Tail! Spin! is an amusing vaudeville of spliced-together soundbites from a Top 4 of recent political sex scandals, reconstituted in the spirited performances of improv/comedy professionals including former SNL player Rachel Dratch. Enacting transcripts of embarrassing press conferences and TV appearances by ephebophile senator Mark Foley, Idaho’s Larry “Wide Stance” Craig, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (“hiking the Appalachian Trail”), and New York’s own Anthony Weiner proves once again the old adage about history repeating itself first as tragedy and then as farce.
We’ve already heard or seen these politicians on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and elsewhere trying to verbally wriggle out of blame. But the distance brought by time and impersonation reinvigorates the cringey thrill of hearing them for the first time, most strikingly in the case of Nate Smith’s uncanny impression of Weiner, who gets to deliver many of the evening’s most memorable one-liners. These mostly consist of extramarital sexts Weiner sent — “I need to highlight my package,” he insists. Dratch tackles the thankless roles of the put-upon wives of these turkeys (Jenny Sanford in particular) with delightfully deadpan aplomb.
While Mario Correa skillfully stitches these verbatim texts into comedy gold like a pop-song version of Arguendo (Elevator Repair Service’s recent SCOTUS-transcript staging), the show leaves a strange aftertaste in the conscience: Some of these slippery rakes still have viable careers. Maybe the joke’s on us.