The opinions expressed by Minnesota-born political satirist Lizz Winstead are uniquely her own and reliably funny.
It's becoming an annual thing for Winstead and me to have a lunch at Tandoor Restaurant in Bloomington during her trips home to perform her wildly popular NYE shows at the Parkway Theater. The co-creator of Comedy Central's "Daily Show," a contributor on MSNBC's "The Ed Show," and autobiographer of "Lizz Free or Die," she is closing in on 30 years in comedy. I am proud to have noticed her work for nearly all of those years, even though we don't agree on everything.
Take the matter of the enormous expense of an inauguration for a re-elected president. I think those millions would be better spent given to various charities. Winstead disagreed during this Q&A, but she did so with a smile.
Q To paraphrase what the president has said: Why do Republicans have a hard time saying yes, especially to Barack Obama?
A It seems to me they may be the party that's never experienced joy. Often the word yes is accompanied by some amount of joy. It seems Barack Obama has had a history of going to the negotiating table, to the chagrin of Democrats, and taking all of the bargaining chips off the table and making the cuts for them, and still they say no. You have so many bills that they initiated, and then they go, "Oh yeah, we know we voted for that, but now you said it so we hate it." It's a problem.
Q Give me the Lizz Winstead Gun Control Law that would have prevented Newtown and many of the 500 deaths that occurred in Chicago in 2012?
A I can't profess to know how to prevent gun violence. But I can profess to know that more guns doesn't equal less problems. When I hear the NRA speaking and they are like, "What we need to do is arm more people so that we have less violence" -- let's say you replace the word "gun" with "cancer" and you said, "You know how we need to get rid of cancer is to get more cancer in society." People would look at you like there is something wrong with you. But when you say the word gun, it takes on a whole other thing that makes sense to people somehow. No one that I know. I don't have an answer. I just know that less guns might be better than more guns.
Q I wonder if voice lessons would have enhanced Susan Rice's chances of succeeding Hillary Clinton as secretary of state? There's an annoying quality to Rice's voice, in my opinion.
A I think that, again, Barack Obama foolishly told someone he liked someone. Once that leaked out, she was doomed. I don't think it was the voice; it was that Barack Obama just happened to say "Maybe Susan Rice?" Before you know it, the hammers came down from the Lindsey Graham, John McCain death knell, [and it] shuts the whole thing down. Legitimate nominee. Shut the whole thing down.
Q Why did President Obama leave Susan Rice hanging out to dry?
A I don't know. And she wasn't the nominee. I feel like, keep your pie hole shut until you are going to call a press conference and make your announcement. When you start floating balloons out there, and historically we've seen, when Barack Obama makes a suggestion, [it's rejected] no matter what it is. It's crazy.
Q Don't you think a second inauguration for a re-elected president is a waste of money?
A That's why they are only having like two balls. It's very scaled down. I would say that it is historic to elect a black man president; I would argue that it might be more historic to re-elect him. On some level, I feel like it is more to celebrate.
Q You coin words and phrases at a more rapid rate than anybody I follow on Twitter. How do you come up with terms like "Whitemanistan"?
A I'm trying to always figure out a way to make people engage in a story they may otherwise not click on or read. It can be the dumbest thing in the world. Today I wake up and on my television, the thing I couldn't care less about is the fact that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are going to have a baby. I was like, "They're going to have a 'Spawnye.'" That's fun. That's my word of the day.
Q I can't believe you forgot former Gov. Tim Pawlenty when you were creating the graphic of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates for your show at the Parkway Theater?
A I am staring at it going, "Do I need to remake this whole graphic?" And then I thought, "No. I think it's kind of a metaphor. I'm going to talk about it and say I forgot T Paw. What does it say about T Paw?" Me and America forgot about T Paw.
Q How long before Gen. David Petraeus gets his next government gig? His punishment is just about over with now.
A Does he want a government gig? Maybe he just wants a new biographer.
Q Chris Kluwe is married -- I hate to break this to you. I think that's the professional athlete to whom you could be married?
A Chris Kluwe may be the only professional athlete I could be married to. First of all, that letter he wrote [supporting gay marriage] goes toe-to-toe with any smart comedy writer's work I've ever read. Second of all, he's cute. And third of all, see first and second of all. Done.
Interviews are edited. C.J. can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9's "The Buzz."
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