarding doesn’t fall into that category and apparently using it 266 times on two terror suspects doesn’t work. Not a bad opening act for CPAC, but surely they didn’t blow all their laughs this early in the program.
Without disappointment Scott Brown, the newly elected Republican Senator from Massachusetts, surprised the convention as a guest speaker and his economical satire was off the charts. He was slated to introduce the former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney and during his glowing remarks he really fell into his groove. “If you want to fix the economy…you have to listen to Mitt Romney!” Wait, the same Mitt Romney who endorsed the Republican Presidential nominee John McCain in 2008 when McCain thought that the fundamentals of the economy were strong? Which I guess could be true if the 2008 recession was only being compared with the Great Depression, then yeah maybe he is on to something.
But Romney, who most people assume will make another presidential run in 2012 was able to speak for himself and clear the air. He was given the podium and nearly knocked me off my chair with laughter when I heard these words, “I’m convinced that history will judge President Bush far more kindly (than Obama).” At this point I have completely forgotten about the comedic genius of Tina Fey because Romney clearly has this cultural parody down. But unfortunately he went one too far. “…(President Bush) kept us safe.” No prime-time show for Mitt after all. I mean you can’t expect NBC to replace Jay Leno with somebody who completely forgot about the 3,000 lives that were taken on 9/11 under President Bush.
So far the convention was packed with laughs and I tried to stay in the dark about who all was speaking because I wanted all the cameos to be a surprise. And it was at that point in the sitcom where everything comes together, the mixed up plot, rehearsed talking points that you thought were strikingly similar to that on every conservative Web site, and all the lies and deceit were going to finally be answered. The hero of the conference, the keynote speaker, would surely fix any unanswered questions or provide some sense of reality with reason. And I couldn’t have asked for anybody else other than…Glenn Beck. Utter exuberance gleaned across my face. What better way could the performance end than with a recovering alcoholic to top off a night filled with memorable misinformation. Truth be told this whole column could have focused on the hour long open mike session by Beck because he was on a roll but I didn’t want to leave out the up and comers. But it was television brilliance to show the hypocrisy of the conservative attacks about President Obama being too professorial when their keynote speaker, maybe the face of the self-proclaimed movement, put on glasses that hung on the tip of his nose as he used a chalkboard to illustrate his point.
You know when Steve Carell makes you cringe with things his character Michael Scott says, if that was CPAC’s inspiration for this event, then bravo!
Kevin Garrity, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.