Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stu Bykofsky Candidates Comedy Night

20th Annual Stu Bykofsky Candidates Comedy Night.

This annual event is a fundraiser for Variety, the children’s charity. Bob Kelly of CBS 3 started things off. Stu Bykofsky acted as master of ceremonies with some assistance from his fellow Philadelphia Daily News colleague Jenice Armstrong. Mike Driscoll of Finnegan’s Wake donated the venue. The servers were working without pay to keep event costs down. The room was packed; there were considerably more people here this year than in 2008. (I wasn’t there in 2009 and so can’t comment on that.) More regular folks are attending – there were three “general admission” tables, compared to about 3 chairs in 2008.

Since this is a political blog I’m going to gloss over everything non-political. Since it is a family blog I won’t repeat any of the off-color humor, though I think there was less of it this year than in 2008. Remember that these candidates are not (intentionally) comedians, though most made a valiant effort. This is not an effort to provide a complete transcription, just a flavor of what was said. Check your local newspaper for coverage and statewide political blogs for video ( is planning some video, others might as well).

Personal comments are in italics.

Tom Corbett, Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor, started things off. He reminded Stu that the Attorney General’s office has oversight over charities. John Baer of the Daily News said that Corbett is boring but Onorato is annoying. Corbett was born in Philadelphia, then moved to Pittsburgh. Noting that Dan Onorato has done research on him, Corbett said they had done research on Onorato and uncovered his secret [shows photos of Onorato in a Cowboys jersey, #81]. Corbett recently read a police blotter and learned that two people had pushed over the statue of the Philly Phanatic and that’s why he believes in the death penalty. He would have bought another table but bonuses are out in Harrisburg. Onorato put a tax on alcohol. If elected, Corbett will be the first governor born in Philadelphia for many years. He thinks Ed Rendell was born in Taxomia. Shows photo of the cover to an old book, Tom Corbett Goes to the Moon. Shows another photo of actor Leslie Nielsen and says they were separated at birth. [There is a strong resemblance.] He also took a fake phone call from Vince Fumo.

Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-08) was next. He said he was nervous and would rather be having a tickle fight with Eric Massa. Murphy said he asked Joey Vento for advice and Vento told him to say [Murphy said “Hello, my name is Patrick Murphy” in Spanish.] Mike Fitzpatrick [the Republican challenger] couldn’t be here. He’s in Kenya with tea party activists looking for Obama’s birth certificate. They’ve almost found it – it’s right next to Sadam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Bush’s military records and Charlie Rangel’s tax returns. The Republicans are after him this year and might give him the kiss of death – Sarah Palin’s endorsement.

Bykofsky notes that Congressman Jim Gerlach is in Washington as the House is in session, and that Gerlach did not send a surrogate.

Congressman Bob Brady (D-01) was up next. [I think he is doing something different with his hair.]. Brady would rather be lucky than good. Most elected officials are jokes in their day job and now they have to be jokes in their night job, too. Someone put a gun in his face recently and asked for his money. He told the robber he was a congressman and the robber said “Then give me all my money.” Brady said he won’t cut people down in his comments. He tells one joke about the lack of a Mexican Olympic team – everyone who can run or jump is already in America. [He told two very off color jokes that I won’t repeat here.]

Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-02) took the stage next. His remarks were mean-spirited, generic Republican jokes. They weren’t funny and he left a poor impression. This is a charity event, Congressman, tone it down.

Joe Scott Conklin, a professional comedian, came out and told a number of jokes and did voice impersonations of several elected officials, including Mayor Mike Nutter, Gov.Ed Rendell and Sen. Arlen Specter. He was funny and the impressions were good.

Mike Fitzpatrick, former Republican congressman from the 8th congressional district, running for that office again, could not appear. He sent Andre Watson (not sure of the spelling here) as a surrogate. He says he told Obama he was worried about being in over his head and Obama said “Tell me about it.” Fattah alleviated his fears of being the least funniest man in the room [thunderous applause from audience] Fitzpatrick can’t be here for family reasons. He promised his kids or maybe they promised him to go camping. They were canoeing down a river hoping to see Charlie Rangel going up without a paddle. [two Irish jokes about Murphy and Fitzpatrick and one off color joke about the stiumulus]

Dee Carson Adcock, Republican candidate for the 13th district. Most of the time he’s been campaigning he’s been trying to keep people from laughing at him. Someone told him to break a leg and he asked if that was covered by the new health plan. [He told several sports jokes but I don’t know sports and so can’t record them well.]

Pat Meehan, Republican candidate for the 7th congressional district. [Starts with long joke about Republicans, very funny but a little off color and hard to write down all of it.] He got interested in politics when Thatcher Longstreth came to his school. This is a tough economy. Some of the Philadelphia city agencies are taking their bribes on the installment plan. He hoped if he got elected to take the train to Washington with Joe Biden and Arlen Specter but Biden doesn’t take the train anymore and Specter keeps switching seats.

Rick Hellberg, Republican candidate for the 2nd congressional district. He told several jokes about Stu Bykofsky, including saying that Bykofsky is the only journalist that can call Larry King a kid. It is hard to find out who your ward leader is in Philadelphia. He thought only that kid in The Sixth Sense could see dead people. As a Republican he’s supposed to think the Democrats are in bed with the media. At least Chaka Fattah married the media. Fattah is easing those Philadelphians who miss John Street.

Dr. Manan Trivedi, Democratic candidate for the 6th congressional district. He grew up in a rural area of Berks County. He’s the only kid who tipped a cow and then had to worship it. He and his brother were the only Indian-Americans at their school. They had the weight of the entire spelling bee team on their shoulders. He was voted most likely to own a convenience store and his yearbook quote was “thank you, come again.” He served as a battalion surgeon with the Navy in Iraq. The only phone call he got in the 6 months he was there was a fundraising call from Allyson Schwartz. He has a young daughter now, 3 months old. He practices his speeches in front of her. She burps, spits and poops in her pants. He said it was just like the last time he went out drinking with Patrick Murphy.

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-13) couldn’t be here and sent a surrogate but the surrogate was tied up in Washington also so the surrogate sent a surrogate, Neil Deegan. His remarks were short and he praised Variety and the event.

Pat Toomey, Republican candidate for Senate started off by saying “Does Bob Brady have a safe seat or what?” Joe Biden and Dan Quayle are both coming out with books this fall. Watch out for a shortage of crayons. Obama celebrated his birthday with Oprah and Gayle King. Gayle said it was great that they could celebrate with the most important person in the world and it was nice that Obama could be there, too. Al Gore is involved in an embarrassing scandal and it is all over Google – do you think he regrets inventing the Internet now? Al and Tipper have separated; even the trees reject his hugs now. Who would have thought that Bill and Hillary would be the happy couple. This year the Democrats have tackled some big topics – immigration, don’t ask don’t tell, legalizing marijuana, and so on. So if you’re a gay pot-smoking Mexican wanting a job in the Navy it’s a good year for you. He also had a list of the top ten reasons why he is running (among them, he needs the money, get the bonus due his father [this is a dig at Specter who said he ran for office to get the military bonus promised his father], fish stick Friday in the Senate dining room, etc.

Dan Onorato, Democratic candidate for governor, was late because he was at an event with Bill Clinton. [Onorato said the mirror event in Pittsburgh is off the record so he was surprised to see press here. I’ll give him a pass since he wasn’t expecting to be recorded, etc. The jokes I noted involved borrowing an EZ Pass from DRPA and the Philadelphia city council taking the Drop program.]

Joe Sestak, Democratic candidate for Senate. He runs his staff like the Navy, low pay, bad food and lots of flogging. Then he learned that Vince Fumo had his staff mow his lawn. He asked various pols for ideas on how to run. Brady said the last time he ran was when he heard Geno’s was closing. Nutter said to tell people you’re going to close the Library of Congress. Sestak is Slovak for job offer. He then showed slides of the top 10 job offers he received, including etiquette coach for Rahm Emmanuel. [The last one was nanny to Rick Santorum’s children with the photo of his sad children from election night when Santorum lost – picking on someone’s kids is, in my opinion, a cheap shot.

Bryan Lentz, Democratic candidate for the 7th congressional district closed the show. He said sitting through all the comedy routines he could see why some politicians chose prison over running for re-election. He really liked the guy do did the imitation of an angry Chaka Fattah. [much laughter and applause from the audience]. He had nothing to do with Jim Schneller getting on the ballot but Schneller is coming on after him and if their jokes sound the same it is because Lentz’s campaign volunteers wrote his jokes too. His opponent is giving him a hard time about Nancy Pelosi. It is true that she did host a fundraiser for him and he did have her name tattooed on his [pause] leg, and he did give her a pedicure. But if Meehan wins he’ll have to paint the tan on John Boehner.

And with that, at close to 10:30, the show closed and those remaining in the audience left.

My vote for best line: Lentz commenting on the guy who did an imitation of the angry Chaka Fattah. Best newcomer’s routine: Dr. Manan Trivedi. Worst of the show: Chaka Fattah.


Anonymous said...

Excellent recap, but the "Scott Conklin" comedian should be Joe Conklin, comedian. I think you got the LG candidate mixed up with the comic

AboveAvgJane said...

D'oh!! Thanks for the correction. Dumb mistake on my part. Thanks also for the compliment. I know I missed a lot of stuff, including the entire fundraising interlude with the Flyers guy. Hopefully other folks will pick that up.

Adam Lang said...

Rather accurate recap.

And yeah, Chaka Fattah was an embarrassment to the event. He even campaigned for the House Appropriations chair from the stage.

AboveAvgJane said...


I noticed that -- very inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

I live in Arizona. And here in PA you have Fitzpatrick vs. Murphy. Though my tendencies are right wing, and I think the policy on sexual behavior in the military should be dropped only to reinstate the PREVIOUS one, and I do not really believe in a God, all I have to say is THANK GOD the voters in PA8 elected him. I mean, Fitzpatrick--who the hell is he? I'm sure burning the midnight oil for that bar exam in an air conditioned dorm at Dickinson College can produce a cold sweat, and those legal codes are awfully heavy. But from someone who does have a little Army background from recent years, once you leave the service, you see how all the other common people are very, very small, and you are forever far more capable of dealing with everyday problems. I always check to see the candidate's military background, and it is almost impossible for me to not support any if they have an Army background. Maybe Manion should be the Republican nominee