August 1, 2008

‘SNL’ Alum to Appear at Hilton Head Comedy Club

By Justin Paprocki, The Island Packet, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Aug. 1--A. Whitney Brown promises he'll do nonpartisan political humor this week at the Hilton Head Comedy Club.

This comes from the self-proclaimed "100 percent Democrat," the child of a union household in Michigan, the man who wrote for liberal-bastion Air America.

"You might laugh when I say I'm doing nonpartisan political humor," he said. "But that's my goal."

"The job of the comedian is to make people laugh. My goal is to get them laughing first -- then I tell them I'm a big lefty."

Find out for yourself how well Brown does in GOP country with shows today and Saturday at the recently opened comedy club in Pineland Station.

Brown made his name with appearances doing political commentary on Saturday Night Live, back in the era of the first Gulf War. He returned to television several years later as a correspondent on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." Since then, he's preferred a less hectic schedule than TV-life and is venturing into online comedy.

Most recently, he's been working to establish the Web site with fellow comedy writer Barry Lank. They've written and produced several videos posted on YouTube -- the most famous being a George W. Bush press conference where Lank is edited in querying the president about a zombie defense

proposal (Q: Zombies? Who eat brains? A: That's what they do. That's what they've said they do. They have objectives.)

Brown never really wanted anything to do with political humor when he first started performing in the 1970s. His act involved jokes about kids and animals -- a universal humor that wouldn't change with each day's news cycle. He landed gigs on "The Tonight Show."

In 1985, he started as a writer on Saturday Night Live. Producer Lorne Michaels asked if he'd do a news commentary on Weekend Update. He ended up writing The Big Picture segments over his seven seasons on the show. He became known for snappy geo-political one-liners ("Our bombs are smarter than the average high school student. At least they can find Kuwait").

Since then, he spent three seasons as a correspondent on the Daily Show in the mid-90s, traveling the country to interview the likes of snap-on toupee makers or men who did their own dentistry. He wrote for Air America soon after it started and kept a running diary on the left-leaning Daily Kos Web site.

But now he says he's less interested in the political spectrum.

"I want to find something that doesn't depend on having a soapbox. More people have caught up to the idea that something has to change," he said. "I've always thought I've done about 50-50 political and nonpolitical humor. But maybe that's just me."


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