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.