Colorado Springs: comedy central 

Laugh and the world laughs with you. That was the opening line to this week's announcement claiming that -- brace yourself -- Colorado Springs is a hotbed for humor.

Out of 205 cities, Shoebox, a division of the Hallmark card company, declared that the people of Colorado Springs collectively have the seventh funniest sense of humor of anywhere in the whole country.

And not because we are the punch line.

Frankly, considering that the city of Mankato, Minn., took top honors, the distinction might strike some as just a little questionable. But hey, they are the experts.

Hallmark determined the "funniest" U.S. cities by using a "Humor Index" of categories, including people who think of themselves as "funny," sales of greeting cards and the sources of humor available in varying markets, including TV sitcoms, movies and comics.

Oh yes, we are positively in stitches during this silly season of politics, while people grind their enemies' faces into the dirt. Why, watching Douglas Bruce go after Margaret Radford in his effort to become a county commissioner is almost as funny as, say, genocide.

Of course, Mr. Bruce's clever and amusing comments about his foes are legendary. Like when he, in the 1990s, said this about the League of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak Region: "They're obviously functionally illiterate in terms of constitutional principles."

Or how about this witty remark about a now-retired judge who ruled against him in a court case: "Judge [Matt] Railey is intellectually dishonest."

Or this, about former CU President Judith Albino: "Not only does she flunk Political Science 101, she should enroll in remedial English."

It's positively rib tickling, isn't it, the way that Mr. Bruce attacks people on a personal level? Earlier this year when he announced he's running for public office for the fourth time, Mr. Bruce apologized for his past humor and told Republicans that God wasn't finished with him yet, meaning apparently, he is as jocular as ever.

So wasn't it just a riot when, last weekend at the county fair, Mr. Bruce stood next to a booth being manned by his current opponent Radford, repeatedly denigrating her to passersby? And it was a real side-splitter when he reportedly informed Radford's 14-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, who were at the fair, that their mother was just using them as "tools" for her campaign?

What a cutup! By now you must be, as Hallmark terms it, convulsed in a "good old side-hurting, belly-busting, tear-streaming-down-your cheeks fit of laughter."

No? Well let's try another race. Over in House District 17 in southeast Colorado Springs, it's comedy central. There, local developer, voucher advocate and Republican humorist Steve Schuck has been doing his darndest to laugh Rep. Mark Cloer right out of office.

Mr. Schuck apparently didn't get the punch line when Cloer voted against a voucher bill earlier this year because he thought it was unconstitutional and would waste a bunch of taxpayer money in the courts. So Schuck apparently printed up some "unWANTED" posters picturing Cloer with a bar slashed through him claiming that "Cloer has got to go." The "poster" was then placed in the Colorado Statesman, a Denver political newspaper. Schuck's name doesn't appear on the advertisement, but readers were urged to call a Colorado Springs phone number to volunteer to defeat the two-term Republican. There, callers heard a recorded message saying, "Leave your name and number," and the voice sounded exactly like Mr. Schuck's secretary. What a prankster!

Meanwhile, shadow, er, "educational" groups hiding behind names like "All Children Matter-Colorado" have been sending out brochures, posing questions like "Who's the REAL Republican?" If you believe the accompanying out-of-context sound bites, the obvious answer is -- ding, ding, ding! -- Cloer's opponent, newcomer Linda Stahnke. Get it?

But Mr. Schuck's most amusing one-liner appeared in a fund-raising letter for Ms. Stahnke that he, along with his pals, state Sens. Ed Jones and Mark Hillman sent out on July 23. "Rep. Cloer seems all too willing to sacrifice the futures of low-income students in failing schools for his own political security." Ha! Now that's funny. If we weren't laughing so hard, we might note that if Rep. Cloer weren't so willing to risk his own political security, he would be marching in lockstep with Schuck, and certainly not daring to piss off the puppet master.

In this city where, as Hallmark puts it, we are "overflowing with frivolity," we'll be laughing ourselves silly all the way to the polling booth next Tuesday.



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