'Will on the Hill' pokes fun at 2016 election
© Courtesy Photo

Let’s face it — 2016 election-related jokes write themselves, so why not take advantage of the campaign?

ADVERTISEMENT
That was theme of this year’s annual “Will on the Hill” performance of the Shakespeare Theatre Company on Monday night, when lawmakers, media bigwigs and D.C. influencers dressed in Shakespeare-era garb poked fun at politics and Beltway insiders.

This year’s performance featured guest actors Reg E. Cathey, who is best known for his Emmy-winning role as "Freddy" on the Netflix series "House of Cards" and Tom Story, a veteran of the D.C. theatre scene.

The performance, “Heavy Lies the Head,” by Peter Byrne, followed a scenario in which Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanThe Hill Interview: Budget Chair Black sticks around for now Gun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker Tim Murphy to retire at end of term MORE (R-Wis.) has stepped down and no one in Washington will take his job.

“Hearing the Speaker called it quits is like hearing the Cubs didn’t make the [World] Series,” joked Story. “What’s Ben Carson doing these days?”

"Still waiting to come on stage,” actress Felicia Curry shot back, poking fun at his awkwardly botched debate entrance last February, as the crowd erupted in laughter.

“We all agreed there would be no Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE jokes in here,” warned Cathey. “The last thing we need is to have that man have an excuse to tweet about us.”

The hourlong performance also poked fun at Metro’s repair plan, the Keystone XL pipeline, “the war on Christmas,” people who stand on the left side of escalators — the unspoken no-no in D.C. — "Game of Thrones" binge-watchers and lobbyists representing clients such as hover board manufacturers.

“I’m a Washington insider. I listen to people and sell what I hear. My name is not important, as it will never appear,” rhymed Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist, playing the stereotype of a lobbyist, as the crowd roared with laughter. “My birth certificate reads ‘deep background.’ I’m a professional tattletale. I have little birds all around the city — and for the right price I’ll tell you.”

Congressional cast members included Sen. Chris CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsThis week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Lift the Jones Act and similar restrictions for humanitarian crises Overnight Tech: White House unveils tech education initiative | Bannon reportedly sought to spy on Facebook | Uber CEO to appeal London ban | John Oliver rips AT&T-Time Warner merger MORE (D-Del.), Reps. Suzanne BonamiciSuzanne Marie BonamiciReporter beats lawmakers to win charity spelling bee Gore wishes Mikulski a happy birthday at 'Inconvenient Sequel' premiere Dems to Mattis: Don't delay transgender enlistment policy MORE (D-Ore.), Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Gerry ConnollyGerry ConnollyBipartisan pair wants commission to oversee Iran deal Dem lawmaker warns of 'political and moral limitations’ to working with Trump Dems ready to deal with Trump — but it's complicated MORE (D-Va.), Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Daniel M. Donovan (R-N.Y.), Janice Hahn (D-Calif.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Jim McDermottJim McDermottLobbying World Dem lawmaker: Israel's accusations start of 'war on the American government' Dem to Trump on House floor: ‘Stop tweeting’ MORE (D-Wash.),  Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Terri SewellTerri SewellDems call for B to boost rural broadband Ex-CIA chief: Trump will do 'lasting harm to American society' Biden endorses Dem in Alabama Senate primary MORE (D-Ala.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Mike Turner (R-Ohio), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).

Several D.C. media figures, including The Hill’s publisher, Johanna Derlega, and Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack, MSNBC’s Michael Steele, Roll Call’s Melinda Henneberger and ABC’s Rick Klein also took part.

Following the program, Rangel and McDermott, the retiring cast members, were honored for their performances. McDermott had been the longest-running congressional cast member for “Will on the Hill.”

The fundraising event, whose sponsors include The Hill, hit a new record by raising $517,000 for the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s community programs.