Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Jan. 23, 1998

Institute on National Affairs

The pros look at politics and humor in America

by Tracy Griffin, News Service intern

Many comedians and cartoonists use political satire to make their audiences laugh.

The use and abuse of humor in a democracy will be discussed during the 1998 Institute on National Affairs. This year's institute, "Politics and Humor in America," will be held Feb. 3-5 in the Memorial Union.

The keynote address will be given by comedian Harry Shearer at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, in the Sun Room. Shearer is best known as a creator and co-star of the film This is Spinal Tap, as a writer and cast member of Saturday Night Live and as the voice of several characters on The Simpsons. His films include My Best Friend's Wedding and the upcoming Godzilla and The Truman Show.

Iowa State's Dianne Bystrom will speak at noon Tuesday, Feb. 3, in the Pioneer Room. In her speech, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Election. . .," Bystrom will use television ads to show how humor is used in political campaigns. Bystrom is director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics. She is the co-editor and contributing author to The Lynching of Language: Gender, Politics and Power in the Hill-Thomas Hearings.

Grandma Mojo's Moonshine Revival will perform in the Sun Room at noon Wednesday, Feb. 4. This sketch comedy group is made up of Iowa State students who satirize everything on campus from student government elections to touch-tone class registration. The group performs regularly in the Maintenance Shop.

Cartoonist Dan Perkins will speak on "Politics, Media Bias and Humor" at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, in the Sun Room. Perkins is the Iowa-born creator of the weekly cartoon of political and social satire "This Modern World." He is one of the first regular contributors to The Nation and U.S. News and World Report.

Editorial cartoonist Brian Duffy will speak at noon Thursday, Feb. 5, in the Sun Room. His speech is titled "Drawn and Quartered." Duffy's cartoons appear in the Des Moines Register and are syndicated by King Features.

William Strauss, co-founder and director of the professional satirical troupe Capitol Steps, will speak on "Political Humor in America" at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, in the Sun Room. His troupe has performed in more than 4,000 shows, recorded 17 albums and completed a 20-week off-Broadway run. Strauss is a graduate of Harvard University, Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School of Government.

Institute on National Affairs

"Politics and Humor in America"
Feb. 3-5, 1998
Memorial Union

Tuesday, February 3

Wednesday, February 4

Thursday, February 5

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