If, like me, you’re depressed by the already-bitter presidential campaigning in both parties ("A choice of cancer or polio," as the Rolling Stones once sang; bonus points to the first PW-er who can name that tune without looking it up on the Internet), David Mamet may have a tonic for you. His new political satire, November, opens this Friday on Broadway, with Nathan Lane starring as a hacky president facing a tough re-election bid. To promote the show, Mamet has been blogging in character as President Charles H.P. Smith, casually dropping extremist pronouncements about various issues of the day. (He’ll continue doing so for the duration of the play’s run.)
I have to say, Mamet’s parodic political proclamations aren’t making me laugh as much as they should, perhaps because I spend far too much time reading political blogs, and I’ve seen stuff out there that’s far more outrageous than anything Mamet has dreamed up here. (It’s really hard for political satire to outdistance reality, though Mamet did pull it off with startling prescience in the screenplay he co-wrote for Wag the Dog.) Still, we have to take political laughs where we can find them these days, especially with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert trying not to peeve the Writers Guild by coming up with actual jokes. Besides, it’s nice to read something from Mamet that isn’t NSFW. Read for yourselves, PW-ers, and decide if Mamet’s satirical jabs are timely and hilarous or stale and tame.