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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.

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