A Comic Con for Politics? L.A. Hosts Inaugural Politicon

There will be screenings, such as Amazon’s preview of the first two episodes of “The Man in the High Castle.” There will be panels, such as a session that teams Tony Hale, Selina Meyer’s “body man” on “Veep,” with Reggie Love, who had that job for President Obama. And there will be performances, including one by Trevor Noah, the new host of “The Daily Show.”

All are happening at Politicon, the two-day event at the Los Angeles Convention Center that largely highlights the entertaining side of politics, which is hardly in short supply the way that the presidential race is unfolding. While Donald Trump is the obvious example, this cycle also has seen more candidates take to late-night talk shows to riff with comic hosts.

“The time is right,” Simon Sidi, the founder of the event, said on Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM on Thursday. “People are used to having events like Comic-Con or South by Southwest or music festivals. So people understand it. They get it.”

The event starts on Friday, as Politico’s chief White House correspondent Mike Allen and new California Playbook author Carla Marinucci interview California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

As of Thursday, Sidi said they have passed the 7,000 mark in tickets.

Sidi is a longtime producer of live events and also was producer/production designer for “American Idol Live” from 2005 to 2010. He describes himself as a “political junkie” who was inspired to create the event after listening to a live political podcast in which the reaction of the audience was like that at a concert.

Politicon will feature a “Democracy village,” with comedy, music and games in booths and display areas, as well as a “free speech area,” where attendees will engage in debate. Yosi Sergant has organized the Art of Politics, a display featuring Shepard Fairey, Robbie Conal, Favianna Rodriguez, Sabo, Lalo Alcaraz, Patrick Martinez and Michael D’Antuono.

In another panel, James Carville, Newt Gingrich, David Axelrod and Alex Castellanos will deconstruct the 2016 campaign. Progressive Cenk Uygur will have a one-on-one with conservative Ann Coulter. The lineup ranges from Doris Kearns Goodwin to Michele Bachmann to “Tonight Show” writer Jon Macks to Clay Aiken, with other comics including the Upright Citizens Brigade and Lizz Winstead.

Saturday’s event will coincide with President Obama’s latest trek to Los Angeles for a series of fundraisers, including an event at the home of director J.J. Abrams and a Pacific Palisades event where Jamie Foxx will perform. He also is scheduled to attend a dinner at the home of designer Michael Smith.

More Biz

  • Hong Kong skyline

    Hong Kong Declares Emergency in Coronavirus Response

    Hong Kong’s government has put the territory on the highest state of emergency in response to the outbreak of coronavirus in mainland China. Schools will remain closed until Feb. 17, long after the Chinese New Year holidays, which begin today, should have finished. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Area of China and some 600 [...]

  • Harvey Mason Jr.., Chair of the

    Grammy Board Chief Calls Allegations of Nomination-Rigging ‘Just Not Right’

    Among the many allegations in ousted Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan’s blockbuster legal complaint, the one that possibly cuts most to the heart of the institution — and is of most concern to artists and the public — is the allegation that the nominating process is “rigged.” The example in the complaint points to the [...]

  • Annabella Sciorra

    Friend Tells of Annabella Sciorra's Mid-1990s Struggles at Harvey Weinstein Trial

    A longtime friend of Annabella Sciorra testified Friday in Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial that the actor turned to cutting herself and exhibited other troubling behavior in the mid-1990s after she was allegedly raped by the disgraced film mogul. The defense questioning of model Kara Young got heated as Judge James Burke sustained repeated objections to [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Judge Doubts WGA Claim That Packaging Fees Are Kickbacks

    A federal judge seemed skeptical on Friday of the Writers Guild of America’s claim that packaging fees amount to a criminal kickback to agents. Judge Andre Birotte heard more than two hours of arguments from attorneys for the guild and three agencies: WME, UTA and CAA. He said he would issue a ruling at a [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: Why Aerosmith Is Still Gold for Synchs

    Aerosmith’s star-studded tribute concert as the 2020 MusiCares Person of the Year honorees on Friday night (January 24) will cement another important milestone in the historic Boston-founded band’s contributions to the American rock canon. But over the past decade, some of the band’s best-known music has remained part of the cultural conversation through some of [...]

  • Sirius Logo

    Radio Hall of Famer Kid Kelly Leaves SiriusXM After Two Decades

    In a surprise move, veteran programmer, on-air personality and Radio Hall of Famer Kid Kelly has left SiriusXM after nearly 20 years with the radio giant, a rep for the company has confirmed to Variety. The news was first reported by RAMP. He most recently served as SiriusXM’s VP of Pop Music Programming. “After a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content