ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Feb 18, 2014

Join us next Tuesday to laugh, cry, and dish about the moments that amused you, shocked you, or caused you to yell things that frightened the other people on the subway.

Past ComPost Live Chats

Connect on Twitter: @PostLive | @petridishes

I am celebrating Andrew Johnson, the autodidact. "It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word."

Also, he would have had difficulty getting through airport security, between the lead he carried around inside him and probably his insistence on challenging all the TSA agents to duels.

This weekend I made oatmeal cookies with diced prunes instead of raisins. They were delicious and I'm no longer constipated. So much better than drinking prune juice.

This has been a Poop Cookie PSA.

Good Tuesday, all!

I'm thinking Taft for the dinner, and Harding for the clubbing afterwards.

*unce unce unce unce*

(clarinet music starts)

"Isn't this great, everyone? What you're hearing is the Citizens Cornet Band, which I organize!"

"Warren tell me you didn't--"

"That's right, I play every instrument but the slide trombone and the E-flat cornet!"

*unce* tootle *unce* toot *unce*

"Okay, let's leave."

Are oranges the only sanguine fruit?

Oranges are not the only fruit, but they are the only sanguine fruit, to my knowledge. Also a blood banana sounds horrible.

If you became a prop comic, what would your prop be?

Fun story, during the heyday of that "[Junk] In A Box" SNL sketch, I used to carry around a tiny gift-wrapped box as part of my set. Now I don't know. Does The Internet count as a prop? Maybe I'd just bring a snack onstage.

are the shadows of our thoughts?

Is this with reference to something?

This delayed his acceptance of the Whig party nomination by a week, as the first letter was sent postage-due.


I'd party with Zachary. We could drink some dangerous lemonade on a hot day, and... well, something.

I am wondering--if I get my loved one this particular S&M plush cuddly for Valentine's Day should I include a safe word on the accompanying card?

That's only polite.

Also, the phrase "S&M plush cuddly" is an interesting string of words.

I smoked pot on occasion when I was a teenager in the 70s. As I recall I liked it. Then I joined the military followed by a civilian job with a security clearance. So, no more pot for me. Long story short, I'm retired now and I'd like to get high. Would it be weird to go to Colorado so I can legally smoke pot? How would I find it? Are there special pot stores?

According to the coverage from the initial roll-out, there are special dedicated stores, and I bet the lines would have died down by now. I wonder if some cann(abis)y tour company has figured out that people like you are a willing market and started offering a package.

During the pairs ice dancing, one of the announcers said that we'd have "a closer look at Tessa's twizzle next." And I thought the Olympics was a family show.

Twizzles are the best part of the Olympics so far, in that it's such a silly word described in such serious, meaning-laden tones. "And they were a little weak on the twizzles, a mandatory element," is just a great sentence.

This morning, I heard on the radio the very disturbing news that our nation has a clown shortage. What is becoming of us? How may we entice more young people to enter clown colleges so we may meet the demand for clowns? Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with this national crisis?

What will America be without its clowns?

A darn sight less creepy, that's for sure.

But seriously, we need to rectify this, stat. First they come for the clowns, then we lose the Elvis impersonators!

He didn't do it all by himself. He married the schoolmarm.

Oh whoops I read that as Jackson.

have you seen the screen shot of BBC-TV news showing a headline of "Giant Pooh Blocks Sewer? Somebody's stuffed Edward Bear somehow got stuck in a drainpipe.


No, send it along!

I am celebrating the memory of William Henry Harrison the only President to attend the University of Pennsylvania, who has the foresight to do nothing but get sick and die during his Presidency. They teach us that at Penn.

"Say with me, class: the longer the inauguration speech, the shorter the presidency!"

is a hilarious book on the presidents up to Reagan. Only a few lapses in an otherwise well-researched and funny book (although Holland did go way overboard with the footnotes).

You had me at "way overboard with the footnotes."

... is a candle compared to my hatred for Zoe Barnes. "Oh, you're just being sensitive! It's fiction!" say some people. Those people are wrong. Because the worst part about this is that no one seems bothered by it: not her editor, not her squishy sometimes-boyfriend, not even her allegedly sexless competent reporter pal (who still looks pretty good to me, behind her I Am No Longer Sexy Eyeglasses). And in this way it makes everyone complicit in her awfulness. Given the rest of the show, I am sure this character is going to die soon; she can't be killed too quickly for my taste. (And you're right: where is the good DC barbecue joint?)

Thank you! I know the show has multiple female writers, but it's weird that NOBODY IN-WORLD NOTICES OR COMMENTS!

I'm a fan of Hill Country, but you'd think there'd be something local in origin.

Also, Johnson made his own suits, having been indentured to a tailor in his youth. They don't make presidents that handy any more.

Abraham Lincoln would only run with you if you were capable of dressing yourself, apparently. Wasn't Hannibal Hamlin a tanner? Or am I making that up from whole cloth, as Johnson would a suit?


We can use more clown financial aid, to cut down on the terrible problem of clown college debt (which, like student debt, cannot be discharged through bankruptcy, although it can be discharged through a seltzer bottle). But we don't need a federal clown college rating system, or federal legislation like No Clown Left Behind.

Or Clown Race To The Top.

And of course there's the controversy about Clown Core, because some states feel that their clowns are already well-prepared for the workplace, while others would appreciate a national clown standard.

Yes, but it's not the Oliver-Sacks-type footnotes which are a whole 'nother book; it's the har-har-Dave-Barry type of footnoting which needs restraint (and when else do the words "Dave Barry" and "restraint" appear in the same sentence).

This tangentially reminds me of that Kurt Vonnegut saying that if you really wanted someone to reveal himself to you, you should have him assemble an index, and you could tell anything at all about him. I am horribly, hideously, beyond-recognition mangling that, but -- by their endnotes shall ye know them.

Was he any relation to tanned heartthrob Harry Hamlin?

He was less tan.

When he celebrate Presidents, we do not celebrate John Tyler. We ignore him, even on his birthday. Poor guy. I suspect we have given him a complex or something.

I like Tyler! He was the first surprise president, and he held it together pretty well considering that, historically, no one liked him.

Everybody does that. Poor Andy Johnson, he don't get no respect.

Not only that, there's another President Johnson, and people usually mean that one.

Do you think our nation is reaching to pass ObamaClown?

I can stay on my parents' clown plan for a few more months!

We don't need that legislation. They keep getting elected so no need to help them out.

Was waiting for someone to make this astute observation.

Clown Americans have always been a robust majority, which is why it's so worrisome that they're going extinct.

I worry that if there were such a race, all of the clowns would arrive at the same time. In the same car.


Clearly they didn't check the House of Representatives!

"That's a clown question, bro!"

That's what I should have said!

Especially his eight children from his first marriage, when he married his second wife, who was younger than his oldest daughter. He holds the presidential record for most children, although he had to wear out two wives to achieve that. Apparently two of his grandchildren are still living today.

Ah, Tyler, way to keep it classy.

When I was President of the United States, I made my own clothes, and I wrote all my speeches, and I answered all the phone calls coming into the White House, and I also did all the work of the Secretary of Agriculture as well.

Which left you no time to actually be president!

I would've thought the phrase "S&M plush cuddly" was a Googlenope (tm pending), then I thought, Rule 34... and I got a little depressed. Can I have an oatmeal-prune cookie, please?

You can have TWO oatmeal-prune cookies!

in fact, the guy assigned by John Wilkes Booth to assassinate Johnson (the idea was to do in the major administration figures) was so scared that he got drunk and went home instead.

"If you mess with Johnson, you're gonna wind up drunk, home, and depressed!"

It's no Tippecanoe and Tyler too, but it keeps people in line.

I someday hope to see a campaign ad end with "I am (name of candidate) and like hell I approve this message/"

"In fact, this message was forced on me over my loud protest! I in no way approved any part of the content of this ad! I don't even want to run for this office! (THIS message approved by [name of candidate].)"

For thoser of us still recovering from adolescent night-terrors, can I just say -- not a moment too soon! Looks like we're finally winning. Now, once we get a grip on the erradication of travelling carnies, our long national nightmare might be over.

Small Cabbage-Smelling Hands Across America.

Reminds me of one of my favorite Simpsons' lines, which I use as often as possible: Homer: Marge, I'm going to college Bart: Which one, clown or barber?

You know, William Howard Taft was considered "plush cuddly".

Built for comfort, just like his bathtub.

According to Barbara Holland, this was pretty much James & Sarah Polk's M.O. They worked so hard nobody else had a chance to do anything.

Those Polks were a class act!

Since you brought up President Tyler. Interesting fact: Two of his grandchildren are still alive! Here's a link to the Snopes page on them:

Thanks! Snopes is always relevant!

That would be Gen. Sherman, who resisted all attempts to drag him into elected office.

"War is hell. I'm fine with hell. But campaigning..."

So, just like a typical Saturday night, then? Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to....

I never understood people who are afraid of clowns. I don't want to belittle their fear but I just don't get it. Clowns make children laugh. Except for that clown that was a mass murderer and a few that were molesters, what does anyone have to fear from clowns?

Also, the one that is standing upstairs when the babysitter's there and she thinks it's a statue BUT IT'S NOT A STATUE.

Tyler Street is a main artery in Wichita, Kansas. Some well educated city employee long ago named a cross street "Tippecanoe."

Unlike in Hope, Arkansas, where It's The Economy street intersects with Stupid Avenue.

You should interview Tyler's grandchildren. See if they had clowns in their childhoods and what they would do about the clown shortage. I bet if Tyler were President, there would be plenty of clowns. Of course, they would all be Confederate Clowns, but there would be plenty of them.

How did this happen?

It's totally a thing, brah. I googled it and got 6,700,000 hits.

Okay, on that note — time for me to head off. I mean, not on that note at all! Please keep reading the ComPost, and feel free but not obligated to follow me on twitter @petridishes.

In This Chat
Alexandra Petri
Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost, a lighter take on the news and issues of the day, and she contributes to the Post editorial page. Her work has appeared in venues such as The Huffington Post, The Week,,, Collegehumor, and The Harvard Crimson. She has appeared on Jeopardy!, Showbiz Tonight and Canadian radio, and she has performed at Boston's Comedy Studio and Comedy Connection. She would love to be on your TV show, radio show, Daily Show, HBO special, or to be an honored guest (or regular guest) at your Bar Mitzvah. She is the author of two books (unpublished, but contact her!), two screenplays, three plays, one musical, and one memoir (Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.)
Recent Chats
  • Next: