The Wolfson Center for National Affairs at The New School presents an evening of performance and discussion dedicated to political humor, featuring Ira Shorr (aka Senator Jess Trussme); Bill Hartung, World Policy Institute arms control expert and stand up comic; and progressive comedian and New School standup comedy workshop instructor Scott Blakeman.
At a time when many people report getting their news form Comedy Central rather than Fox, CNN, or the broadcast networks, the role of humor in politics is ripe for reappraisal. Do jokes about politicians or political issues offer a more effective path to a certain kind of the truth than straight reportage?
Scott Blakeman was the warmup comedian for the CBS comedy series Welcome To New York and the Late Show with David Letterman.
He has made more than thirty national television appearances, including Comedy Central's Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, and co-host of several political humor segments on NBC's "Sunday Today."
He does political humor commentaries for National Public Radio and business humor for the CNN Financial News Network show Business Unusual.
He was a writer/performer on the ABC late-night series "Where's The Party?" and has appeared on A&E's "Evening at the Improv" and "Caroline's Comedy Hour", as well as Comedy Central's "Comics Only". He was also featured on a PBS special "Why Bother Voting?", and the PBS show "Adam Smith".
Blakeman was a regular political humorist on USA Live on the USA Network, and was the host of "Headliners", a television pilot that took a comedic look at the week in review. He was also the host of A Night at the New School, a live weekly cable talk show.
He recently was featured on Middag Editie, a national television show in the Netherlands, as part of his two week tour of comedy clubs in Amsterdam and Utrecht, where he also appeared at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam.
He performed in the Bar Mitzvah Show at the prestigious Montreal Just For Laughs Festival.
For the past eighteen years, Scott Blakeman has taught a Stand-up Comedy Workshop at The New School in New York. The class has been featured on WABC-TV, PBS, The Village Voice and Newsday, and was the subject of a documentary film for Touchstone Pictures.
Blakeman recently received national acclaim as the straight actor who played the part of a gay man in the history-making Ikea television commercial, which is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Television and Radio, and was named one of the 50 best commercials of all time by Entertainment Weekly magazine.
Director of the Project on the Control of the International Arms Trade at the World Policy Institute; Research associate and project director at the New York-based Council on Economic Priorities; speech writer and policy analyst for New York State Attorney General Robert Abrams.
He has appeared as a guest on national television and radio programs including CBS' 60 Minutes, the NBC Nightly News, the MacNeill/Lehrer Report, CNN's Inside Business and National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation.
Ira Shorr leaves 'em laughing. By day, he is a diligent opponent of nuclear weapons. By night, he is comedian extraordinaire. His satire entertains and also sheds light on the struggle to bring sanity to foreign policy.
Shorr is currently National Field Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), a network of citizens, doctors, and other health care professionals and an affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, winner of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. As an alternative to military aggression, PSR is promoting a SMART Security program - Sensible, Multilateral American Response to Terrorism. He has served over the past 20 years in key positions for SANE and Peace Action and was founding director of Back from the Brink, a coalition of 40 national arms control organizations working to get nuclear weapons off hair trigger alert From 1994-1996, he was Senior Producer of America's Defense Monitor, the Center for Defense Informationâ€™s PBS documentary program.
Ira Shorr, during these 20 years, has performed political satire and improvisational comedy, including his character Senator Jess Trussme, an "ultra-compassionate" conservative who provides a wealth of misinformation. Shorr believes now is a good time to expose how misinformed people are about the reasons for the U.S. military occupation of Iraq. It is hilarious Truth in Humor when he talks about ending DUMB security â€“ Divisive, Unilateral, Militaristic, and Bound to Backfire policies.