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Review: Capitol Steps are sometimes funny, often uncouth

By Autumn D. F. Hopkins

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Capitol Steps, a comedy troupe based outside of Washington D.C., performed at the Clay Center on Sunday night and received mixed reactions from the crowd.

Most of the show was offensive and shockingly vulgar and although parts of the show were funny -- especially the songs -- the majority of the show was too long and entirely uncouth.

Jokes like, "working less than a West Virginia tooth fairy" fell flat and left some members of the audience actually booing. Other jokes were less offensive, but seemed to trail off and become incomprehensible. 

Numbers like, "Huge Jim Bissel" (huge imbecile, get it?) dragged on and on.  It felt as if the actor needed a sign that read, "Laugh Here." In fact, that would have been quite helpful in many of the bits, as moments when the entire audience laughed uproariously together were few and far between.

Songs like "I'm Just a Pill," based off the old Schoolhouse Rock song "I'm Just a Bill," were funny and cute on the surface, but hugely depressing when the reality of the song set in. Laugh at the horror maybe?

At first, it seemed as though the audience could have been divided into Republicans and Democrats and that laughs would fall down party lines with approximately half of the audience laughing at a joke while the others harrumphed in their seats. But, no, that would have been too much to ask for.  The Capitol Steps went on to offend across boundaries.

The group was equally offensive to both parties -- the elderly, women, homosexuals, rape victims, Iraqis, Germans, Greeks, Catholics, and West Virginians, the list goes on.

Maybe I'm too sensitive or lacking a sense of humor these days. I understand the desire to make light of our nation's political scandals, but mostly the show fell short of entertaining and ended up being offensive and trite. 

I will say that many numbers were original and I have not seen anything else quite like it. I do enjoy a parody and the Weird Al style covers of songs, like "Music of the Night," "Paint it Black" and "Cats in the Cradle" can be applauded, at least for creativity.

All in all, this is not a show I would want to see again nor would I recommend anyone else see it. I am disappointed in the Clay Center and expect better offerings.


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