Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Jan 29th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Funny Bone

ae_screamerA chat with ‘The Daily Show’ creator Lizz Winstead
Lizz Winstead can’t help but be funny. The Brooklyn resident was the co-creator of The Daily Show, and served as its head writer for years. But before that she was a tireless standup comedian. But her comedy turned her into a kind of media visionary: in addition to helping to create The Daily Show, she co-founded Air America. And you can credit her with hiring Stephen Colbert. She’ll be at Kuumbwa Jazz Center Friday on behalf of the Santa Cruz County Democratic Party.

The following day, she’ll conduct a workshop on writing political satire. The workshop, which will be at NextSpace in Santa Cruz, is co-sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz. “I love doing the workshops,” she says by phone from Atlanta. “I tell people ‘I can’t make you funny,’ but the one thing I can do is help unlock the demons that fester inside people who want to write.”

While she was in Atlanta, she took a few minutes to talk to Good Times.

GOOD TIMES: What is it about The Daily Show's humor that works so well when so much other political commentary falls so flat?

LIZZ WINSTEAD:  What makes The Daily Show so successful is that it picks its targets wisely, lays out hypocrisy before your eyes and avoids a cheap shot.

Are you simply funny or are you funny about politics?

I hope both. I like to infuse humor into everything and [hope] that I’m funny and have a tad of insight. I always had been a bit interested in politics. Eventually I started to infuse politics into my humor more and started paying more attention to media. I soon found out that information from most media outlets wasn’t worth my while. It was either blondes in peril or untruthful stories about weapons of mass destruction. I watched how the media was giving out information and saw that they were failing.

GT: Is there anything you don’t find funny?

I have a hard time finding anything funny in attacking the little guy.  How many hypocrites are poor? You get hypocrisy from the powerful.

GT: Is it harder to be funny now that George W. Bush is out of power?

It could be argued that George W. Bush’s peeps are still players. Whether it’s Tim Geithner who’s still around and handling the financial industry or the Supreme Court or people who benefited from his policy. Even Barack Obama comes from a system that is deeply flawed. I’ve had some real success without Bush. John Boehner is comedy gold. And we have a Democratic party that forgot it’s in power.

GT: Is Barack Obama funny?

Barack is plenty funny. I like to analyze his negotiating skills that he’s a little confused about. Normally you go into negotiations asking for everything you want and then giving up a little. He goes into negotiations already giving up things and then he gives up more.

What do you think of first—your outrage or humor?

There’s an old theory in comedy that tragedy plus time equals humor. I think that’s true. And that outrage plus a little bit of reflection equal humor. If you take a moment with some outrage and find some perspective you can bring humor to it. It takes a little bit of a process to inject humor into outrage.

What makes you laugh?

When you see somebody caught in a lie—you should laugh. My conservative parents make me laugh. Fox News makes me laugh. Any group of cute young animals make me laugh.

What makes you cry?

When people feel they’ve lost all hope. If we can still laugh we still have hope. When we’re talking about a hopeless situation I can’t find a glimmer of humor in that situation.

Is there a liberal press?

Yeah. It’s called The Guardian and it’s in England. Or maybe The Nation here in the United States. Liberal bias? I never really understood what they’re talking about. People love to call NPR liberal and it’s just maddening. So, no. There’s no liberal press. If there were, would 80 percent of the Republicans believe that Obama is a Muslim?

Who pisses you off?

Oh my God. That’s endless. Anyone who voted for the Citizens’ United ruling on the Supreme Court. Anyone who votes against curbing money in politics. Any loudmouth who gets information from just one source. Sometimes our president pisses me off. Anyone who uses power as a tool to win personal gain.


Lizz Winstead will be speaking at a gala sponsored by the Santa Cruz Democratic Party at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 20 at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center. For information about last minute tickets, call 423-2356. Tickets are $75.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots