Comedy writers storming the Hill



CORRECTED 9:45 a.m. PT Jan. 18

WASHINGTON -- A group of Emmy-winnning writers from "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," "The Colbert Report" and "The West Wing," along with WGA East president Michael Winship, plan a comedy event at the House Judiciary Committee on Jan. 23 as a way to help lawmakers understand the issues at stake in the strike.

Washington has been sitting on the sidelines as the strike grinds on, but that doesn't mean lawmakers and the writers have been ignoring each other. In November, labor leaders pushed their cause with lawmakers and the FCC when WGA West president Patric Verrone and SAG president Alan Rosenberg met with lawmakers and the FCC in an attempt to educate policymakers on the issues.

"Daily Show" writers Rachel Axler, Tim Carvell, Jason Ross and Kevin Bleyer; "Colbert" writers Michael Brumm, Tom Purcell, Peter Grosz and Peter Gwinn; and "West Wing's" Allison Abner hope to put a different spin on the issue.

While the writers' mock "State of the Union" debate on the strike and other issues is supposed to be funny, it also will lay out for lawmakers and their aides what is a serious issue, said Margaret Cone, a WGAE representative here.

Reps. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., invited the union to make its presentation. All are familiar with the issues, having looked into the settlement talks between the unions and the networks in New York.

TV writers have been out of contract since Oct. 31 and walking picket lines sinceNov. 5. Their last bargaining session with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers was Dec. 7.