Welcome to The Indecision 11, our soft-hitting — caressing, really — politics questionnaire for smart, funny people. This week: comedian Myq Kaplan, whom you know from his stint on Last Comic Standing, his appearances on Conan and The Late Show with David Letterman, his Comedy Central Presents special and his regular guest spots on the Keith and the Girl comedy podcast. Would you like to buy his best-selling comedy album Vegan Mind Meld? (Hint: you do.) You also want to follow @myqkaplan.
What's your earliest political memory?
I didn't follow politics as a child much at all, other than class elections where I would write in votes for communism. When I got to college I got more engaged. I remember taking an ethics course where I read something that Reagan (or one of his speechwriters) had said about abortion, something to the effect of "If you don't know whether a body is alive or dead, you don't bury it." And it really made me think. I remember thinking that I agreed with the words, but there was more to the issue. Like, what if the body in question is a vampire? Is it alive or dead? Is it alive AND dead (Schrodinger's vampire)? Either way, the point is that you defend yourself against that vampire! (The other point is, I learned that I can make compelling yet distracting arguments about important issues as well. So elect me president against the vampires! As I understand it, presidents need to be vampire hunters these days anyhow.)
What do you think of people who don't vote?
I think people who don't vote should pay a tax to me directly. And I will not impose this unilaterally; I say let's put it to a vote. And if you don't vote, thanks for your money! In exchange, I offer you the right to complain (some people won't even give you that), but you may only complain to other people who didn't vote. And when the next vote comes up, you will be so sick of hearing those complaints that you'll do anything to avoid that situation again. Voter apathy solved!
If you could meet any political figure, living or dead, who would it be?
I would want to meet whoever the worst, most torture-y dictator alive today is, but I want to meet them dead. You're welcome, people he was torturing! (Some people might think it's sexist to assume this dictator is a "he," but are there any female dictators right now? Only then will the world be truly post-sexism: when I have to say "he OR SHE was torturing.")
You're trapped in an elevator with the president. Strangely enough, you also have a superpower: the ability to make him do one thing of your choosing. What would you have him do?
I would have him make the elevator start moving again. (That might seem short-sighted, but number one, we need to get out of the elevator before we can really do anything else. And also, with the right spin, I'm sure this action could have wide-ranging implications. I'm seeing Obama re-election slogans like "Elevate" and "If he can magically fix an elevator, he can do the same for the world economy." And you might ask, why wouldn't I just wish for him to fix the economy right away? Well, I guess I just wanted out of the elevator. But actually, if everyone else can be happy and fulfilled at the cost of my being stuck there forever, I would make that sacrifice.)
Have you ever supported a candidate, issue or campaign and regretted it later?
No. If I think about it, I somewhat regret taking a bit longer than necessary to learn how important it is to be engaged in what's going on in the world. There were definitely some local elections that I didn't vote in because I didn't really know what was going on with them, which is common yet ironic. So many people pay attention to big national races, but it's the local races that could have more of an effect on your day-to-day life. So I regret not learning as much as I could in the past about local politics. I'm sorry this answer doesn't have anything funny in it. Let's say it's because I wrote it while trying to escape from an elevator full of vampires. Better?
If you ran for office, what would your campaign slogan be?
"Actions, not slogans!" or "A slogan is worth a thousand actions, I hope!" or "I'd vote for you if you were running!" or "I ain't afraid of no vampires!" (which contains a double negative, cleverly hiding the fact that I AM afraid of SOME vampires).
Who do you follow on Twitter for politics news?
You can get political news on Twitter?! I guess I follow YOU for news about political news on Twitter. Sincerely, I get most of my political news from The Week magazine, in print and online form, which in turn gets its news from other sources which get their news from the world where it's happening. So what I'm saying is, I follow everyone and everything. Just not on Twitter.
Fill in the blank: Washington, D.C. is __________________.
The capital of the United States of America. Citizenship granted?
Who's the sleaziest person in politics?
I prefer to think positively, so I aim to ignore the sleaziest people as much as possible, so I guess I'll just say… everyone probably?
Who's the sexiest person in politics?
Peter Singer. I don't mean that he's sexy in the conventional sense, where I want to have sex with him. More in the sense that I just wanted to talk about him and how good he is for the world. His book The Life You Can Save (and its corresponding website, www.thelifeyoucansave.com) has the most straightforward, logical, informative explanation of how and why we can and should do the most good for the most people who need it, saving millions of lives–including children and those in need all around the world–at very little cost to our way of life. Pretty hot, right? (Oh, also Stephen Colbert. And any women in politics who want to sleep with me. That's the sexiest quality: desiring me.)
Tell us a joke.
Knock knock. Who's there? The chicken. The chicken who? Just kidding, it's a vampire. Now you're dead. But I won't bury you if you vote for me. Is that a joke? (I think the best jokes are the ones where you don't know if they're jokes. Now, is THAT a joke?)
Photo by Mindy Tucker
Previously: Andrew Jenks
Tags: Myq Kaplan, The Indecision 11