Conservative comics brave industry backlash, set Trump-friendly tour across America.
Steve McGrew calls conservative comics the “punk rockers” of the stand-up world.
“Supporting [President Donald Trump] is like being punk in the ‘70 and ‘80s, going against the establishment,” the veteran comic says.
So he’s taking his punk attitude on the road along with a few like-minded souls.
“The Deplorables Tour: We’re Funny Because We’re Right” kicks off Nov. 5 in Houston with more tour dates to follow.
UPDATE: New tour dates include Brea, Calif. Jan. 23, Albany, N.Y. Feb. 15, Cleveland, Ohio Feb. 16, Nashville, Tenn. Feb. 17, Evansville In. March 1, Dubuque, Iowa March 2, Peoria Ill. March 3 and Cincinnati Ohio March 15. Additional cities coming soon.
Right-leaning comics aren’t as rare as you might think despite outlets like “Saturday Night Live” and most late night shows ignoring liberal targets.
“I know a lot of funny conservative comics, but they’re afraid to be known as conservatives … they’re afraid they’ll lose friends and work. I’m not,” McGrew says. “I’ve already been through the ringer in Hollywood. I’ve already been chastised by Hollywood. I’ve already lost gigs because I didn’t like Clinton back in the day.”
The comic says HBO considered him for a stand-up special during the 1990s. The channel backed away, he says, after hearing him critique President Bill Clinton on stage.
The tour’s title, spun from Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated attack on Trump voters as “deplorable,” suggests a night of hardcore conservative comedy. That’s not exactly the case. McGrew’s social media accounts are unabashedly right of center. So is his YouTube channel.
His stage act?
“I don’t do politics in my act. But I do conservative-thinking comedy. I talk about subjects that are politically incorrect,” Loftus says.
“That’s what good about us being on tour together,” Loftus continues. “We are all different acts. Some will be truly political. Some will sing fun political songs. This tour has something for everyone.”
Loftus says the few times he’s dipped his toes in political humor helped fuel the tour’s concept. He recently played the Melrose Improv and spoke positively about President Trump onstage.
“I was crushing it,” he says of the moment. “There’s a huge, under-served audience [out there] … if you support Trump or [Brett] Kavanaugh you’re worse than a Nazi. People are getting tired of hearing that they’re bad. We know we’re not bad people We just want more personal freedom and less government.”
Loftus brings an impressive resume to the tour, including work on several TV comedies (“Kevin Can Wait,” “Anger Management”). He understands the risk conservative comics take when they embrace their ideology on stage.
“I don’t bring my politics into work,” he says. “When I’m working on a movie or TV show, I’m just trying to write the funniest or best things.”
That isn’t always enough protection, he says.
“When you have a person who’s the head writer, who runs the show for the network, they have their personal belief system. And, chances are, they’re liberal. If they know you’re different, I don’t see why they would wanna hire you.”
Also joining the Deplorables Tour? The Deplorables Choir, a trio known for their viral-friendly Trump tunes,
Loftus is a regular at Politicon, the yearly event bringing together both sides of the increasingly divided aisle. It’s where he met Sally Kohn, the hard-left CNN contributor.
They hit it off, Loftus says, eschewing the old saw that the two sides can’t find common ground. “She was shocked that I voted for Trump,” he adds.
Their connection gives him hope that the two sides have more in common than the media suggests.
“They’d have you believe if you’re a Trump voter and you land in Seattle you’ll be bludgeoned to death … I think people are better than that,” he says.
We’re living in serious times, but Loftus won’t settle for a tour brimming with “clapter.”
“It’s gonna be funny. That was the big thing when I jumped in … it’s got to be funny,” he says. “All politics aside you’re gonna have a great time.”