Feb. 6, 2009 — -- Which Bushism is not like the others?
"The true strength of America happens when a neighbor loves a neighbor just like they'd like to be loved themselves."
"This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating."
"Waterboarding feels great! It's a spa treatment at Bliss -- look it up."
Maybe that was too easy. It's the third, of course, that comes not from the former president of the United States but from his most famous doppelganger, Will Ferrell, who mined the canon of Bushisms to come up with "You're Welcome, America: A Final Night With George W. Bush."
Ferrell's first Broadway play opened Thursday, and in addition to his iconic impression, it includes a sexbot Condi Rice, a breakdancing Secret Service agent and a phone call with "Brownie" -- aka Michael Brown, the former head of FEMA.
In an excerpt from that phone call, Dubya reminisces with Brownie about fumbling the rebuilding of New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina:
"Remember when Kanye West on national television said that I hated black people? I don't hate black people. I never even think about them, ever. Yeah -- it's not in my day to day."
Implying that Bush is racist is one of Ferrell's softer shots. "You're Welcome, America," which Ferrell wrote with former "Saturday Night Live" cohort Adam McKay, fabricates a gay past for the former president as well as an "animal-like" affair with his secretary of state. It's wacky, it's weird, it's out there and it's not at all kind -- but, Ferrell explained, he felt biting satire was warranted given public opinion on the Bush presidency.
"We don't really comment on anything that didn't happen. In terms of sensitivity, we aren't really saying anything that isn't really a fact," he told ABCNews.com at the party following the show's premiere. "[Bush] displayed a certain attitude, and that's the attitude I convey onstage. There's a lot of material, and in some ways I look at the show and think that we held back."
Why Will Ferrell's Doing Dubya Now
Why now, after change has come to the White House and America's entered a new era? Ferrell said he sees the show as a release, closure -- like venting after a breakup.
"The comments I've gotten [about the show] is it feels like a cathartic experience," he said. "You're getting to go through the last eight years and we're commenting on things that just weren't commented on."
A spokesperson for Bush said the former president doesn't plan to see Ferrell's show and declined to comment further on it.
It's just as well. If "You're Welcome, America" is to Ferrell what an Alanis Morissette song is to an angry ex, the former president ought not to watch. It could get ugly. Funny, but ugly.