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PopPolitics: Dan Aykroyd on Blues Brothers, Political Comedy and ‘A Capitol Fourth’ (Listen)

Variety logo Variety 7/3/2017 Ted Johnson
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Dan Aykroyd will be performing in Washington along with Jim Belushi on Tuesday as the Blues Brothers, part of the lineup for this year’s “A Capitol Fourth,” the Fourth of July annual celebration to air on PBS.

They’ll be joined by host John Stamos and others performers including Trace Adkins, the Beach Boys, the Four Tops, Chris Blue and the National Symphony Orchestra.

On the latest edition of Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM, Aykroyd talks about why this non-partisan tradition is so important, as well as the role of comedy in politics and in diffusing political divisions.

“It is psycho-chemically necessary for mankind to survive,” Aykroyd says.

He calls Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of President Trump “excellent,” and recalls portraying Richard Nixon for Second City at the time that Nixon resigned.

“I was basically on stage the night he resigned,” Aykroyd said, recalling a routine where he tried to imagine what Nixon would do afterward, like taking on the role of a TV ad announcer. It’s still funny today. Aykroyd went on to portray Nixon on “Saturday Night Live” in skits written by Al Franken and Tom Davis, as well as Jim Downey.

Aykroyd said that he was looking forward to the event because it is “celebrating the most generous nation on earth. Anyone who can get into America can make something of themselves.”

He’s a native of Canada, but said that the traditions of Canada Day, on July 1, and Independence Day in the United States have many similarities. The first Fourth of July he remembers spending in the United States was in the mid-1970s, when John Belushi rented a beach house in the Hamptons and a group of their friends spend what was a “Yankee afternoon.”

Aykroyd also is passionate about the role of immigration in the United States and Canada.

“As a Canadian I don’t comment on American politics and they don’t call me for advice, but I think immigration fuels North America, and it is to be encouraged,” he says. “We’re prospering from it.”

Listen below:

“PopPolitics,” hosted by Variety’s Ted Johnson, airs from 11-noon PT/2-3 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.

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