Kicking off last April in Madison, Wis., the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour has slowly been working its way around the country, seeking out places in need of a good, liberal night of comedy.
Led by Stephanie Miller and her radio show cohorts, John Fugelsang and Hal Sparks, the unscripted political comedy has been selling out even in the red states (Texas, anyone?).
“The tour has been hugely successful, especially considering it is an off election year,” Fugelsang said. “We had Aretha Franklin come to see us in Detroit, Lily Tomlin came and joined us onstage in Los Angeles, and we’ve had sold out shows coast to coast.”
Miller, a Lockport native, brings an interesting twist. Born into your tried and true Republican family, she runs against the grain of her father, William E. Miller, Barry Goldwater’s 1964 running mate, producing a comedian who leads the show with deep knowledge of both the left and the right.
“I don’t think there has ever been a progressive liberal comedy tour like this before,” Fugelsang said. “I don’t think there has been a liberal comedy tour based on a radio show before either, and certainty not one that’s used mostly social networking for the advertising It’s been wonderful, it’s reached young people and old people as well.”
Grossing over $1 million without spending a dime on advertising, the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour has harnessed the power of social media, letting the need of progressive liberalism direct where they perform.
Their extreme profits also allow them to help grass roots movements in the cities where they perform. Covering a range of progressive liberal charities and movements, including social initiatives, such as the Trevor Project, a LBGT teen suicide prevention program in Los Angeles, environmental projects like anti-fracking in Syracuse, and a political issues organization working to counter balance religious rights influence in Texas politics, the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour is covering all the bases.
“I’m not sure who its going to be benefiting in Buffalo yet, but in every city we go to we always try to play union houses, we always donate a portion of the profits to a local organization that’s trying to make someone’s life better,” Fugelsang said. “It’s been a really amazing way to meet a lot of great people, because it doesn’t really matter who you vote for for president if you’re not fighting on the local level.”
The trio isn’t just all talk either. All are well-informed, politically minded, active supporters of several movements. Sparks works with the NOH8 campaign and One Laptop per Child while Fugelsang performs for soldiers stationed overseas and has currently spent a lot of time at Occupy Wall Street.
“I think it’s the beginning of something really big,” Fugelsang said of the Occupy movement. “I don’t think this movement is going to look the same a year from now and I think the greatest fear of the one percent that runs this country is that conservative Americans are going to realize that Occupy Wall Street speaks to them much more than FOX news does.”
Most college kids are familiar with the liberal brand of comedy. The Colbert Report and The Daily Show are pervasive culture icons for the college demographic and have indoctrinated millions into their political satire cult. Yet the conservative side, for some reason, seems to have a shortage of comedians working to support their message.
“You go to a comedy club and someone can do material about the homeless or retarded people and maybe they can get away with being outrageously funny for two or three minutes and then it is feeling kind of wrong,” Fugelsang said. “If you’re doing conservative comedy, you are de facto defending the status quo that runs things…liberals are the ones trying to change things for the less fortunate and…the conservative power base is more about protecting the status quo. So the reason why FOX couldn’t do a comedy show, and they shouldn’t try, is that you can’t be funny while attacking down, it doesn’t work.”
So, if you’re up for a dose of conservative bashing, liberal wise-cracking comedy given by three diverse but well informed political satirists, you’re not going want to miss the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour‘s Buffalo stop at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on Nov. 19.