Musical satirist, Web videoist returns on 'Real American' tour

Singer/songwriter and lyrical satirist Roy Zimmerman is regularly heard on National Public Radio, Air America and Sirius Radio.

His YouTube videos have garnered more than two million views and a new HBO documentary "The Trials of Ted Haggard," features his song "Ted Haggard is Completely Heterosexual."

Zimmerman's 90-minute "Real American" performance is filled with funny tunes about ignorance, war and greed. For the new show, which stages 8 p.m. Sunday at the Catlett Music Center in Norman, Zimmerman has created new material inspired by his on-the-road experiences and, as always, news headlines.

"The idea was to get out of my little liberal cocoon of Marin County, Calif., and meet some of the most progressive people in the least progressive places in the country," he said.

Zimmerman said the name of his tour was inspired by "the real America" regularly referenced by Sarah Palin during her recent vice presidential campaign. Throughout his travels, Zimmerman said he has collected a number of harrowing tales from people doing "progressive" work, sometimes under significant duress.

"I met a high school student from New Jersey who exposed his history teacher for preaching Genesis in class, took unending grief for it, and persevered," he said. "I met a family planning doctor from Montana who's had to wear disguises and hide in the back seat for fear that someone would act on the death threats she receives regularly. Anybody on the front lines of the struggle for social justice will encounter opposition."

The Norman concert is being sponsored by the University of Oklahoma's own improv comedy troupe, OU Improv, which will open for Zimmerman.

OU Improv member and event organizer Jay Edwards said he discovered Zimmerman through the immensely popular YouTube videos such as "Creation Science 101" and "Defenders of Marriage."

When Zimmerman asked his fans to recommend cities and venues for tour stops, Edwards answered the call, suggesting Norman.

"Roy really makes an attempt to reach out to the communities he visits," Edwards said. "His tours are run by local volunteers who provide resources such as venues, advertising and even housing. It's all run by real Americans, not agents and managers, who are really Cylons," said Edwards, referencing a fictitious, cybernetic civilization popularized in the "Battlestar Galactica" television series.

Despite the lament of some political satirists at the end of the George W. Bush era, Zimmerman is looking ahead, with plans to cover a variety of hot topics at Sunday's show.

"Those bankers, testifying before Congress with that 'my dog ate my bailout' look on their faces " that's ripe for satire," he said. "Rush Limbaugh is an asshole. It's not news, but it's worth a song," For the last eight years we had to laugh. Now, we get to laugh. That's the difference." "Eric Webb

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