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Comedy and politics collide

September 20, 2012
By ZACH KUKKONEN - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - A free night of civilized political discourse and comedy is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, as comedian John Oliver returns, along with political commentators Bob Beckel and Cal Thomas.

"Left, Right and British" will feature Beckel and Thomas attempting to find "Common Ground," also the title of their column in "USA Today." Beckel, a Democratic strategist, and Thomas, a conservative columnist, will take on controversial issues by cutting through the bickering and calmly discussing the issues. The event is part of the Van Evera Distinguished Lecture Series and is especially relevant in this election season, according to Rozsa Marketing Manager Bethany Jones.

"This event is wrapped together to talk about politics in a way that's not antagonistic, to allow even-minded discourse," Jones said. "We try to present it in a way that allows the listeners to feel included in the conversation."

Beckel started his political career working for the Robert Kennedy presidential campaign, and was also the deputy assistant secretary of state for President Jimmy Carter. Thomas, meanwhile, is a columnist syndicated in more than 550 newspapers and also can be heard on more than 300 radio stations with his commentary.

"Any one of (these three guys) could headline a show," Jones said.

Oliver, best known for his work on "The Daily Show," returns to the Rozsa for the second time in three years. His show was such a success in 2010 that Jones and Rozsa Center Director Susanna Brent have been trying to get him back ever since.

"It has been one of the most popular events in the last few years," Jones said. "He was hugely popular and someone Susanna wanted to bring back, knowing he brings in a humorous take on politics and is a really good fit."

Oliver is also known for his stand-up, his writing and a recurring role on "Community." His podcast, "The Bugle: Audio Newspaper for a Visual World," runs weekly along with Andy Zaltzman.

Tickets are free, but are required due to high demand. To obtain tickets to the 7 p.m. show, call 487-2073, go online at or visit Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech's Student Development Complex on 600 MacInnes Drive in Houghton. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. The Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours, and will only open two hours prior to showtimes.



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