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"Shoot the Messenger" at The Green Room Theatre in Soho

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Shoot the Messenger
By Lizz Winstead
Lizz Winstead
Baron Vaughan
Benari Poulten
Carol Hartsell
Cliff Schecter
Press; Jim Colucci
The Green Room Theatre
45 Bleeker Street at Lafayette

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 23, 2008

In a more than casual setting, downstairs in the Green Room Theatre at 45 Bleeker, in Soho, Lizz Winstead, former creator and producer of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”, greets her guests at 24/7 Cable TV Station, while Benari Poulten intermittently signals the audience to applaud. There’s a spontaneous and serendipitous ambiance at this loosely organized show, but one that feeds the need of cable news junkies, like myself. Unlike the Broadway news-comedies of Bill Maher and Jackie Mason, or the Off-Broadway shows, like Bush Is Bad or Political Idol, Shoot the Messenger is the kind of show that really changes each Monday night (performed once/week), with actual news videos and take-off commentaries.

To begin the show, in addition to astoundingly current Obama, Clinton, McCain, wildfire, flood-torn Iowa, and national poll videos, Ms. Winstead, as Hope Jean Paul, is joined by her Co-Host Baron Vaughn, aka Davis Miles, for “the six-hour, Wake Up World”. Ms. Winstead affects the accent and attitude of some female cable hosts, who personalize the news with breezy anecdotes and seamless segues from weather disasters to celebrity divorces to war news to recipes. Clips of “The View”, “Ellen”, and a McCain reaction to the comment of the day, whiz by in windy sequence. The target audience, according to Hope and Davis, is “low info”, and Hope says early on, “Let us do the thinking for you!” Amidst the news tonight, Ms. Winstead’s show welcomed “Wedding in a Week” specialist, Carol Hartsell, as Rhoda Rhynerson, who is accompanied by the lucky bride, who wins freebie food and bridal décor from a wide variety of kitschy sponsors, all of whom are sarcastically plugged.

During the news festivities and intermission, the bar is open with drinks, pretzels, and chips, and people seem to float into this other world, this weekly happening, with its fresh, cathartic unpeeling of politics and the media. After intermission, Ms. Winstead sits on the same couch, minus the long, curly wig, and interviews a political news celebrity. Tonight we met Cliff Schecter, who just wrote The Real McCain. He took questions from the audience, which is tough and informed, and offered to sign copies of his book, which was on sale at the bar. Shoot the Messenger, as I mentioned, is a Monday night happening, where you can sit or socialize with politically savvy guests and even meet a celebrity or two. There is nothing “low information” about this show. Kudos to Lizz Winstead. Tickets are available at

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at