Steve Bridges: The Red, White, and Blue Comedy Tour. At the Lobero Theatre, Thursday, August 17.
Reviewed by Carlos Morton
People underestimate President George Bush. They are disarmed by his babbling, forced grammatical syntax, canned gestures, and especially that silly smirk, like he’s pulling something over on us. When my wife sees him on TV she says, “Wipe that silly smirk off your face, boy!” Then there’s the accent. Why is it that among the entire Bush family, “Dubya” is the only one who speaks with a Texas twang? Is his good-ol’-boy image just an act, or is G. W. Bush for real? Perhaps it takes an actor like Steve Bridges doing a tight impersonation of him to show just how odd the president’s public persona really is.
Bush, who has already been fodder for the humor of Doonesbury, Letterman, and Leno, now has the full attention of impressionist Steve Bridges, and the man’s abilities as a mimic are considerable. When Bridges appeared with Bush on television several weeks ago it was hard to tell them apart. As Bridges proceeded to mock Bush during their photo op, Dubya looked decidedly uncomfortable. Why did the president consent to “play the fool”? Perhaps his people thought this would bolster his image as a good sport who can take a joke.
In any case, the packed house at the Lobero Theatre was roaring with laughter last Thursday night. Not only is Steve Bridges a dead ringer for Bush, he also has all the gestures down pat — the inflection, the twang, the exaggerated body language, the pregnant pauses, and especially the evil little grin. With only a podium for a prop, Bridges worked the audience into a frenzy. I laughed so hard it hurt.
My son accompanied me, and his response made it clear that Bridges was reaching all the generations with his comedy. He said that, to him, “Mimicking Bush takes away the worry that the president is ruining — er, running — the country, and allows me to laugh and relax.” The only downside to the show was that it was exceedingly brief. There was another comic who warmed up the crowd for 20 minutes, starting at 8, before Bridges came on, and Bridges was done by 9:15. Still, congratulations should go to Bridges, as he left even those of us who are sick of Bush wanting more.