[The 90’s raw: Gross National Product Comedy]

This tape features on-the-street footage of comedians from members of Gross National Product Comedy, featuring multiple takes of routines based on Washington politics by Wes Johnson and GNP founder John Simmons.

00:00Copy video clip URL Comedic actor Wes Johnson walks through a neighborhood alley in Washington, DC, in the role of a sanitation worker. He is looking into garbage cans noting, “you can learn about people [from their trash].” He continues down the alley describing what our garbage says about us. Then he mentions a celebrity’s garbage. He pretends to root through Kitty Kelley’s garbage, bins full of garbage from Kelley’s book, “Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography.” He rattles on crude gags about Nancy Reagan and the scandalous stories told in Kelley’s book.

02:35Copy video clip URL Johnson breaks character and asks the videographer if they can record that piece again. They stage prop trash for take two.

02:59Copy video clip URL The second take begins with the videographer shooting and interviewing Johnson in character as the sanitation worker. “I’m the main trash man of Capitol Hill.” He pretends to root through the garbage can of Senator Charles Robb, pulling out party favors and bags of white powder. He approaches the house where “they do a lot of sound editing for ABC News.” He roots through the trash and pulls out two wigs, commenting, “It looks like Ted Koppel and Sam Donaldson have been here.” He moves on to “Ted Kennedy’s” trash can and pulls out multiple trousers. He pretends to go to the home of authoress Kitty Kelley and does his Nancy Reagan bit again.

06:39Copy video clip URL Johnson and the videographer confer on the next shot. They begin shooting take 3 of the routine. Johnson, in character, introduces himself as Stan Mukowski and goes into his “you can learn a lot about people from their garbage” routine: Charles Robb’s garbage, Ted Kennedy’s garbage, ABC News, Kitty Kelley’s garbage.

10:15Copy video clip URL Johnson, dressed as Richard Nixon, walks through Lafayette Park in character. He comes up to The White House and after a moment of reflection addresses the camera: “Some might call this one of the greatest houses ever built. Me? I call it a prison.” He says he lived as a prisoner in the White House for six years and that some of the people who worked for him are still actually in prison. He complains that  all the corrupt people in Reagan’s administration had to do in retribution was community service. “It’s not fair!” He comments that here in Lafayette Park George Bush had people buy cocaine for a drug speech he was giving. Nixon claims his innocence and rambles about unethical doings of past presidents. He leads into an intro for another piece.

12:29Copy video clip URL Nixon is walking through Lafayette Park again. He comes upon a group of tourists and launches into a tirade about how could have been a good president if only people would have given him a few more years.

12:59Copy video clip URL Nixon continues wandering the park responding to passerby.

13:17Copy video clip URL He approaches tourists who are videotaping him and launches into another take of his “The White House was my prison” speech.

14:23Copy video clip URL Johnson breaks character as an ambulance with siren blasting drives by. He wants to record another take. The audio signal disappears.

14:31Copy video clip URL Still no audio signal. Johnson, in character as Nixon, walks along a median in the middle of a street in front of the Watergate Hotel.

14:44Copy video clip URL The audio signal returns and Nixon launches into a comedic speech about the Watergate scandal.

16:35Copy video clip URL B-roll of the Watergate Hotel, and take two of Nixon’s speech about the Watergate scandal.

18:37Copy video clip URL Johnson in Nixon character is in front of the Kennedy Center. He complains that this could have been called the Nixon Center if he had been elected President in 1960 “as God intended it to be.” He continues about the Watergate Scandal.

19:48Copy video clip URL Take two of Nixon in front of the Kennedy Center.

21:24Copy video clip URL The videographer follows John Simmons dressed as a park ranger to a Jeep parked outside The Kennedy Center.

21:37Copy video clip URL Change of location. The park ranger is walking at the Mall near the Washington Monument. He introduces himself as Ranger Bob O’Crat and says he is recording this video today to debunk DC as the “Murder Capitol” and show tourists the sites of Washington and demonstrate how safe the streets are.

22:46Copy video clip URL The ranger records take two with a comical intro giving the videographer confusing directions to the Metro. He goes into his routine about how this video will be used to debunk DC as the Murder Capitol.

24:09Copy video clip URL Take three of the intro.

25:06Copy video clip URL  The Ranger asks random passerby if they think the streets of DC are safe. One couple cannot answer because they are from out of town and just arrived. So far, they say, they haven’t had any problems. They say they haven’t heard anything about the streets of DC that’s any different from other cities.

25:53Copy video clip URL The ranger asks passerby from New York. They say they haven’t seen enough of DC to know how safe it is or isn’t, but the area near the Mall feels safe to them.

26:40Copy video clip URL B-roll of the Mall.

26:52Copy video clip URL They ask a woman walking by if she feels the streets are safe. She is a local and feels that the streets are getting safer.

27:44Copy video clip URL The ranger approaches a whole crowd of tourists and asks if they feel the streets are safe. They’ve only been in the city four hours and can’t answer.

28:03Copy video clip URL A couple on a bench say it depends on where you are. Right here by the Mall is safe, but the Southwest  is unsafe. The woman says the police and mayor are doing a better job. During the interview the camera pans to a lethargic man in a suit sitting on a bench asleep. The videographer approaches him.

30:34Copy video clip URL B-roll of the National Rifle Association Headquarters. Various shots. The ranger enters and says one of the reason DC is such a safe place is because the NRA is headquartered here. He continues on comically about not bothering anyone you see walking down the street with an assault rifle. He talks about a statue planned for Charlton Heston to be placed on the front lawn.

32:09Copy video clip URL Take two of the ranger’s NRA monologue.

33:21Copy video clip URL Take three.

34:27Copy video clip URL Two takes of the ranger speaking in front of the American Chemical Society building. Simmons and the videographer confer about the routine. Then the ranger enters and comments about how the ACS is essential to the street life of Washington, DC. Without chemicals, the ranger says, Mayor Marion Barry’s administration could not have been possible.

35:29Copy video clip URL Takes three, four, five and six.

37:01Copy video clip URL The ranger is at 14th across from a drug store. His monologue comments that this is where William Bennet kept his headquarters here to fight the war on drugs.

38:00Copy video clip URL Takes three and four.

39:17Copy video clip URL Simmons and the videographer discuss plans for the next segment and record take one in front of the Vista Hotel, where “the war on drugs comes to an end.” The ranger fills viewers in on the Marion Barry drug scandal.

40:40Copy video clip URL Takes two and three.

42:51Copy video clip URL END


1 Comment

  1. Wes Johnson says:

    That’s John at the end playing the Park Ranger. Nixon and the garbage man were played by me. 🙂

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