Lizz Winstead

At home in New York, in the middle of her My State of the Union comedy tour, Lizz Winstead is bummed to hear that Clint Didier didn’t make it into the final round of our gubernatorial election. Has the Tea Party been comedy gold, I ask, to her tribe of political satirists? “What’s good for comedy is usually not good for the nation,” says Winstead, who famously co-created The Daily Show (back in the pre-Jon Stewart era). “The Michelle Bachmann phenomenon has been an absolute boon.” Likewise the constant Twittering of Sarah Palin and daily meltdowns of Glenn Beck—more fresh grist for the mill? “It is the greatest thing ever for me, absolutely,” she replies. “To be a really good political satirist, you have to be writing constantly. And you have to be willing to kill jokes that aren’t in the news. My material is pretty much 30 percent new in each show.” So what makes the Mt. Vernon-raised Beck so popular, so visceral to his viewers? “Because he’s all emotion-based. He’s given people this set of values that requires nothing of them. You instill this fear of the people who’ve been elected—who [supposedly] don’t think very highly of you, who think you’re stupid. When people are desperate, they just want to believe anything they’ve heard. If you bring up the facts, it’s inconvenient.” BRIAN MILLER

Fri., Sept. 17, 8 & 10 p.m., 2010

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