The Comedy Cabinet: 2016 in Review

Photo: Courtesy
Ryan Singer

Chief Comedy Critic Amy Martin gives cabinet positions to her favorite performers of the year.

published Thursday, December 29, 2016

If comedians ruled the nation it would be a far better place. Most are honest in communications and rabid against hypocrisy. They’d be vastly more intelligent, educated, and even ethical than the upcoming cabinet. Compare our outgoing Secretary of Energy, a nuclear physicist who boasts a pocketful of PhDs, with the incoming one, a wannabe oil magnate who racked up a 2.6 G.P.A. in an animal husbandry bachelor degree. But don’t call it a clown cabinet — that is an insult to clowns. My suggestions for a Comedy Cabinet are based on who blew through North Texas in 2016. 

Vice President

Robert Dubac

Since our president-to-be is a temperamental toddler with a Twitter addiction, it’s vital that the vice-president (who heads the cabinet) be an adult with a fully developed prefrontal cortex. Nobody in the comedy world adults better than Robert Dubac. He respects women, as his show The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron? (August; Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts) attests. And his fall offering, The Book of Moron (November; Eisemann) shows he understands the U.S. voter.


Attorney General 

Elayne Boosler (March; Kessler Theater) has been slinging comedic barbs against injustice since the ’80s. The woman’s sense of empathy is ninja level. She would kick major bigot butt and go after greed like Kali on steroids.


Secretary of Agriculture 

She owns a farm, likes livestock, knows the rural mindset, and always stands up for the little guy. Kathleen Madigan (January: Majestic Theater) would ace this position and turn her pal Lewis Black loose on Monsanto.


Photo: Courtesy
Kathleen Madigan


There are Second City branches in Chicago, Toronto, and Hollywood with shows for every interest and age range, countless corporate events, and almost as many touring shows (November; Unelectable You; Majestic Theatre). These people know business and are extremely skilled at using humor to slay hubris and level the playing field.



As we’ve learned, modern threats to American national security are not military but cyber. Geek goddess Jackie Kashian (June; Amphibian Stage Productions) would call out her nerd army and fix it quick.



Matthew Broussard (September; Laughs by the Lake, Irving) is the product of academic scientist parents, put a bachelor degree to work as a financial analyst, crafts small sculptures for a hobby, and laces his stand-up comedy with references to literature, medicine, and history. Fun grins, he spins out a weekly visual puzzle-pun that is devilishly difficult. He covers just about every field of education and does indeed know how to make learning enjoyable.



“Weird Al” Yankovic knows the answer to our energy problems: polka.  Most energetic show (July; Winspear Opera House) of any kind all year.


Photo: Courtesy
Matthew Broussard

Health and Human Services 

Quiz-show hosts like Ophira Eisenberg of Ask Me Another (October; Majestic Theatre) are uniquely positioned to understand humans. They get the relationship between Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and humans that function fully in society. And in the nature of the show, she’d lay out that logic rapidly with a banger of a punchline.


Homeland Security 

Aaron Aryanpur (July; Backdoor Comedy Club) is the product of a Persian-immigrant father and a Jewish mother, and his last name references Aryan. Talk about hitting all the background bases —that’s priceless perspective. Plus he knows the foolproof way to detect a terrorist — they lack a sense of humor. He just has to do a few routines and see if they laugh. Now that’s the kind of profiling we can get behind.


Housing and Urban Development

Few performers are more urban than Upright Citizens Brigade (August; Dallas City Performance Hall). Through the art of improv they help diverse minds get along by spurring innate creativity. You can’t fight when you’re having fun. Peace to the projects, baby!



Ryan Singer (May; Amphibian Stage Productions) is not particularly a lover of nature, or even well versed in natural resources. Few comics are. But Singer is an expert on the human interior, from unconscious to conscious and all states between. When people are asked what brings them peace, nature is usually at the top of the list. Singer would decree: More nature for navel gazing!



It wasn’t all that long ago that Kyle Kinane (March; Amphibian Stage Productions) was toiling in piss-ant jobs. He understands manual labor. Plus he has the requisite tattoos a labor secretary who’s actually pro-labor should have.


Photo: Courtesy
Elayne Boosler


America’s reputation around the world is already back in the dumpster. We need ambassadors that make people love us again, who are funny and endearing but also passionate about humanity. Who better then than Fun House Theater & Film (March and July; Plano Children’s Theater)? Plus hard truths are so much easier to take coming out of the mouth of a cute kid.



Transportation is all about matter in motion. Lone Star Circus (December; Dallas Children’s Theater) is nothing but matter in motion. They’d take a super creative approach to transportation: networks of trapeze swings, people commuting in cyr wheels, aerial silks for vertical movements. Very pedestrian friendly! And primed for future hoverboards.



Jay Leno (Winspear Opera House; December) is worth $350 million.  Nuff said.


Veterans Affairs

He’s never been a veteran, has no administrative experience, but brainiac Myq Kaplan (September; Laughs by the Lake, Irving) has a plan to help veterans: Give up our addiction to foreign wars of choice.