Presidential Pokesman

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- As you now know, my humor column is written three weeks before you read it, meaning I am writing this one on the Friday after the election. It’s been challenging. First I tried to imagine what a Trump administration would look like. Would there be a “Department of Taunting Hispanics”? Would the White House press corps ...Read more

Cultural Confucian

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- When I was 11 years old, I teamed up with my cousin Margaret to enter a school traffic-safety contest. The challenge was to create a poster for a citywide campaign. Margaret was a talented artist, so she did the illustration. I was a talented smart aleck, so I wrote the words.

What we came up with was a stereotypical image ...Read more

A Case of Boomer Bust

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Dear millennials:

I've been reading articles about how we baby boomers suck. And how your generation is going to fix everything mine screwed up.

If you Google "baby boomers are bad," you get hundreds of hits, including these: "Baby boomers ruined America." "'Disgusting, Selfish, Immature': 10 reasons baby boomers are the ...Read more


Humor / Below the Beltway /

EDITORS -- A photo is available to accompany this column and can be downloaded from If the photo cannot accompany the column, please change the penultimate graf to: "After Barnaby had just finished breakfast on this dreadful morning, full of himself and ...Read more

This Bland is Our Bland

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- So here we are, the Sunday before Election Day, a difficult time for most news editors because we are now forced to enter the Land of the Bland. There is no hard rule about it, but we generally conspire not to run partisan stories or explosive exposes during the 48 hours before the election. Our goal is to be scrupulously balanced ...Read more

Sitting Atop a Picket Fence. Ow.

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- With the election just over a week away, people are talking once again about the allegedly puzzling phenomenon of the ubiquitous Non-Voter. Even for a hotly contested presidential election like this one, barely more than half of eligible Americans will likely drag themselves to the polls.

Many years ago, I proposed that some ...Read more

Handling the Truth

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- You are not reading this sentence.

Nothing could be further from the truth than what I just wrote. I point this out because it is likely the only time you will ever encounter the phrase "nothing could be further from the truth" and have it actually be truthful. The phrase exists more than 2 million times online, and it is ...Read more

They Veg to Differ

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- When I read the news that an online petition is urging the West Coast fast-food chain In-N-Out Burger to offer a vegetarian burger option, I realized I had a vital question to ask on behalf of you, the public. I got a company spokeswoman on the phone.

Me: So your chain is really named In-N-Out Burger?

Company ...Read more

An Evil Spell

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I am lurking on a blog called Lost at E Minor, which describes itself as "a global culture site" for creative people. Specifically, I am reading an essay making fun of all those dopey baristas at Starbucks who misspell your name when they write it on the cup. Here's Allison spelled as "Allerson" and Mark as "Mog." Also, Penelope ...Read more

Not a Pretty Picture

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I am not a handsome man. The caricature of me that generally accompanies my online chat for The Washington Post, drawn by Eric Shansby, depicts a comically disheveled, mop-headed, pasty-faced, pudgy, bulb-nosed schnook, and it is actually quite flattering. In short, I am under no illusions about my appearance. Stretching mightily ...Read more

A Man of Distinctions

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Behold: A new installment of Small But Important Distinctions in Life.

[The n-word] vs. "the n-word"

The word suggested by the bracketed phrase is a racial slur, whereas the phrase in quotes is what people say when they want to reference the racial slur without causing offense. It doesn't work.

"The n-word" tries to ...Read more

Yucks for Bucks: Gene Revolutionizes Panhandling

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I'm sitting at my dining room table, counting out a tidy pile of cash generated under a bold new business model of my invention; I am feeling the way Henry Ford must have felt when he saw that first assembly line rumble into action.

I just made $71 in a little more than three hours of easy, skill-free work, which extrapolates to ...Read more


Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I am afraid to look at my mail. Literally. Just moments ago, I went to the mailbox, started to open it, stopped and then went back inside to write this column. I'm pretty sure there is something bad in that box, and I'd rather not confront it just yet.

I blame my daughter. Last Christmas she bought me a membership in Costco, the ...Read more

Sex, Drugs and Cock and Bull

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I no longer answer my phone if I don't recognize the number of the caller. It's the only way I can try to avert Pharmageddon.

Pharmageddon is my term for the hemorrhage of spam calls I have been getting from an online drug store. It has been phoning me six to eight times a day, and has been doing it for months. The caller is ...Read more

True Grit: Gene Plays Dirty in His Attempt to One-Up Dave Barry

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- It's been nearly 30 years since I first met Dave Barry, hired him and became his editor. I then watched with pride and pleasure as my good friend went on to become a nationally acclaimed columnist, best-selling author, sitcom character, rapacious plutocrat, etc. Eventually, I was so filled with pride and pleasure that I considered ...Read more

Gene's True Calling

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- This week, more of my Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the plight of the beleaguered customer-service representative.

Kellogg's Raisin Bran

Me: You can buy boxes of your product in lots of different sizes. Some are the size of a bar of soap, others the size of an attache case. Yet both say they have "two scoops" of ...Read more

Oaf of Office

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- Jan. 20, 2017, the inaugural address of Donald John Trump Sr.:

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, Comrade Putin and my fellow white Americans:

We have many challenges ahead of us, beginning with the stock market, which as you know cratered the day after the election because, finally, the country woke up to...Read more

Getting to the Bottom of Things

Humor / Below the Beltway /

WASHINGTON -- I am going to use my journalistic skills to clear up some questions based on puzzling facts I have recently encountered:

Is it true that millennials are incredibly lazy people who should be horsewhipped to within an inch of their lives?

This question was based on a report that millennials are not buying breakfast cereal ...Read more

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