Press Skits tease lawmakers, tickle Tallahassee


For one night, Florida’s Capitol Press Corps took a break from making state lawmakers squirm and instead did its best to make them — and several hundred other spectators of The Process — laugh.

The Skits took over the Tallahassee music venue The Moon on Tuesday. Better than last year’s event, the “sometimes annual” rite of passive aggression and oasis of pure honesty was a doozy.

The affair was well attended by legislative leadership – House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner were in the house – although Gov. Rick Scott, probably the most-lampooned politico of the entire affair, was disappointingly absent.

To begin with, the skits were postponed for a few minutes by House floor session that ran until 7:12 p.m. Crisafulli and other House heavyweights planned to get a handful of priorities through before the appointed start time but as Press Corps President Tia Mitchell of The Florida Times-Union joked in her opening stand-up act asked: “Have you heard of Rep. Evan Jenne?”

Scott’s office said the governor couldn’t make it because he was traveling, an excuse Mitchell would make “for normal people – but you have your own plane!”

The media’s assault on the mores of Tallahassee politicians was only getting warmed up.

In a send-up of the X Ambassadors’ top-40 hit “Renegades,” reporters let us know the governor and lawmakers seeking to evade the state’s notorious public records laws were, if not “Breakin’ the Law,” at least makin’ it in their favor.

Mitchell also led a mock-melancholy eulogy/exorcism for Tampa Bay area favorite Gov. Charlie Crist. Despite the orange and embalmed TV journo Troy Kinsey‘s infamous penchant for impersonating the People’s Governor, the Press Corps bid farewell to the Tan Man, saying he was going to a perhaps better place in that “gridiron club in D.C.” known as Congress, never to be laughed with or at, or referred to ever again at The Moon.

During one of the best-received acts of the night, Capitol New Service reporter Matt Galka performed a parody of Drake’s “Back to Back” about Senate map shenanigans. It included the knife-twisting line, “We’re wasting time and money / but you’re used to that.” Burn.

In a send-up of the Monotones’ “Who Wrote the Book of Love?” entitled “Who Wrote the Senate Maps?,” Tampa Bay Times reporter Steve Bousquet, with his band Gerry and the Manderers, intoned that Sen. John Legg “needs a miracle, otherwise he’s through.”

That line elicited an audible “Oof” from Gardiner. Oof indeed.

An adorable yet formidable “Jack and Joe” ode to the Senate presidency battle between Sens. Joe Negron and Jack Latvala for the Senate’s top job after 2016 elections dragged on a bit, but made its point.

A cameo by Democratic Rep. Darryl Rouson as a soporific Ben Carson also made waves, leading one former legislator to say, “That’s harsh.” We’ll say.

Per usual, the rebuttals by the Florida Senate and House got as much laughter and applause as the preceding hour and a half.

In particular Democratic Sen. Oscar Braynon‘s appearance as as Gardiner’s “anger translator” a la Key and Peele’s Jordan Peele brought the house down.

Crisafulli and his senior House leadership team plodded through a Florida Channel-style show called “Capitol Backdate” hosted by an faux-octogenarian Gary Fineout in lower chamber’s rebuttal video, which was amusing enough. But far more memorable was a gratuitous appearance of the Speaker’s nipples as he sang in the shower.

And of course, incoming Speaker Richard Corcoran‘s “We’re not dancing” dictum in response to an imagined dance-off challenge from the Senate brought a fitting end to the evening.

“Peace out,” read the House’s sign-off.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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