Humor columnist Dave Barry is a matchmaker, but he probably did not know it when he performed before a happy couple at Lisner Auditorium on Wednesday night.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer helped nurture the romance of Patrick Kelly, a GW law student, and his fiancée, Claire Wilson, who will attend the Law School in the fall. The two former Florida State University students bonded over their mutual fondness for Barry’s humor writing and the rest is history.
“Dave Barry’s actually one of the reasons we’re in a relationship,” Kelly said.
Barry had his fair share of romantic aphorisms to offer the couple.
“Guys don’t ask for directions,” Barry said. “That’s why it takes 100 million sperm to locate a single female egg. They’re hanging out by the pancreas saying, ‘It’s around here somewhere.'”
Comedian Allan Goodwin opened for Barry, and reeled off a list of his accomplishments before Barry took the stage. In addition to his 1988 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, Barry was a syndicated columnist for 25 years, has written 30 books and plays lead guitar for The Rock Bottom Remainders, a “literary rock band” whose members include Stephen King and Mitch Albom.
Last night’s topic?
“America’s future,” Barry said. “Jesus H. Christ.”
Barry began his political jokes by recalling the Florida voting fiasco involving hanging chads during the presidential election of 2000. A native of the state, Barry proposed a more effective method of voting for Floridians.
“We have printed faces of the candidates on the ballot, and you vote by poking your candidate’s eyeball out,” Barry said.
Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was in attendance at Barry’s show last night, and Barry told the audience that they had arrived in D.C. on the same plane.
He also informed the crowd that two of his former editors from The Miami Herald – Tom Shroeder and Gene Weingarten – were in the audience. Both of the journalists now work for The Washington Post.
In an interview, Weingarten recalled his first encounter with Barry, which occurred when he had enlisted the Florida native to write a humor column for The Miami Herald.
“The very first words he said to me were, ‘My son is throwing up on my shoe,'” Weingarten said.
The two worked together for 10 years at the Miami Herald and just finished writing a political humor movie together, Weingarten said.
Barry has covered political events frequently in his career. Last night he had a fair share to say about the current administration.
“You get the feeling that (President George W. Bush) is discovering his views as he reads them on a teleprompter.and Vice President (Dick) Cheney is this secretive fellow that you don’t hear about until he shoots somebody,” Barry said.
He also described several of the current presidential candidates for 2008.
“He’s a hero of course, but if he serves two terms he will be 117,” Barry said of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (D-Ariz.).
Barry did not discriminate with his humor, poking fun at presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) as well.
“You genuinely believe she wants to make your life better, and if you try to stop her, she’ll kill you,” he said.
In addition to his political commentary, Barry also made a point of describing his children and pets. He proudly admitted to the audience that he once picked his son up from middle school in the Oscar Myer Weiner Mobile, which he had the opportunity to drive around for a day.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Barry said. “Dave, that was a lot of fun for you, but you scarred your child psychologically for life. Yes, but it was worth it.”
He also described his two dogs, Earnest and Zippy.
“You need a back-up dog in case the main one goes down in a hurricane,” Barry said. “Who will do the farting?”