Comedian Jeff Kreisler’s résumé reads like a best-of list for left-leaning comedy consumers.
His coverage of the 2008 election included blogging for Comedy Central’s “Indecision” and ObamaGirl’s YouTube Channel. He wrote for the Upright Citizens Brigade, was executive editor of a spoof of The Wall Street Journal and penned the popular Get Rich Cheating, an attack on the practices of the financial industry.
His résumé now includes a performance at Stony Brook University, though it certainly wasn’t a career highlight. Many of his jokes, especially those that pushed the envelope, fell short in front of the small crowd. Still, he often had the entire crowd laughing by poking fun at politicians.
For example, he said that he hoped political parties would come to new conclusions regarding women. “Women are such a great resource. We’ve got to tap that.”
The show that was held Wednesday night in the Student Activities Center was paid for by the Stony Brook College Democrats and was part of Kreisler’s self-described progressive Comedy Against Evil tour.
Despite heavy advertising for the event, the crowd barely filled the first few rows of the SAC auditorium, something that Kreisler made light of as soon as the show began.
“I’m counting on each of you to laugh for ten people,” Kreisler said.
“I wish more people had come out,” said Stony Brook College Democrats President Kate Watt, “but we booked a big venue in case there was a lot of interest.”
The College Democrats said they enjoyed the performance. As for the controversial material, Watt wasn’t surprised.
“He was exactly what we expected.” Watt had been trying to get the comedian to perform here since last year.
The small crowd even reacted nervously to some of his jokes, especially those that implied something more sinister about Republicans than even the room full of liberals would think.
When he poked fun at the people who questioned when Obama was born, he suggested that John McCain could have been brainwashed in Vietnam and that it was a much more reasonable thought than any conspiracy involving Kenya.
“Unlike George Bush,” he said of McCain, “he did not skip the Vietnam War. He just sucked at it.”
Despite his affiliation with Comedy Central, where the two biggest stars argue for sanity in politics, he compared Republicans to Nazis.
“Where are Republicans going to threaten to move?” he asked after observing that Democrats occasionally say they’ll move to Canada if things get too bad here. “1930s Germany?”
He even took aim at the President’s ethnicity.
“If an African-American can become President of the United States with just a catchy slogan, then shouldn’t the rest of us be able to make billions of dollars with just a catchy slogan? Yes we can.”
After the performance, Kreisler said he often walked the line between comedy and controversy.
“I like to think that even when I push it a little bit, I just provide a different view,” he said. Because of that attitude, and because of a personality that he called both silly and serious, Kreisler said he was drawn to political comedy.
“It speaks to issues in my mind of the abuse of power,” he said of his routine. He added how important it was to generate discussion on the topics he joked about, which include student loans, racism and threats he saw conservatives posing to the poor.
“I found, even in my own life, I’d roll my eyes about boring talks on any topics. When you add humor, you stay engaged.”