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Funny Times in Harrisburg?

Can Harrisburg Residents Laugh Again Following the City’s Recent Flooding?

The residents of Harrisburg haven’t had all that much to smile about recently.  The huge flooding the city encountered – along with its sad economic situation and possible takeover – hasn’t exactly led to giggling in the streets.  But perhaps even amidst all this doom and gloom, there has been a glimpse of a silver lining.  Or at least an opportunity has been created to give the people of Harrisburg something to smile about for a little while.

Last weekend, Michael Feldman hosted a public radio variety show, called “Whad’Ya Know?” that was broadcast again on Sunday on WITF 89.5 which – for those tuned in – definitely generated a lot of laughs.  Feldman attacked the city’s current Mayor, Linda Thompson, terming her the “mayor-not-for-life” as he had, on a previous comedy tour, named the other mayor, Stephen R. Reed, the “mayor-for-life.”  A huge rib-tickling chuckle was evident from the audience.

Indeed, the man attracts close to one million listeners every week with his comedy routine that seems to have been able to get a giggle even in tough times.  He has a section entitled, “Harrisburg news that isn’t,” and on his most recent show he discussed the city’s debt-ridden incinerator.  As recorded in Penn Live, Feldman said, “most towns build aquariums. That’s the big thing. Let’s build an incinerator … Great idea. … We can burn the garbage in it. It’s a money maker. Wish I could have been there for the pitch.”

And of course, it’s always great to be able to laugh at one’s problems which the comedian encouraged his listeners to do.  When Feldman pointed out that “Harrisburg was also No. 7 among recession-proof cities because what the heck else could go wrong, really?” how could listeners not laugh?

Feldman’s Critics

Although the show did receive some criticism for being too harsh on the city’s Mayor who is trying her best under extremely challenging circumstances, Thompson was defended by Corky Goldstein, former City Council member, and one of the show’s guests. So there was some kind of balance.

And, truth be told, if you can’t laugh at your problems, you’ll only cry, so surely Feldman really touched the spot when he took the recent misfortunes of Harrisburg and let people see them from a funny point of view instead.