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The New Yorker Festival's Political Humor Panel @ Cathedral NYC - 10.4.8 By: Sharilyn Johnson

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Borowitz, Silverman, Hanson, and Downey

On Saturday afternoon, The New Yorker Festival brought comedy geeks and middle-aged vegans together at Cathedral NYC to experience words of wisdom from a panel of political comedy gurus, which included Andy Borowitz, Samantha Bee from The Daily Show, The Onion's Todd Hanson, Colbert Report Executive Producer Allison Silverman, and veteran SNL writer/producer Jim Downey.

The proceedings, moderated by New Yorker editor (and former Jim Downey assistant!) Susan Morrison, followed an unsurprising theme from the start: Sarah Palin!

Four best Palin zingers from the panel:

1) Borowitz: "I actually read about her in the Book of Revalations, right after the Four Horsemen."
2) Hanson, apologizing for his scratchy voice: "I've been debating Sarah Palin for the past week."
3) Silverman: "I think Sarah Palin was very brave to come out against holocausts."
Downey: "I did that MONTHS ago."
Borowitz: "She was only against ANOTHER holocaust."
4) Downey: "If she gets elected, it's going to be four years of jokes that have been done NOW."

Providing perhaps the best-ever answer to the ubiquitous "do people get their news from comedy" question, Hanson said "they get their critical thinking ABOUT the news from comedy". Well said, sir.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAs I sat there, I wondered, where in the world was John Oliver? The Daily Show correspondent canceled his appearance on the panel to substitute for Jon Stewart at an awards ceremony in Washington (so where in the world was Jon Stewart?). But colleague Sam Bee did the right thing by talking about him behind his back. At the Democratic National Convention, Oliver was given the task of going onto the convention floor during Obama's speech to interrupt people who were trying to watch it. His attempts to elicit annoyance were viewed as just plain hurtful. "He came back with almost nothing," she said. "There was this sense of 'why would you do this on such an important day?' He was mortified."

Bee had her own high-stress Convention piece, where she tried to get Republican delegates to say the word "choice" in the context of Bristol Palin's pregnancy. She said the issue of choice is "very personal" to her, and likened her nervousness when filming it to "when you're driving and you're about to do something really stupid."

Those of us in attendance who didn't arrive looking and feeling like a New Yorker-reader stereotype were given the opportunity to dress the part during our downtime. Festival sponsor Banana Republic gifted the adjacent washrooms with bottles of their line of smelly fragrances. I wondered whether taking a spritz was the classiness equivalent of wearing a restaurant-supplied dresscode-required necktie, until the woman at the sink next to me reported that the night before, someone stole the entire collection of full-size bottles. Those wacky lefties!

Stephen Colbert at The New Yorker Festival

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  • Response
    The latest words about this festival as you write here with the reading of them this is looking a good one event. That is having the good range of the enjoyment for those who are visiting this place for their fun and entertainment.

Reader Comments (5)

Great write-up! I agree that all of the Palin jokes are quite funny right now, but they will definitely get old very fast. That's probably why so many people are rushing to do them while they're still interesting.

Is this Sharilyn Johnson's first article in The Apiary? Always nice to see new contributors!
October 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersoce
And also, Diana Saez and I opened the panel as Sarah Palin (me) and her assistant/sidekick/cousin/campaign manager/nail technician, Dina Heath-Barr. And we took photos of ourselves titty-bumping Sam Bee backstage. So that ruled.
October 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSara Benincasa
Great job Sharilyn! Excellent coverage of the event, down to the behind-the-scenes details.
October 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAbbi Crutchfield
I'd rather go parasailin' than go Sarah Palin!
October 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBilly Reno

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