The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 11, 2009

Lampooning the leaders | Comedy troupe Capitol Steps bringing biting satire to Pasquerilla arts center



The satirical comedy of Capitol Steps is far from politics as usual.

The acclaimed humor troupe will perform at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Richland Township.

The Capitol Steps’ members are touring in support of their latest album, “Obama Mia!” as well as their new holiday album, “Barackin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

Last year was the first time they appeared in Johnstown, and Michael Bodolosky, arts center executive director, said he brought them back by popular demand.

“They do song, absolutely ingenious parodies and skits,” Bodolosky said.

“The audience has to listen intently to keep up because it’s one zinger after another.”

Their material changes as the political climate changes.

They know that no matter who holds office, there will never be a shortage of material.

“They are equal opportunity bashers,” Bodolosky said. “Both sides of the aisle are fair game, including independents.”

The Capitol Steps began in 1981 at a Christmas party in the office of former Sen. Charles Percy. A group of Senate staffers set out to satirize the very people and places that employed them.

And like most things in Con-gress, they never knew when to stop.

Not all the current members are former Capitol Hill staffers, but collectively the performers have worked in 18 congressional offices and represent 62 years of House and Senate staff experience.

Performers include Kevin Corbett, Jon Bell, Jack Rowles, Tracey Stephens and Janet Gordon.

They are accompanied by pianist Marc Irwin.

This year’s show features all new material.

Bodolosky said the audience should be prepared for some bipartisan lampooning when the cast takes the stage to share its favorite numbers such as “Juan Nation,” “Axles of Evil” and “Barackberry.”

“Last year, the performers were literally rewriting their skits backstage to reflect what happened that day,” Bodolosky said.

Over the past 26 years, the Capitol Steps have recorded 29 albums.

Ignoring the conventional wisdom of not quitting their day jobs, members have appeared on “Good Morning America,” “Today,” “20/20,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Nightline,” CNN’s “Inside Politics” and National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”

For the past 19 years, the group has produced quarterly specials for public radio and has been featured in three national specials for public television.

Tickets are available at the arts center box office, by calling (800) 846-2787 or 269-7200, or by logging onto

Tickets are from $10 to $25.

Laugh out loud

Who: Political satirists Capitol Steps.

Where: Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, 450 Schoolhouse Road, Richland Township.

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20.

Tickets: At box office or call (800) 846-2787, 269-7200 or visit

Tickets: Range from $10 to $25.