Jason Yates was so inspired by the speeches of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) during the U.S. government shutdown last year that he decided to challenge U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) with a plan to repeal Obamacare.
James Buchal says he's running against U.S. Rep. Earl Bluemanauer (D-Ore.) because "the federal government is out of control and threatening our freedom and prosperity."
In two weeks, Yates and Buchal will promote their Republican bids for U.S. Congress by performing standup comedy in Portland.
The two candidates—both of whom closely align with the principles of the tea party, but describe themselves as "Constitutional conservatives"—are headlining a program called "Standup for the Constitution" on Aug. 12 at Harvey's Comedy Club in Old Town.
Yates, a service manager at a pest-control company, gained some experience in comedy before running for Bonamici's First Congressional District seat. As WW noted in our primary endorsements, Yates produced a comedic Web series titled Awkward Moments With Jesus. He played the title role.
UPDATE, 5:45 pm: Buchal says the standup concept is his. He and Yates have recently been honing their act at Portland comedy open mics.
"I came up with the idea of hitting open microphone nights at local clubs as a way of breaking through the massive indifference and apathy of Portlanders concerning the existential policy threats to their future," Buchal tells WW.
"It is a sort of transgressive comedy for progressives," he adds. "Jason Yates liked the idea and joined me a couple of times, and we thought we might as well entertain supporters in addition to alarming Portland audiences."
In a promotional video for the Aug. 12 show, Yates and Buchal offer samples of their material.
"What's the difference between a Democrat and a four-year-old?" asks Yates. "A four-year-old eventually stops throwing a tantrum. What's the difference between a Democrat and a redhead? A ginger has twice as much soul."
Buchal, a Portland lawyer with a Harvard physics degree, pokes fun at himself.
"I thought there weren't enough overweight, middle-aged white guys running for political office," Buchal says. "And this being Portland, I know diversity's important, so I'm here to contribute to diversity."
"Standup for the Constitution" will be held at 7:30 pm Tuesday, Aug. 12 at Harvey's, which is located at 436 NW 6th Avenue. The suggested donation is $25.
Here's the promotional video, with several more jokes—including one about Vice President Joe Biden.