Presidential election taking toll on comedians

Culture of comedic audiences

MINNEAPOLIS - The presidential election has become so negative that some comedians appear to be tapping out.

This week, The Second City, a famed comedy theater in Chicago saw it's fourth actor leave, in part, because of rude audience behavior. The actors blame Donald Trumps rhetoric for the increase in vulgar outbursts and racist remarks during their shows.

“I really think he gave people carte blanche to act and behave hateful," actor Peter Kim told WBBM radio.

In Minneapolis, the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre is currently showing a political sketch comedy show called "The Lady and The Trump", but the actors say the crowds have been great.

“We have a pretty hip audience I think," said Ryan Nelson, who plays Donald Trump. "I mean, they’re all pretty knowledgeable and if they’re not, I mean, it’s a Minnesota audience so they don’t get too crazy about anything.”

Laura Anderson, who plays Hillary Clinton, agreed.

"When they don’t like something, instead of heckling or calling things out, or saying something terrible, often times they just won’t laugh, or they won’t clap," Anderson said with a laugh. "So they’re like silent protests.”

Despite the respectful crowd, the actors say they have noticed a difference as the election has dragged on.

“It almost becomes like not funny anymore because (the candidates) are already like too over the top or too crazy. It’s like where do we go from here?” Anderson said. “Back when we opened the show people were laughing a lot more at Trump and now they’re not having any of it.”

At the beginning of "The Lady and The Trump" the actors have the audience recite an oath calling for everyone to respect each other. They say any audience member who breaks that oath would likely be asked to leave.

The production runs through November 5.    


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