“There’s so much material, I should have told people to bring their pajamas,” Lizz Winstead said Tuesday when I asked how writing was going for her annual Year in Review shows in her hometown.
“Lizz Miserables,” is the name of Winstead’s 2015 recap of the year’s biggest winners and losers, with the two-night stand going heavy on the latter. Shows are scheduled for Dec. 30 and 31 at the Cedar Cultural Center.
“This year if folks can’t make it they can get it at my website, lizzwinstead.com, Thursday night at 8 p.m. We’re recording the night of the 30th and putting up to watch at the same time the show starts on New Year’s Eve,” she said.
Her opening acts will be her pal Frank Conniff, the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” cult figure, and her nephew, accomplished Twin Cities-based finger-style acoustic guitarist and composer Sam Breckenridge.
Now it’s just up to Winstead to edit material for the show, which has its sights set on these names: House Speaker John Boehner’s replacement, Paul “I won’t work weekends” Ryan … Bigotry front and center as Kentucky clerk Kim Davis let freedumb ring and a clever little boy named Ahmed built a clock and nuts in Texas set it back 50 years … George Zimmerman walked and Rachel Dolezal talked. And talked and talked … We waved goodbye to Cosby’s credibility and said hello to Caitlyn’s courage. Soon, we’ll all be mojitoing in Cuba.
The problem with the show is, “I mean, I could have done a show about today. Donald Trump alone is like the grinch who stole decency,” said the satirist and co-creator of Comedy Central’s “Daily Show,” from her base in NYC.
“Every election year is basically me sweating it out on which choice piece of material I’m going to do on each of the candidates. Then you look at the landscape of other stuff: so much creepy tragedy, these gun freaks, the monsters that these anti-choice people have created, I don’t even know where to begin,” said Winstead. “Caitlyn Jenner and the new prime minister of Canada and the science-loving pope; those are the positive points of my show. It’s a kumbaya with a bunch of F-bombs. We all need to get together and take a deep breath. Let it all out; it’s basically yoga for your funny bone.”
That bone was mostly on display during this Q&A done via e-mail.
Q: What is the difference to you between a comedian and a satirist?
A: This is a longer conversation, not a Q&A answer!
Q: What job would you want if you couldn’t be a satirist?
A: Owner of a media empire.
Q: On “The Good Wife,” Diane Lockhart is a big liberal Democrat who falls in love and marries a gun-loving Republican Kurt McVeigh. Can you see yourself falling in love with a Republican?
A: I just saw “Chi-Raq” so I am skeptical of anyone if they are overly enthusiastic about either party these days. I may launch my own Lysistrata against both parties.
Q: Do you like any Republicans who are not family members, as in your brother the mayor of Bloomington?
A: Sure! I like my pal Robert George. Jon Huntsman [former governor of Utah] seems reasonable. That Abe Lincoln dude did some cool things.
Q: Why have you become so passionate about reproductive rights?
A: Because the dominant narrative on this issue has evolved so far away from medicine, science and privacy that loud and influential voices are desperately needed to reset reality. If we cede scientific facts to lies and doctored videos, we will have lost it all. I can’t let that stand.
Q: What names did you reject before settling on Lady Parts Justice [for your website]?
A: We didn’t really, as the name is based on a specific event. The story is here http://ladypartsjustice.com/about/.
Q: Donald Trump says he’d go after the families of terrorists. Is that a good policy direction?
A: Yes, if you think Terrorism should be official American foreign policy ….
Q: Do you think there are any people of color or Muslims who have risen to upper management positions in Donald Trump’s companies? If you run for president and the votes of more than just white people are important to you, I believe it’s important to illustrate that you’ve always valued diversity and to prove that by showing us all the browns, blacks, ambers and, because of recent tantrums, Muslims you have placed in positions of authority.
A: Ummm, Omarosa[a contestant on “The Apprentice”]. If he does have any people of color in upper management he probably doesn’t anymore. Trying to attach the word value to Donald Trump is your first mistake.
Q: What would gun control look like under Lizz Winstead, U.S. Weaponry czar?
A: You can own as many guns as you can fit in your butt.
Q: I know what an intelligent, deep thinker you are in addition to being humorous. Wrap your brain around America’s gun violence problem and tell me how you would diminish the cycle of mass murder.
A: In a perfect world, I would insist our brilliant technology community invent a device not unlike a dog’s bark collar that jolts politicians and media flamethrowers every time they lie. Then I would make it a law that when you take to the public airwaves you must always wear the collar. I haven’t worked out the bugs, and I am sure there are oh, a few constitutional issues, but I think I may be on to something …
Q: I always wish I could be with you when I see the events you attend on Twitter and people you meet. Who’s left you star struck?
A: Audra McDonald and Laverne Cox are awesome. Gloria Steinem never ceases to inspire me.
Q: I’m a little infatuated with Larry Wilmore, and you hang around with him. I’m fascinated by how well Trevor Noah is doing in Jon Stewart’s chair, and you hang around with those guys, too. You seem to be able to hang with basically any interesting newsmaker in NYC. Were you curious about interesting people you saw on TV when you were a little Minnesota child?
A: I was more curious with quiz shows as a kid so I was interested in knowledge. I was studying history when I decided to go into comedy. I have always loved learning about history and experiences that help explain events that lead us to who we are now and what we can learn from the past to help make a better future.
Interviews are edited. C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Jason Show.”