Kate Clinton

You Can Keep Your Hat On

Filed By Kate Clinton | September 20, 2009 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: end of summer, keep your hat on, Provincetown, summer 2009, townhall meetings

Not to brag, but this summer, everyone coming out of my summer show in Provincetown told me it was my best ever. Oh, okay, not everyone. Two couples got up and left in a huff shortly after I described the Republican Party as 'the other white meat'. And that's such an old line. I should not get any more cash out of that clunker.

Out in the lobby two of the guys tried to pick a fight with our darling ticket taker - "I love my country! I fought for my country! I have friends who died for this country. She needs to be taught a lesson." [We're in sync on everything, even the last sentence, but I need a lesson in hydraulics, not civics.] Their wives tried to prod them gently out the door, but they weren't having it. They were escorted out. Perhaps they mistook my show for a town hall meeting.

When security told me after about the incident, I thanked them for their solicitude. One guy said, "Heck no, we weren't worried about your safety. We were worried about their safety. If they went back in there, and started something, we were afraid you would turn your audience on them." This summer everybody was achin' for a breakin'. I am happy to report no pinkies were bitten off during my shows. That I know of.

In my family it was a sin to get a swelled head, so I've been critiquing the feedback that it was my best show ever. When people tell me I'm brilliant, I'm no dummy. I know it is just because we agree. My Ptown neighbor who watches FOX all day long does not think I'm the brightest motion sensor bulb on our block. In the beginning of the summer, I proposed an experiment. He would only watch MSNBC and The News Hour. I would only watch FOX and Lou Dobbs. At the end of the summer, we would compare notes. He said he just couldn't do it. I was relieved. Then he went into a tirade about ACORN.

But I've been assessing the feedback that it was my best show ever and I would agree. While the events of Summer 2008 - Hillary Clinton, the primaries, the conventions, Obama and Palin - were great material for my show it was about getting rid of Bush. Other summers were more Bush-centric. I had no idea how bored I was of Bush Inc. nor how deadening Bush Think can be. I was plum out of permutations on the Bush-is-bad simile. Evil really is as banal as a bike helmet.

Even though no one was shot in the face, Summer 2009 was a rip-roaring time to be a comic. Town hall meetings, Supreme Court hearings, teachable moments, healthcare, warfare. It might be no drama for Obama, but our dear democracy is in a parlous fight for its life against the armies of corporate capitalism with its legions of banksters, insurers, pharmaceutical and arms dealers. The color threat levels are high. White resentment is armed and dangerous.

While I feel some disappointment with my new president, It is an old familiar disappointment, oddly comforting. It is nothing compared to the spouting, paranoid rage my neighbor feels about Obama. And it is nothing compared to the cement- block-on-chest despair I felt in the Bush years. Now there are glimpses of hope and change - friends tell stories of being listened to in meetings on the Hill, about being invited to share expertise, about available funding sources. Languished and forgotten legislation is burbling up through committees. Progressive LGBT friends are getting substantive jobs in the Obama administration.

While I agree that this summer's Ptown show was the best show, I would change "ever" to "of the last eight years." It had very little to do with me. Please tell my family I'm still the same hat size.


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My Ptown neighbor who watches FOX all day long does not think I'm the brightest motion sensor bulb on our block.

For some reason I always imagine that Ptown doesn't have conservative idiots roaming around - only enlightened liberals and partying gay men.