As the co-creator of The Daily Show, Lizz Winstead, who cracks wise today and tomorrow at the Comedy Works, has had plenty of experience needling the nightly news. But until she got a dog that insisted on being taken outside at the break of dawn, she didn't watch enough of the morning news to realize how ripe the programs were for parody.
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"There's as much emphasis on getting the right bra for your hairstyle as there is about the immigration problem or the war," she notes. "I'd be watching, and they'd be like, 'Coming up: Cajun cooking and the Iraqi death toll!'"
Such observations planted the seed for Shooting the Messenger, a weekly theatrical presentation in New York that finds Winstead and her cast portraying staffers at a third-rate morning show. She plans to take the show to Minneapolis, her home town, during the Republican National Convention, and would like to do the same in Denver for the Democratic shindig "if some fantastic theater wanted to pay to bring our production there."
In the meantime, she's also doing standup, and if embarrassing political news of the Eliot Spitzer variety surfaces in the hours before she takes the stage, she'll have a take ready by showtime. "It's kind of like getting a jump start on SNL," she says. "It's like, 'We're going to be able to laugh and have some catharsis before anybody else.'"
Winstead headlines tonight at 8 and 10 p.m. and at 6:30, 8:30 and 10 p.m. tomorrow at the Comedy Works, 1226 15th Street; tickets are $25. Learn more at 303-595-3637 or www.comedyworks.com and read a Q&A with Winstead at blogs.westword.com/latestword.
July 31-Aug. 2, 2008