Lizz Winstead on why 2012 was "the worst Lifetime movie ever" and what to expect from her Year in Review
It has been a busy year for comedian Lizz Winstead. Her first book, Lizz Free or Die, hit stands in May. Her benefit shows for Planned Parenthood and NARAL raised over $2 million. And her work was cut out for her as election-crazed politicians gave her even more material than usual to skewer them with.
Now, for the third year running (or fourth, if you count her take on Obama's first 100 days), she's coming home to recap all of it. Ahead of her three shows this weekend, City Pages talked to Winstead about the asshole in John Boehner's ear, how Minnesota Nice played into the Vote No victory, and what to expect from her 2012 review.
The biggest hint? "I'm very outspoken about my own politics, but the bottom line is, if somebody gave you power, and you are stupid or use it for evil, then you're my target," Winstead says. "People say I don't take on enough Democrats, but the GOP imploded this year, I can't help it. I go where the funny is, where the hypocrisy is."
You had to consolidate your two December 31 shows into one because of a knee injury. What happened, and how are you feeling?
It's so wildly embarrassing. I live in Brooklyn, three blocks from this hideous thing called the Barclay's Center, and every time I walk by I curse at it. On Christmas Eve, I was walking with my groceries and was like, 'Fuck you, Barclay's Center,' and I fell.
I was having six people over for dinner so I started popping Advil, but by [the 26th] I went to the doctor and he said, 'You can't stand for three hours in one night, can you sit while you perform?' And I said, 'You've never seen my show.' So we combined the two into one.
In an election year, there's even more crazy than usual. Where do you start with picking what to talk about?
I have to trim down four hours of material into 90 minutes. And what I've had to do basically is a constant combing of stuff from throughout the year -- some general and some specific -- and picking what I think are the gems. I could do an hour on every single Republican primary candidate. I even forgot that Tim Pawlenty ran for president.
I usually categorize things, like financial, domestic, affairs. But there was so much this year that I decided to open with what's happened since the election, and then take a memory lane journey to see how we got here. From November 6 until now it's just been a sea of pissed off white guys grasping at the little ounce of power they have left, because the ladies and the brown people have decided this isn't working.
So it's usually thematic, but this year it's more chronological?
Yeah, I think so. The reason for that is because this year was sort of like the worst Lifetime movie ever as far as politics. John Boehner, that guy could be every evil stepdad in a Lifetime movie. It felt this year that it wasn't, 'Oh it's an election and we have some morons,' there were these things that got women energized and people of color energized between immigration and these constant assaults on women's health.
Where are you in the prepping process?
Normally, there's a sidebar after Congress goes on break for the holiday, but this year, no. This year, it's insanity, and I will probably be writing down to the wire. I was going to stop writing today, but Boehner, finally, I guess he cleaned the asshole out of his ear and realized he should probably come back from break like everyone else is. He's like a meth head who just doesn't understand responsibility. It's like, 'You run a branch of the government.'
As you go back and review all of that, is there anything that makes you angry all over again?
There are things that remind me how much work there still needs to be done. On some level, I don't understand why Obama is not connecting with the fact that he won with a majority, he won in every swing state, he won on the agenda that he clearly set out. And yet we're back in that weird place of 'Hey, I think I'm going to put social security on the table.'
This year's show title is "The Long and Binding Road." Where did that come from?
That came from Mitt Romney's binders full of women. If there was an overarching theme that was just so much bigger than anything else this year, it was the tone deafness these politicians have about women. Women saw what was at stake and came out in droves, and I'm curious to see how the activism plays out as we move forward. I feel excited about it actually.
Back in 2010, you named the show "The Winners and the Losers. Mostly the Losers." This year had plenty of losers too, but if you had to pick a winner, who would it be?
I'm going to say the voters, not necessarily because 'Yay, yay, Barack Obama won,' but because, 'Yay, yay, super PACs spent tons of fucking money and lost.' I think America saw that the one thing you can't purchase is authenticity.
Gene Winstead, the mayor of Bloomington, is your brother. Will he be at your shows to see the politician-roasting first-hand?
Yes! He comes every year on New Year's Eve. He's the mayor of the mall! He got elected in spite of me. He's everything that Minnesotans are. He's practical, moderate.
He was active in the Vote No campaign, and the Minnesotans' response to that amendment was so perfect, because it was like, 'Well, I don't know if I want two guys getting married, but I don't want to be a jerk about it.'
Your book came out in May. Will any of that more personal material factor in to this year's shows?
I might read something at the end of the show, but that all depends on time. The other thing I'm trying to do is, my book comes out in paperback in May, and my 30th anniversary in standup is December 18, 2013. So I'm going to try to do a show or a special around those, and do the family stories and the personal stories that are the other side of me.
IF YOU GO:
Lizz Winstead: The Long and Binding Road
Pepito's Parkway Theater
4814 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis
7 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 8:30 p.m. New Year's Eve
$30-$40 Fri.-Sat.; $40-$50 NYE
Tickets available at 1.800.838.3006 or www.brownpapertickets.com
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