Magazine article Insight on the News

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going on Barry, (Marion Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC)

Magazine article Insight on the News

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going on Barry, (Marion Barry, Mayor of Washington, DC)

Article excerpt

Although political satirists are struggling to make people laugh about the petty squabblings on Capitol Hill, they always find comic relief in Marion Barry, the much-caricatured mayor of Washington.

When Chris Rock recently taped his HBO comedy special in Washington's Takoma Theatre, he won over the audience early with a homegrown subject: Mayor Marion Barry.

"Marion Barry at the Million Man March! You know what that means?" the comic asked the audience. "That means even in our finest hour, we got a crackhead on stage."

Rock then speculated about how Barry managed to get reelected after being convicted in 1990 of smoking crack cocaine: "I mean, if you get caught smoking crack at McDonald's, you can't get your job back. That's right, they're not going to trust you around the Happy Meals."

Rock isn't the only funnyman using Barry as comedy fodder. Since returning to office in 1994, the mayor has become a regular target for jokesters such as Jay Leno and David Letterman, who has invited Barry on his show three times this year with no luck. Along with such national standbys as the Clintons, Bob Dole and Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the comedians have made the mayor a stape in the comedic diets of millions of Americans.

Eddie Feldmann, producer and head writer for Dennis Miller Live, says Barry was fair game in the past because he broke the public trust by using drugs. But recently, on the occasion of Barry's return to the city after his controversial leave of absence, Miller found it in himself to cut the mayor some slack. …

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