The satirist Jonathan Swift was born 331 years ago this week. Since Swift’s writing of Gulliver's Travels, satire has broadened its scope in American culture. But it has never lost its power to bring the mighty down to size…

Feb. 7, 2003

'I Do Not Have Anthrax in a Box, or with a Fox...'

Saddam Hussein Reuters

If Saddam Hussein were to meet Dr. Seuss, the result might be a parody of Green Eggs and Ham. In 2003, humorist Jay Klusky offered a child-friendly interpretation of the ongoing conflict between the Bush administration and Saddam (I am) Hussein.

March 9, 2003

Send in the Clones

Martha Stewart Reuters

Before she went to prison, it seemed that Martha Stewart was everywhere. As commentator Doug Gordon discovered, there is an obvious explanation for this: Martha has cloned herself and is bent on world domination.

Feb. 19, 2004

Hollywood-izing 'The Passion of the Christ'

Passion of the Christ

Hollywood has a tendency to make movies that are sensational to audiences, regardless of the subject matter. Satirists Bruce Kluger and David Slavin imagine how Hollywood would have transformed The Passion of the Christ, if Mel Gibson had relinquished artistic control.

May 16, 2001

By George, He's Got It!

George W Bush

The president has often been criticized for mincing the English language. Perhaps one solution to his semantic troubles is to introduce to him to a classic literary character: Henry Higgins. The NPR satire show Rewind envisions a "presidential" sequel to My Fair Lady.




A Few Thoughts on Creating Satire

Mark Eaton is a member of The Capitol Steps.

What is the oddest thing that has happened during your time at the Capitol Steps? Bob Dole was always known for having a good sense of humor. After he left the Senate he did Viagra ads and we had a song called "Viagra" to "Maria" from West Side Story. At an event, Bob Dole was there. We asked if we could do that song and Dole replied, "If you do that song, I am leaving." We were stunned, but will never forget it.

What is the easiest subject to satirize? Sex scandals... by far! Obviously, the Clinton years were a golden time for the Capitol Steps, and it was almost to the point we hoped for some other news so our show wouldn't be an hour of Clinton sex jokes.

Do you have a favorite Capitol Steps song? One of my favorites is "God Bless My SUV" to Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA." We wrote it poking fun of SUV drivers, but they cheer as much as anybody when we get to the chorus.

Nov. 30, 2004

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