Sean O’Brien knows Washington inside and out. And he knows it’s funny.
After nearly a decade on Capitol Hill, O’Brien, chief of staff to Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), plumbs politics for laughs in his annual one-man improv show, which will be at the D.C. Fringe Festival.
“I went to college with [‘Saturday Night Live’ star] Seth Meyers,” O’Brien told ITK, “and we reconnected in Amsterdam a few years later, where I started doing a little improv at his suggestion. I found out I really liked it.”
After he moved back to his hometown of Chicago, O’Brien trained with the world-famous Second City Comedy Troupe, and, after he got a job in 2002 as an intern in then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel’s (D-Ill.) office, he took the laughs with him to D.C.
O’Brien worked for Emanuel and Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) before joining Quigley’s staff in 2009, and this will be his third straight year of performing in the Fringe Festival. His show is called “McSwiggin’s Pub,” and, according to O’Brien, it’s set in “a D.C. dive bar, where several patrons discuss the issues of the day and their own dysfunctional lives.”
There are five characters, all of whom seem tailor-made for laughs from congressional staffers: “Joe the Irish bartender, Howard the Tea Partier, Roy the young junior staffer, Bob the lobbyist and Rufus the Iraq vet/House subway driver,” he explains.
The show will be at the Goethe Institute theater in Chinatown from this Friday through next Wednesday. Check the Fringe Festival’s website for tickets and times.