Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Petraeus parody: Capitol Steps return to poke fun of Washington current events

The Capitol Steps comedy troupe pokes fun of just about everyone in Washington, regardless of political affiliation, experience or role.

But the group known for bipartisan mockery drew the line at Gen. David Petraeus, an esteemed CIA director, a four-star general and a respected leader of coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Then he resigned earlier this month due to an extramarital affair. Just like that, he's on The Capitol Steps list.

When the Capitol Steps comedy troupe performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Winters Mill High School, the show will include a Petraeus parody for the first time.

The Capitol Steps are back on stage in Carroll as a fundraiser for The Arc Carroll County, a nonprofit that assists those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The D.C.-based Capitol Steps are in their 31st year of performing musical numbers with a satirical look at current events. The Capitol Steps troupe, roughly half of which consists of former Capitol Hill staffers, has performed in all 50 states and performed before four former presidents.

The Capitol Steps writing team is constantly updating performance material. This year's fundraiser for The Arc will feature a Joe Biden impersonator singing a rock song, a Mitt Romney impersonator rapping and a President Barack Obama impersonator performing a show tune.

And Petraeus gets spoofed too, less than a month after admitting having an affair with biographer Paula Broadwell.

"We never poked fun of him before," founding member Elaina Newport said. "Respectable people are just not that funny. ... If you had to list who would be the least likely person for us to include, he'd be right up there."

The Petraeus resignation came at a time when The Capitol Steps' satirical writers were looking for fresh material just after the presidential election.

Romney is still part of the show, but will eventually fade away as new political figures and events take place.

The Capitol Steps members are often conflicted about elections, Newport said.

"It's such an odd way to make a living," Newport said. "I really don't watch the news thinking, 'Is this good for the country or bad for the country?'" she said. "I'm thinking of what's funny and what rhymes with it."

The Capitol Steps have performed an annual fundraiser for The Arc Carroll County for 11 years.

Prior to the satire shows, The Arc Carroll County tried other fundraisers, including a visit from reporter Sam Donaldson. But The Capitol Steps consistently bring in an audience, Executive Director Donald Rowe said.

It's a chance for those in attendance to reflect on wacky current events that took place as 2012 nears its conclusion, he said.

"They change their material," he said. "They are current, up-to-the-minute. I think people just enjoy the evening. I think we'll keep having them until nobody shows up."