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Political Theater

A new Second City show puts campaign season in the hot seat.

You don’t have to be an election junkie to know there is no richer fodder for satire. That’s the conceit behind Unelectable You, a new show created by a team of Second City and Slate writers that skewers generations of American presidential campaigns, including the current one. “I hate it when political comedy comes from a place of naivety,” says Second City scribe Steve Waltien, explaining why he enlisted the online magazine to help turn news stories into sketches.

Here, Waltien and director Matt Hovde show how their process works, spinning three political speeches provided by Chicago into potential skits.

Franklin Roosevelt’s Acceptance of the Democratic Nomination, 1932

Original material Waltien and Hovde’s notes

My friends, may this be the symbol of my intention to be honest and to avoid all hypocrisy or sham, to avoid all silly shutting of the eyes to the truth in this campaign. You have nominated me and I know it, and I am here to thank you for the honor.

 

Let is also be symbolic that in so doing I broke traditions. Let it be from now on the task of our party to break foolish traditions. We will break foolish traditions and leave it to the Republican leadership, far more skilled in that art, to break promises…

Oh snap!

There are two ways of viewing the governement’s duty in matters affecting economic and social life. The first sees to it that a favored few are helped and hopes that some of their prosperity will leak through, sift through, to labor, to the farmer, to the small-business man. That theory belongs to the party of Toryism, and I had hoped that most of the Tories left this country in 1776.

He’s comparing Republicans to Tories. He’s dropping a mic. He’s the Obama of the ’30s.

 

Sketch idea: Old-timey trash talking

Donald Trump’s February Speech in Nevada

Original material Waltien and Hovde’s notes

Oh boy. We love Nevada. We love Nevada. Thank you. Thank you. … Have a good time. Have a good time.

This reflects the inspiring oratory technique known as “Repeat yourself.”

So I want to begin by thanking my boys. Eric has been all over the place making speeches. … And Don … you were all over, right? He loves the rifle stuff. This is serious rifle. This is serious NRA, both of them, both of them. …

The grammar police are on their way. Carrying grammar rifles, of course.

It’s hard for me to turn down money because that’s what I’ve done in my whole life, I grab and grab and grab. You know I get greedy, I want money, money. I’ll tell you what we’re going to do, right? We get greedy, right? Now we’re going to get greedy for the United States, we’re going to grab and grab and grab.

!!!

We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated. …

Finally, a presidential candidate who will overthrow the tyranny of education!

We’re going to have our borders nice and strong. … But let me tell you Mexico is going to pay for the wall, right? It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. They know it. I know it. We all know it. … They’re going to be very, very thrilled. They’re going to be thrilled to be paying for the wall.

 

Hillary Clinton Addresses Her Emails

Original material Waltien and Hovde’s notes

First, when I got to work as secretary of state, I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two. Looking back, it would have been better if I’d simply used a second email account and carried a second phone, but at the time, this didn’t seem like an issue.

Sketch idea: Hillary now has to use a different device for every single person who emails her.

GO:Unelectable You runs July 28 to August 28 at Up Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave. $26–$36. secondcity.com

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