Today we look back at the biggest news stories from ten years ago. This journey provides a fascinating look at our changing world, while we notice what has remained unchanged.
Esther’s Follies has been the leader of news satire for the last 40 years. Using parody, sketch comedy, and satirical musical numbers, they have covered breaking news, politics, current events and celebrity news on a weekly basis.
If we take a look back comparing 2006 to 2016, what are the biggest stories that were held under a comedic microscope a decade ago?
Past Cast Member Tells All!
I was a member of the cast and writing team at Esther’s from about 2004- 2007. It’s been a blast to watch old DVD’s (Millennials: DVD’s are like a DVR recording, but round) and relive the biggest stories and scandals from 2006.
What Was On Our Minds in 2006?
Government Instability. Leaks, perjury, and being on “high alert” were all buzz words in 2006. In Iraq, a coalition of Shiites and Kurds dominated the new government, with many describing the situation as a war between Sunnis and Shiites.
Saddam Hussein. Captured and convicted of crimes against humanity by an Iraqi court, Hussein was hanged in Baghdad.
Extreme Weather. Hurricane Katrina (2005) became the topic of blame across all levels of government. As a result, the mismanagement and lack of leadership in the relief efforts became a huge story.
Geez…. Bombs, terrorists, hangings, deadly natural disasters…doesn’t seem to lend itself to comedy, does it?
Amazingly, Esther’s found the funny, as they always have.
Skilled Writers Find Comedy After a Tragedy
It’s a tough job, but comedians play an important role by illuminating society’s challenges.
For example, at the December 2006 holiday show, the cast cheerily sang, “They can’t find a wise man in D.C.”
The brilliant Kerry Awn played George W. Bush with mastery every week. Audiences wiped away tears as they cracked up over his spot-on impression of the President. A few of my favorite lines from Kerry’s President Bush impersonation include:
“I’m lucky. I’ve got something that most Americans can only dream of. I’ve got a job.”
“Some people say I don’t have a mandate. I don’t WANT a man-date. I’m not that kind of guy. Okay, once in college.”
“We’re gonna combine Iraq and Iran into one place and call it Irate. Pull all the pissed-off people there.”
The Biggest Stories of 2016 (So Far)
As we fast forward 10 years, the big stories for 2016 are almost in the books. A few of the highlights include:
- The US Presidential Debate
- Obama’s Final Year
- The Global War Against ISIS
- The Syria Black Hole
- Putin’s Next Move
- Black Lives Matter
- Zika Virus
- Rio 2016 Olympics
Comedy provides a very important function in our daily lives.
By holding up a mirror to society and forcing us to confront reality, we find both insight and relief.
It’s a hard job, but Esther’s Follies makes it look easy.
To get your comedy fix as we wrap up in 2016, get your tickets HERE. Because as the great Charlie Chaplin reminds us, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”
About the Author:
Laura Mathis is a past Esther’s Follies performer who graced the stage from 2003- 2006 with her Canadian charms and willingness to wear any type of costume to get a laugh. Laura enjoyed levitating with Ray Anderson, belting out tunes with Shannon Sedwick, and having a bull whip snapped in her face by Rob Williams (not so enjoyable but she lived to tell the tale). Laura has studied and performed at the famed Second City in Chicago and lives in Austin with her husband and 4 -year-old twins. Follow Laura on Twitter @thelauramathis