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Founder Elaina Newport discusses the recently disbanded political satire troupe and its halcyon days.


CaltechLive! presents Last Laugh with Elaina Newport, an afternoon in conversation with a Capitol Steps' founding member on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at 5 p.m. PDT.

Newport will be speaking with Michael Alexander, public programming director at Caltech, and Sarah A. Spitz, former KCRW radio producer, about the comedy troupe's four decades of political satire, providing an afternoon of fond remembrances, storytelling, and laughter. This event is free, but reservations are required.

This past January, the group, known for its musical political satire, announced on Twitter that it had disbanded after 39 years of "putting the MOCK in democracy." "Like many in the entertainment business," the statement said, "we simply weren't built to survive going a year or more without live performances."

"Still, we're looking on the bright side," Newport added. "When we first began as a group of Senate staffers, no one imagined we'd be traveling the country and doing this show for 39 years. Frankly, back then, we thought we'd be told to stop, or get fired, or both! But it's been a great ride, and our trips to Caltech in the spring were the highlight of each year. We've loved every minute of it."

The Capitol Steps made its first appearance on the Beckman Auditorium stage in 1991 and has closed every CaltechLive! performing arts season since, until the global COVID-19 pandemic halted all live performances in 2020. Fittingly, Last Laugh will serve as the season closer for the CaltechLive! virtual 2020-2021 season.

"Tens of thousands of Caltech audience members have shared almost three decades of laughs at the expense of both the left and the right-of course, to everyone's benefit," said Alexander. "Laughter is, after all, the best medicine!"

Newport will be interviewed jointly by Alexander and Spitz, who produced the Capitol Steps for broadcast on public radio stations nationwide.

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