Friday, December 02, 2011

Washington is full of comedians. Take that any way you want.

Senator Scott Brown
by contributor Wendy Gordon
Photos by Neshan H. Naltchayan

The DC Improv has been the site of some of the best comic acts both locally and nationwide.  But the real pros from Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist to Senate poster boy Scott Brown (R-MA) (hey guys, just FYI, his daughters are ‘available?’) to Tea Party Mad Hatter Allen West (R-FLA) took the famed laugh house’s stage on Tuesday evening for the 18th Annual Funniest Celebrity in Washington Contest to benefit Susan G  Komen for the Cure.

Clarence Page
Yes, folks.  You heard it here first.  DC has a) celebrities and b) they’re funny…some of them, anyway….no joke.

While guests enjoyed table service and passed hors d’oeuvres of such delicacies as Sliders, Falafel and Deviled Eggs (yes, I said Deviled Eggs), DC’s finest politicos and media icons vied for the coveted trophy of DC’s most hilarious.  

Jamie McIntyre

Former CNN Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre, who has left his suit and tie for the lavender sweater, and Birkenstocks of NPR’s  All Things Considered, emceed the festivities which included good sported dubiously gut-busting performances by Senator Scott Brown (R-MA); Richard Siegel, Founder & Executive Producer of the event: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR); The Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein; Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform (Occupy the Improv!); Al Jazeera English correspondent John Hendren;  Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA); former gubernatorial candidate and owner of Smith Island Baking Company  Brian Murphy; Clarence Page, Pulitzer Prize winning Chicago Tribune columnist; Attorney and former Special Counsel  to former President Bill Clinton, Lanny Davis; and Congressman Allen West (R-FL).  Quite the line-up.

Grover Norquist

With topics that ranged from the TSA’s exhilarating cavity searches to good natured homage to their home states (Blumenauer’s affectionate ‘keep Oregon weird’ examples were amusing) to much ribbing of fellow ‘performers' and the inevitable Kardashian and Cain jokes, shockingly, some of these guys were funny when they actually meant to be.

Ayla Brown
It wasn’t simply those who left their day jobs on stage. There were some shills.  Highlights of the evening included Baltimore stand-up Alabama; Comedian Judge Gregory Poole and a highlight of these highlights, Winner of the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse’s  top political comedian award, Brian Parise, who had the audience laughing themselves to tears (although some of those Senators and Congressmen might have actually been weeping).

A brief musical interlude provided by Brown’s daughter, Ayla, an American Idol semi-finalist, showed her not only to be a talented singer, but a posied performer, as she breezed both through three numbers and a microphone mishap with perfect grace and a sense of humor that fit right perfectly into the demeanor of the evening.

Of course the main reason for this little soiree of chuckle was to benefit Susan G Komen for the Cure, which gave the evening one if its two serious moments, when Erta Hysenbegasi, Regional Development Officer of the organization addressed the crowd and Tracy Hoover of Truckin 4 Troops honored several wounded warriors from all branches of military, a contingent of whom were present.

A Peek Inside: The fun continues:

One of their own, Sgt. Christopher Bain, was a late addition to the line-up of human amusement.

Of course the end of the evening brought awarding of trophies (or plaques, as the case may be).  Gentlemen, the envelope please!  And the winners are: {insert drum roll here}:

 Honorable Mention:
John Hendren

Second Runner UP:
Allen West

 First Runner Up:
Brian Murphy
 Photo credit: Daniel Swartz

 And the winner is……………ta-dah……..
Jamie Weinstein

Following the conclusion of the event, the winners and audience members celebrated at L2 Lounge in Georgetown. No doubt plenty of laughter ensued.