Posted by Feder Reader on February 22, 2011 at 01:32:20:
On the eve of Tuesday’s mayoral election, political satire collided with reality when a cadre of real Chicago pols jumped on the bandwagon of Ed Bus (pictured above), fictional alderman of the city’s nonexistent 53rd ward.
Illinois Senate president John Cullerton led the list of luminaries throwing their support behind (and occasionally ripping into) the unabashed Democratic machine ward heeler, who boasts a 100 percent pro-Daley voting record in the city council and whose campaign slogan is: “Keep It Like It Was.”
Others who took to the stage Saturday at Gallery Cabaret for what was billed as “The Alderman Ed Bus Victory Party” included 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack, former 42nd Ward Ald. Burt Natarus and 20th Ward aldermanic candidate Che Rhymefest Smith.
Bus and his candidacy are the creation of the Chicago sketch comedy ensemble Schadenfreude, which has played out the campaign in a series of hilarious online videos, staged media events and mock press releases (including the alderman’s 2010 tax return).
Complicit in the gag have been a variety of familiar Chicago figures, including Tribune columnists Eric Zorn and Rick Kogan, Eight Forty-Eight host Alison Cuddy, Chicago Newsroom moderator Ken Davis, Chicago Reader reporter Ben Joravsky, restaurateur Stephanie Izard, and ABC 7 food critic Steve Dolinsky. Bus is the alter ego of Justin Kaufmann, whose day job is senior content developer for Chicago Public Media. (Full disclosure: I worked with Kaufmann last year at Chicago Public Media’s Vocalo blogs.)
Cullerton, a surprise late addition to Saturday’s victory party and an old hand at stand-up comedy, got right into the spirit of the evening when he welcomed “all the Democratic state senators from Wisconsin” he claimed were hiding out in the audience.
Hopes that Rod Blagojevich also might show up were dashed late Saturday when Glenn Selig, the disgraced former governor’s publicist, sent word: “We appreciate the opportunity, but it’s not going to work out for tonight. We wish you the best of success.”
As mock election returns showed Bus getting trounced, the night culminated with a concession speech by the candidate that alternated between gracious and defiant. Accompanied at the podium by his wife, Dorse Carson-Pirie Scott Bus (played by the immensely talented Kate C. James), Bus thanked each and every one of his campaign workers and congratulated his rivals on running good races — even as he mangled their names. The sight of Cullerton, Waguespack, Natarus and Smith standing behind him completed the surreal tableau.
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