It was my pleasure this weekend to interview politically conservative satirist Evan Sayet. I have met Evan on several occasions, and have enjoyed his “Right to Laugh” comedy shows at the Friar’s Club in Beverly Hills, among other locations.
His website is http://www.evansayet.com. If any of you cheat and skip the interview, Evan will know about it somehow.
I was initially going to ask him what kind of tree or Al Gore he would be, or which Fox News anchor he most wanted to share a jello bath with, but he told me to leave Greg Gutfield out of this (No, he did not say that).
Although Evan has his roots as a stand up comedian, he has very serious notions and thoughts about very serious topics. Like most people, there is a lot more than meets the eye. Here is the transcript of my interview with Evan Sayet.
1) You were not always politically conservative. What specific events led you to conservatism?
I call myself a 9-13 Republican. I wasn’t surprised by 9/11. Of course I was sickened by the carnage and the specific targets were stunning, knowing that the Islamists were murdering the Jews of Israel for decades for no other reason than that they were the CLOSEST infidels (and because of the Arab/Moslem world’s lack of accomplishment, the only ones they could reach), it didn’t surprise me that when they could they would begin to murder the BIGGEST infidels — Americans.
No, what surprised me took place figuratively on what I call “9-12″ — the days and weeks and months AFTER 9/11 and that was the response of my Liberal friends to the attacks. The notion that we “deserved” them and that somehow we could avoid future attacks by being nicer to the terrorists and giving in to their demands made it clear that there was no place for me in the leftist party.
I began, for the first time, to investigate the Republican and the conservative movement and discovered that not only were the caricatures of them that I’d been raised with weren’t true, they were smarter, more moral, more patriotic and much, much, much more reasonable in their positions than the hysteria I began to recognize was the whole of the Liberal movement.
2) Who are your top 3 political heroes, and why?
I’m not much of a hero-worshiper. There are people who I respect for their intellect, their clarity and, because the leftists along with their Islamist allies are often violent or at least threaten violence, courage as well. My unwitting mentor is Dennis Prager, for their clarity of thought I also turn a great deal to the works of Victor Davis Hanson and Charles Krauthammer. I could list another score whose works inspire me and inform my own works and thinking.
3) Who are your top 3 inspirations that led you to your career in the entertainment industry?
I’m not sure that choice could be called “inspired.” Frankly, I needed a profession where one wasn’t cooped up all day and this was the only job where, as comedian Rich Voss says, “where you can say to your friends ‘I have to go to work…I’ll be right back.’” It was more the liberty that stand-up offered and the luck of the timing where a comedy “boom” was taking place that stand-up suddenly was a real profession where one could make a living.
4) On stage you are funny but the world can be a serious place. What political issues are you most passionate about?
There are two overriding concerns. They are interrelated and virtually all other issues are but subsets. There’s the need to defeat Islamic fascism for the world is truly threatened with a return to a dark age — “reprimitivization” I think Mark Steyn calls it and, despite the left’s inability to recognize it, it is real and it is spreading throughout the world and it is worse in ways than Nazism.
Failing to defeat Islamism makes nothing else of any great importance.
The other great issue has become known as “the culture war” in America and this is related to Islamism because the Democrats’ are so morally and intellectually perverted in their “thinking” they believe that it is America that is evil and the Islamists are the innocent victim of America’s evil prejudices and thus are (sort of) unwitting allies of the movement that threatens the existence of enlightened civilization.
The leftists’ efforts to destroy Western Civilization through the perversion of our children, the promotion of indiscriminate and promiscuous sexual activities, the denigration of our society in their schools and movies, the undermining of the family unit and their portrayal of American patriotism as “xenophobia” are things that have to be beaten back.
5) Who are your favorite 3 comedians, and what do you think makes them so special? The comic whose style most influenced my own is Johnny Carson. His reaction to the audiences’ reactions were often better than the jokes. I also learned how to be a good interviewer from Carson because unlike, say, Leno, Carson allowed the show to speak for itself. If the show worked then he saw it as a success. For this reason, if the guest was doing well on their own he let them roll. He would only insert himself if the guest needed some help (like being asked questions instead of telling a story.)
I was a huge fan of Woody Allen’s stand-up when I was young as well. His stories were well-crafted and intelligent. I loved Rodney and Henny Youngman’s one-liners, but it was the stories of Woody Allen that let me know there was more.
Please don’t think I’m denigrating Rodney because I’m not. In fact I’d say he’d be the third of the three you asked for because his one-liners were as good as they get.
6) Liberal comedians such as Al Franken and Janine Garofolo can be funny when not discussing politics. Why in general are politically liberal stand up comics not successful in doing straight political routines as you are? Or are they? What went wrong with Air America in your opinion?
Liberals have the problem that they are so filled with hate for non-leftists that they cannot laugh at themselves and they cannot give their enemies human qualities. It’s hard to be witty and clever when you consider anyone who disagrees with you to be nothing short of “Hitler.” There just aren’t all that many good “Hitler jokes” out there.
On the other side, they are terrified that if they point out foibles or failures of their own side they are somehow arming the enemy by pointing out their failures. This leaves them very little to actually make jokes about. This is why when John Kerry turned to the best leftist political comedian he could find, Whoopi Goldberg, for his big event at Radio City Music Hall a few years ago, the best joke she could make was to point to her crotch and say “Bush? I have a bush in my pants.” Air America failed because the Modern Liberal cannot compete in any forum where debate and discussion is allowed. Their arguments are so devoid of truth that they only succeed in those venues where they can LECTURE to other people swearing that their lies are the truth. This is why they do well on the 23-minute nightly news programs on the networks where the anchor dictates “the truth” but fail miserably on the hour-ling debate and discussion programs on the cable news channels. On talk radio the host gives his opinion — and admits it’s his opinion — and then must be prepared to thoughtfully answer up to forty callers challenging his assumptions and facts. Because the leftists’ assumptions and facts are wrong, they cannot survive the challenge.
7) Which politicians past and present from a comedic standpoint are the “gift that keeps on giving?” Which are more difficult to have fun with?
It’s easier to make fun of George Bush both because he is the President and he stands out as opposed to Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid whose jobs and personalities are lesser known. For this reason I try to play to audiences who are extremely knowledgeable about politics.
Watch a Leno monologue and you’ll see that his punchlines almost invariably address the most obvious, well-known and caricatured aspect of the subject. Boris Yeltsin being a drunk, George Bush being “stupid,” Bill Clinton being a philanderer, etc. Lesser known politicians don’t tend to have that one thing that stands out. Further, because they are protected by their co-ideologists in the media, those that would stand out, such as Nancy Pelosi’s staggering stupidity, are covered-up by the press and thus not of much use in front of a general audience.
8.) Many funny individuals from Jim Carrey to Bill Murray to Adam Sandler have tried to grow beyond comedy, taking on serious roles. Do you want to stay on the comedy side, or do you want to branch out into more serious endeavors?
I don’t bill myself as a stand-up comedian. I call myself a “satirist” so that it’s understood that my shows aren’t going to be “joke-joke-joke” and that there’s going to be more heft to it. I also have a very serious presentation of my unique understanding of the Modern Liberal “thinks” and why they side invariably and inevitably with evil, failure and wrong. This more serious talk I call “Regurgitating the Apple: How Modern Liberals ‘Think’” as opposed to the “satire” which I call my “Right to Laugh” tour. Sometimes, especially when I play colleges or symposiums, I’ll do the comedy one night and sit on or moderate a serious panel the next day.
9) In your lifetime, what television comedies have you enjoyed the most? What made them so good?
When I was young I loved the TV show “MASH.” I didn’t realize how it was intended to indoctrinate people into the leftist mindset and enjoyed both the storylines with their life-and-death undertones and the sometimes smart, sometimes silly but always rapid-fire delivery of Hawkeye Pierce whom I fancied myself a disciple.
These days I find myself watching very little episodic TV but I do like “Monk” a lot for it’s clever twists and interesting characterizations and the animated shows like The Simpsons and even “Family Guy” (although I’ve grown sick of their gratuitous and hateful attacks on America and Americans). These shows, though, have some of the cleverest lines and can do almost anything for they don’t have to worry about reality.
10) Do you feel the increased amount of sex, violence, and foul language in comedy routines is problematic for society, or are concerns about this much ado about nothing at all?
This is much of what I write about and I think that it’s part of the leftists’ plan to undermine the values of American society. They hope to destroy the innocence of America’s youth and undermine the values that made the last century the “American Century” and which created “The Greatest Generation.”
11) If you had an invitation to the White House, would you prefer to do a stand up routine for the President, or interview him? What would you say to or ask him?
First I would thank the President for defending this nation, for being, according to Ariel Sharon (and he was right) “the best friend Israel has ever had,” and I would implore him to take off the gloves and start fighting back against the leftists who are not constrained in their attacks by such things as truth, morality and decency. The left HATES America and because the President isn’t fighting back hard enough, they are winning the battle in the minds of many Americans.
Thanks to their lies in the leftist media, for example, people think this economy — one of the best in human history — is in bad shape, they are unaware of the Islamists intentions because the media lies about their crimes by not calling them terrorists and covers-up the perpetrators by not calling them Moslem.
I have often said that I think the President’s Christianity is his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. It’s has greatest strength because, having a strong moral standard he doesn’t need to take a poll like Bill Clinton to determine what is right and he can continue to do the right things even if it means he’s “less popular.” People who have no values care if they’re popular, people with values care only if they are right.
But Bush’s Christianity, I think, prevents him from taking off the gloves and fighting back against the liars on the left. He keeps “turning the other cheek” as Ted Kennedy slanders him and America, Jimmy Carter goes around the world lying against this nation and Michael Moore gets standing ovations for his lie-filled, anti-American propaganda movies.
12) Do you think it is a positive or negative development that infotainment has become a staple of the nightly news? Should Hollywood celebrities be relegated to shows like “Access Hollywood,” with the news only covering hard news, or is the “dumbing down” of the news overblown, or a myth altogether?
This, too, is a reflection of the lefts’ lack of values and intellect. Because they believe in nothing, celebrity rather than intellect has become the measure of what is right. Why would I care what Barbra Streisand thinks? Because she sings “perty?” It’s asinine — which is why it’s so much a part of the leftist news media these days.
13) Do you belong to any religious faith, and what role does it play in your life? Does it play a role in your comedy routine?
I was raised “culturally Jewish.” What that means is that I was snipped at the age of eight days, was Bar Mitzvah’d 12 years and three hundred something days later with no knowledge whatsoever about what I was saying and with no obligation to actually be a man after that, but I ate my bagels and cream cheese with “lox” as opposed to “smoked salmon.”
I was taught that all religions are basically the same — a lot of tradition, some ritual, a great deal of hocus-pocus, but really no different than any other.
It was only after my rejection of the mindlessness that is behind these “thoughts” that came with my rejection of the utterly mindless Democratic Party after 9/11 that I began to seriously investigate religions, including my own. I have since fallen in love with Judaism (and have the highest regard for Christianity — especially American Christianity which honors its Jewish heritage) and recognize that I have far more in common with a practicing Christian in America than I do with the “secular,” liberal Jew who is really an anti-Semite and America-hater (I explain all this in my forthcoming book).
There are certain givens in my comedy routine and my serious lecture — truths I hold to be self-evident and these include that Judaism and American Christianity are good and the Islamism is evil. It’s discussed and implied throughout my talks.
14) Without mentioning any mediums or television shows in particular, how do you balance the desire to gain exposure, which is vital in the early going, versus protecting the quality of the “Evan Sayet Brand?”
Because I was starting over with my new take on the world, I have been promoting myself in a grassroots fashion. My old rolodex from 20 plus years in show biz could get me a meeting over at “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” but didn’t include the Republican Jewish Coalition of the Women’s Federation of Republicans — people both knowledgeable enough to appreciate and be supportive of my efforts.
Mass exposure, then, hasn’t been my goal. I’ve been building from the local to the state and now to the national by becoming the sort of “go-to guy” for high end, intelligent gatherings such as David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend and CPAC and the like. I’ve also gotten a great deal of support from the talk radio community where I can be both funny and serious depending on what needs to be said.
15) Were you doing comedy or entertainment of any kind in 2001, and did 9/11 force you to make any alterations, especially in the short term? How did 9/11 affect you on a personal level?
I’ve answered this in detail above. In 2001 I was working at an internet company providing content (yes, like so many others I’d been suckered into the dot com world) and writing and producing my documentary on the 70′s for the Discovery Channel (available at my website.)
16) If you are on O’Reilly or Hannity for 5 minutes, what are you talking to them about?
Everything I talk about comes down to a single, overarching subject, how the Modern Liberal “thinks” and why they invariably side with evil over good, wrong over right and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success. Thus, if the subject is their promotion of promiscuity in the schools or trying to undermine our efforts to defeat Saddam Hussein or any other specific issue, it is always approached from the point of my understanding of their agenda and methods.
17) What other projects do you have in the works?
I say that I am in the “conservative thought industry.” That means that I sell my thoughts in a variety of ways: as a guest on talk radio programs or TV (mostly Fox, of course, as the leftists don’t want to hear it), guest hosting these radio shows, writing articles, giving my serious lecture to groups small and large, participating in symposiums, doing the humorous version and right now I am writing the book “Regurgitating the Apple: How Modern Liberals ‘Think’” for publication by Regnery Press in 2008.
18) What other up and coming comedians should America be on the lookout for in the next 2-3 years? What current comedians are the most underrated, and deserving of a breakout? What do you like about them?
I really don’t have the stomach for watching stand-up comedy much these days. Remember, I was a road comic for a decade, eating, sleeping and breathing jokes, routines, other comics, watching the comedy shows to see if they were right for me, etc. That being said, I think Chris Rock borders on the brilliant at times. Jon Stewart is exceptionally funny (although because of his blatant leftist, New York, liberal, Jew, show biz POV the jokes can get old easily).
As far as the “unknowns” go I haven’t the foggiest as I don’t spend any time in the clubs these days nor watch them on TV.
19) What is most important to you in this world?
Right now it is fighting to preserve what Abraham Lincoln rightly recognized as “the last best hope for man on Earth.” If the Islamists win — and that’s almost inevitable if the Democrats win the White House in 2008 as they will run around the world trying to appease them — then nothing else much matters.
20) What do you want people to know about you most?
They don’t need to know anything about me. I have my friends and my family and they need to know me. All anyone else needs to know is my work and to recognize that it doesn’t come from a bearing political hatchet — I was one of them until I came out of my moral and intellectual coma. It’s not a religious thing. I was one of them in that way, too. It’s not that I want “tax cuts for the rich,” for I am far from rich. I have no reason whatsoever to believe what I have come through my studies to believe. In fact, I wish it weren’t true. I wish we had a loyal opposition in America instead of what the Democratic Party has become.
I will never forget listening to a Holocaust survivor talk about her “happy childhood” before the Nazis. Just because everything is wonderful in America today doesn’t mean the Islamists can’t and won’t create another dark age if we don’t stop them. Too many on the left have lived such isolated and privileged lives and have no clue about the real world and the horrors that exist, that they are angry at America for not giving them — literally giving them — everything they want and, because of the narcissism induced in them in the schools and elsewhere through “self-esteem” programs — believe they are entitled to.
I am a patriotic American not because I was born here and am “xenophobic” but because America has afforded me — and all Americans (even the ones taught to cry “victim” at every one of their failures) more freedoms and more opportunities than any other nation in human history. I am grateful, the Democrat feels “entitled” to all that and more.
I would like to thank Evan Sayet for his graciousness and his time. Although he did not ask me to tell any of you this, I want the world to know that in the time it took to conduct and publish this interview, Al Queda formulated more plans to kill us and democrats in Congress did nothing to stop them.
It is a rare pleasure to have somebody who can discuss the War on Terror, make us laugh, and know when each situation is appropriate. Much success Evan.