Lizz Winstead: "Maybe Kickstarter can replace social programs" [REVIEW]

The Parkway is also playing new movie Smashed, though Winstead quipped that the marquee described her.
The Parkway is also playing new movie Smashed, though Winstead quipped that the marquee described her.

By the time Lizz Winstead got onstage at Pepito's Parkway on Saturday -- her nephew Sam Breckenridge, a St. Paul firefighter by day, opened with a few songs on acoustic guitar; and Joe Minjares, the Parkway's owner and Winstead's old friend from the 1980s comedy scene, introduced her -- she had already made her first joke.

All of the preliminaries had happened in front of a projection that showed a bunch of women dancing wildly. Inside a three-ring binder.

For the next 90 minutes, Winstead applied that wit to recapping the year in politics against a rotating backdrop of similar graphics. She was preaching to her choir, "those Prius people who spend a lot of money on kale," as she described it, and the crowd rarely stopped laughing along.

See Also:
- Lizz Winstead on why 2012 was "the worst Lifetime movie ever" and what to expect from her Year in Review
- 2012 in review: Top five Twin Cities comedy moments

Winstead was comfortable onstage, clearly excited to be in "this cool neighborhood theater" and chatting with the audience all night. When someone up front gave a thumbs down after an early Bachmann dig, Winstead replied, "if you're thumbs-downing that, it's going to be a long night." (They quickly established that the heckler had misunderstood, and was really as liberal as everyone else in the theater seemed to be.)

The year was so politically intense that instead of breaking the show down topically, Winstead opted to do it chronologically, starting with what had happened since the election, and then "how the fuck we got to this point."

The newer material covered polls ("masturbating to Nate Silver"), Karl Rove's election night implosion on Fox ("'This can't be happening, I purchased these votes'"), and the adult politico's version of a playground burn ("Romney thought he had ground game? Barack Obama invented the ground game"). 

Winstead gave shout-outs to the Amy Koch scandal and Chris Kluwe -- she admitted being jealous that she hadn't "come up with cockmonster" -- and skewered John Boehner's fiscal cliff fails ("maybe Kickstarter can replace social programs").

But current events were almost too fresh for Winstead to fully process. At points she seemed overwhelmed by the stupidity of all of it, shaking her head and repeating, "Crazy, it just feels crazy."

The funniest parts of the night came once Winstead started flashing back, reminding the crowd of 2012 lows they probably wish they could have forgotten. There were the Republican primaries (here, Winstead explained, she actually did forget to include T-Paw in her graphic, but once she realized her omission, she figured it was appropriate to leave our forgettable ex-governor out).

There was "The Lady Bunch," a bunch of white guys sitting around debating women's health, and "The Crisis in Whitemanistan," featuring John McCain losing his mind.

Once Winstead got to the general election debates -- "the community organizer versus the gated community organizer" -- not even Obama was safe. "I have seen junkies more enthusiastically write on cardboard for money," Winstead said of his performance in round one.

As she moved to the end of the show, Winstead seemed like friends with her audience, and she threw everyone an Easter egg: a photo of her with Bachmann from this summer's State Fair, complete with an impersonation of Michele offering photo opps.

Before Winstead got offstage, she put her last graphic on the screen, a retrospective election season bumper sticker: "Obama/Biden: Because We Just Can't Afford 4 More Kids." Then she grabbed her whiskey and toasted the crowd.

The crowd: As Winstead described it, "Whole Foodsy. Those Prius people who spend a lot of money on kale. A lot of you are them. You walk around with the smell of low carbon footprint. You have recumbent bikes." Apart from that, pretty mixed -- including families (bold choice, mom and dad).

Critic's bias: I won't say I've never bought kale.

Overheard: Two old ladies behind me cackling at cracks about Winstead's vagina. A man asking, after a joke about whether drones are in Obama's spank bank, "What's a spank bank?" A woman saying, at the end of the show, "I wish I had recorded it to listen to again later."

One night left to go:
Lizz Winstead: The Long and Binding Road
Pepito's Parkway Theater
4814 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis
8:30 p.m. New Year's Eve, $40-$50
Tickets available at 1.800.838.3006 or

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Pepito's Parkway Theater

4814 Chicago Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55417


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