Is there a greater conspiracy theorist than an elected official obsessed with staying in office?
Political comedian Andrew Heaton thinks not.
The “Cap South” vet and former House aide tries to get inside the head of a three-term congressman with a serious chip on his shoulder in the NSFW series chronicling the mental devolution of candidate Buck Schwartzmore.
“There's something very funny to me about the concept of a politician whose singular drive in life is to win elections, even if he doesn't need to and starting them is to his detriment,” Heaton said of his cockeyed view of Congress.
Heaton got an inside look at the institution during the two years (2009-2010) he spent working for former Blue Dog Democrats Dan Boren of Oklahoma and Tim Holden of Pennsylvania. He channeled some of the insights gained during that time into his book, “Laughter is Better Than Communism ,” and draws on others to fuel his sketch comedy and acting career.
Heaton recently migrated to the director’s chair, releasing his first attempt — peddling faux “Uberdunger Cologne for Men ” in a parody ad — in early March. The Schwartzmore campaign marks Heaton’s second time putting in the work on both sides of the lens.
He hopes others will follow him down the rabbit hole in the coming weeks as he spins out glimpses into Schwartzmore’s crumbling psyche.
“In all of them we begin to understand that Buck is a bit of a sociopath, but assumes everyone else is as well. So in his mind, he is the only honest candidate, unfairly misaligned by sanctimonious opponents,” he shared.
Fleshing out such a deeply troubled individual comes naturally to Heaton.
“Buck Schwartzmore's brilliance would not consist in his specific purview as a legislator, but rather his ability to connect virtually any policy discussion or even simple things like ‘lunch’ or ‘weather’ to his unwavering support of veterans, promoting family values, God and/or gods, supporting the middle class, and the size and breadth of his patriotic lapel flag pin collection,” he quipped when asked about the fictional Marylander’s particular skill set.
Breaking down make-believe monsters remains much easier, Heaton suggested, than attempting to fully comprehend what is happening in the current presidential contest.
While he appreciates the comedic fodder being doled out by insult-slinging candidates on both sides of the aisle (“From a joke-writing perspective it's an embarrassment of riches,” he asserted), Heaton can’t help but wonder if we’ve all been yanked through the looking glass.
“I've gone from amused, to baffled, to slightly worried, to horrified, to now openly considering if I'm in an alternate universe where America is in love with a price-whinging socialist and a fascist Muppet,” he said via email. “I keep expecting to wake up and find out what President Huntsman has been up to back in the real universe.”