A Capitol Idea

America is in a golden age of political satire. All of the stars have aligned to provide stellar opportunities for mockery: a self-serious presidency that's made questionable choices; a free and inquisitive press; and a public that understands that it can object to an administration's course of action without fear of being branded "traitorous." Heeding the call is a unique group of activists called Billionaires for Bush. Like Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, they have taken on the guise of supporters of our current regime in order to highlight its foibles from within. Their performing troupe, the Billionaire Follies, have taken to the stage at the Ace of Clubs to present Dick Cheney's Holiday Spectacular 2006, a skits-and-song revue that provides an early Christmas present to those who like their holiday carols pretty and their sketch comedy silly and dirty.

The show is hosted by Vice President Dick Cheney, with appearances by George W. Bush, Karl Rove, the Ghost of Ken Lay, and Lynne Cheney. The politicos and their billionaire supporters sing traditional melodies with twisted, big business-themed lyrics and play out parodies of A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life. This special is presented as the warped dream of a holiday shopper knocked out in the rush for the season's "it" toy.

However, in a town where faux celebrity-hosted holiday specials are staged yearly, the framework is unnecessary—not to mention dangerous to those audience members near the shopper's front-row seat. (Several times during the show, she scuffles with a security guard and threatens to injure nearby patrons.) While the shopper is supposed to represent the voice of the common citizen, the crowd at a show like this is hip enough to see that the billionaires' message is a bad one. Besides, politicians often hold events to thank their financial contributors; it would be wickedly delightful to think of the gang in the White House putting on a show, Mickey and Judy style, as a gift to their moneyed friends.

Jamie Jackson lends Dick Cheney an air of theatrical malevolence and a fine baritone, and has the presence to carry off the job as M.C. David Bennett wouldn't win any George W. look-alike competitions, but he has the good ol' boy accent, excitable nature, and befuddled looks down pat. Moreover, his natural comic talents allow him to refer to cocaine as "booger sugar" and get a laugh instead of a groan. The cast of ladies is mostly there for sex appeal and high voices; while they fill that job admirably (especially the lovely soprano Kellie Aiken), it would've been nice for the boys' club to cede a little more stage time to the girls.

An hour goes by fast when in the company of entertaining folks like these. The Billionaire Follies has crafted a show with topical references that even the least politically aware Americans will get, and the repetitive nature of the carols drives home their message. If you find the Rankin/Bass animated specials a little too religious, and the Grinch a little too mushy, then Dick Cheney's got a spectacular he'd like to sell you.

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