The headlines are depressing, our political system seems broken and polarization is rampant. So maybe it’s time to laugh. Maybe humor is in order to chase away the election year blues.

BLAST (Bold Local Artists of the Southern Tier) is working to supply this humor by presenting The Outsider, Paul Slade Smith’s timely comedy that salutes American democracy while also skewering American politics through a mixture of farce and satire.

The play opens Friday, Jan. 26, for a two-weekend run at the Cider Mill Stage, 2 Nanticoke Ave, Endicott.

The play was originally produced by Peninsula Players Theatre in Wisconsin in 2015 to enthusiastic reviews. Broadway World, Milwaukee called Smith’s work “an intelligent, well-written play with enough quirks and surprises to keep the politics fresh. An intellectual and stimulating comedy that will send the audience home laughing and sighing simultaneously about their own government.”

The play’s main character, Ned Newley, is possibly the worst candidate ever to run for public office. Not only is he terrified of public speaking, but his poll numbers are in the toilet, and he doesn’t even want to be governor.

Cynical political consultant Arthur Vance sees an opportunity. He comes to Albany and starts coaching Newley in the best way to sound like an idiot and yet become the kind of candidate the public will elect.

Other characters in The Outsider include a loyal chief of staff, a bumbling receptionist and a hard-charging television reporter.

The seven-person BLAST cast is Gary Hansen, Isaac Weber, Hillori Schenker, Stefanie Willette, John Montgomery, Alondra Hughes and Jackson Bailey. Many have appeared in other BLAST productions at the Cider Mill Stage.

The Outsider is “witty and clever and smart,” the Green Bay (Wisc.) Press Gazette said in its thumbs-up review.

— George Basler

IF YOU GO: The Outsider opens on Friday, Jan. 26 ,and runs weekends through Sunday, Feb.  4, at the Cider Mill Stage, 2 Nanticoke Ave., Endicott.  Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets at $28 may be purchased by visiting or by calling the box office at 607-321-9630.