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Sarah Silverman, Sarah Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Patton Oswalt joined other comedians on Friday to support a fundraiser seeking to improve voter registration and turnout in the Georgia runoff elections.
During “Riffing For The Georgia Runoffs,” hosted by the civic engagement organization The Comedy Resistance and benefiting voter registration and get-out-the-vote work, Andrew Yang and former Rep. Katie Hill performed a comedic bit involving Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, Dulcé Sloan discussed voting at a Georgia mall and Oswalt extolled the virtues of phone-banking. Rep. Ilhan Omar, Trae Crowder, Fortune Feimster, Blaire Erskine and Richard Barney also appeared over the course of the evening, which was emceed by Orlando Leyba.
The event kicked off with Yang and Hill, who performed a sketch where they both asked Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s politically pointed questions. Yang interrogated Alexa about Georgia runoff ballot dates and healthcare before posing some difficult questions about Amazon’s labor practices (“Alexa, do you worry about getting paid minimum wage by Amazon?”), to which Alex demurred. Hill, for her part, asked, “Has the Kraken been released by the voters of Georgia?” (“I don’t know that one,” Alexa answered.) Yang finished the bit by asking Siri whether Alexa was her “frenemy” and Hill told the audience, “So make sure you go out and vote.”
During her set, Sloan noted that she had in fact just arrived in Georgia and cracked some jokes about loving Atlanta because “there are so many Black people.” (When she arrived at the Atlanta airport, she claimed, an airline employee stopped her: “They were like, ‘Sis, sis, sis you need to take care of those elbows.'” She added, “I’m like, ‘Sis, I just came from New York, of course I was ashy… we all know a winter coat will keep you warm but it takes all the moisture in your body as a human sacrifice.'”) Sloan said she had accompanied her brother and mom to a polling place at the South DeKalb mall, where she saw a truck rolling by with a sign that read “Joy to the Polls” and a rapper performing in the back of the truck.
Sloan was followed by Rep. Omar, who said she couldn’t stay long because she was about to join her Democratic colleagues in attempting to push for a new COVID-19 relief package: “Seriously, Republicans are like those weird rich people who pinch pennies, like Scrooge McDuck,” she said. Of the Georgia runoffs, she added that “It is as important a task as Democrats have had in the last five years. Just imagine what we could get done if we [took control of] the Senate?” (On her wishlist: passing a new COVID relief bill and a new Voting Rights Act.)
The penny-pinching nature of the rich was also a theme in Oswalt’s appearance, where he said of the Trump presidency, “I really hope that these past four years have kind have shown people, if only subconsciously, that the super-rich are not like us and are super weird and maybe not the best to make policy for you.” (He later called the Trump presidency a “Boomer generation temper tantrum.”) Oswalt also spoke about his recent experiences phone banking: “If you’ve never phone banked, just do one session. It’s so easy. I’m not saying you will all love it, some of you will probably hate it because it’s really rough. But if you’re like me, you will become very addicted,” he said.
Cooper’s set focused on her experience as a person with Jamaican heritage in America: “I am Black, but then again, am I? I consider myself Black but other people don’t,” she said. “I worked at Google for a while, and I realize that’s not helping my case.” She also joked about winding up 2020 with sending out holiday cards that read “If you’re reading this, it means you survived, congratulations” and her bar for 2021 being “hopefully it exists, hopefully it happens.”
Silverman, for her part, recalled the last time she performed stand-up, on the road in Hawaii. While there, she remembered visiting a hotel pool that specified visitors who had had diarrhea within the last two weeks not allowed: “That is such a roundabout way of saying ‘No Jews allowed,'” she joked. In the middle of her set, she added, “If you’re in Georgia, vote, voting is happening now.”
Galifianakis introduced a video that capped off the event with a joke about the 2016 presidential election: “Four years ago, the last presidential election, I told my wife, I said, ‘We’re moving, we’re leaving.’ And we’ve lived in Trump Tower now for four years,” he said. “It’s been a nice run. Good people, really nice people.” He then presented a music video he helped create set to Rufus Wainwright’s song “Spotlight on Christmas,” that juxtaposed images of the Trump family (timed to the song’s every mention of “poor little rich” boys or girls) with images of people celebrating the holidays amid COVID as well as Galifianakis dancing and playing air guitar in a onesie on a beach.
The Georgia runoff elections, which take place for federal, state and local races on Jan. 5, with early voting beginning Dec. 14, will decide whether Republicans or Democrats control the U.S. Senate.
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