My Journal for The Barack Show!
By Keith Powell
When my agent called and told me I had been hired as a writer for Barack Obama’s half-hour comedy spectacular The Barack Show!, I had only one question: “Who is Barack Obama?”
And after that was explained to me (and a few other interesting facts about this whole “politics” thing), I was in. Sensing this would be one of the most important weeks of my life (not as big as the time I convinced those twins I was Sidney Poitier, but still pretty big), I kept a journal of my experiences so future generations could learn from my wisdom (something I wished I’d done during the twins thing). Excerpts below…
9:45 a.m.: Started with a pitch meeting. The senator wants to do a Laugh-In-style review show starring prominent Democrats. The room seemed cold to my “Cooking With Bill Ayers” sketch idea.
12:32 p.m.: Getting to know the other writers. Some of these guys have been working together forever: James Carville and Al Franken are telling raunchy stories about Tipper Gore. Keith Olbermann keeps trying to sell me some land in Vancouver. Bruce Vilanch is exactly how I expected.
9:15 a.m.: The day started strong. I have divided the staff into the two standard groups: those who know who I am and those who do not. Honestly, though, I think some people are just pretending not to know who I am because they’re intimidated.
1:35 p.m.: Note to self: The senator is not actually a rock star and has no opinion on my demo tape of me karaoke-ing OK Computer.
10:45 a.m.: Not to be outdone, John McCain is developing a rival show in the studio next door, called John McCain’s Hee-Haw! I snuck over there and stole one of their performers. Who knew Joe the Plumber was a plate twirler?! Check and mate.
10:45 p.m.: Joe could not twirl a plate. Whole day wasted.
3:45 p.m.: It’s tough to keep this show to 30 minutes. The senator has a long and complicated magic trick that requires an immense backstory and a minimal understanding of theoretical physics in order to truly appreciate. I have to say I like McCain’s “There’s a Quarter in Your Ear” better. It’s more flash.
7:55 p.m.: The Obama-Biden duet of “Faith” has been cut.
8:05 p.m.: Michelle brings the house down with her original composition, “Barack, You Is My President Now.” On a positive note, my modified Bill Ayers sketch (now called “Swift Boat Terrorists for Confusion”) survives...
Keith Powell plays Toofer on NBC’s 30 Rock. A new episode of his comedy Web series, “Keith Powell Directs a Play,” is posted the first of every month on his Website, PowelltothePeople.net.