It all started with TiVO, a Mac and a lot of comedic inspiration.

Jimmy Dore returns to Ann Arbor’s Comedy Showcase with his newest video-integrated show “Pop And Politics,” performing tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

You might not recognize the name, but Dore is hard to miss. He’s appeared on several TV shows including NBC’s “Friday Night!” and CBS’s “The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn.” He has also performed in the hit off-Broadway show “The Marijuana-Logues” and taped his own half-hour standup special for “Comedy Central Presents.”

Televised comedy might be convenient – it’s certainly popular – but nothing compares to the energy generated at a live show. There’s no telling what to expect with a club full of eager faces, making every performance uniquely entertaining. And who better than a liberal crowd of intelligent college students?

“Not your typical beer-slugging knuckleheads,” according to Dore.

“Pop And Politics” has a definite political slant, but Dore hesitates to pick sides. “I’m a citizen, not a partisan,” he said, which isn’t to say he doesn’t have a liberal following. And as any good comedian knows, bitter backlash is practically written into the job description.

Dore recalled a show in Texas where an angry audience member said to him after the show, “It’s America, love it or leave it.”

“Yeah, I’m sure that’s what the Indians said,” Dore countered, who makes an effort to distinguish himself as a loyal citizen as opposed to a patriot.

“It’s about time we question authority,” he said.

Having grown up in a blue-collar family on Chicago’s south side is part of Dore’s charm. His modest background pulls him down from a potentially obnoxious, holier-than-thou pulpit and puts him on the level of his audience – only funnier.

But no amount of journalistic praise can do Dore justice, whose humor doesn’t always translate well to paper. His casual composure and cleverly placed pauses can turn funny into falling-off-your-chair-hilarious.

The beauty of “Pop And Politics” is its unconventional format. Video clips taken straight from television work as a springboard for social commentary. As the line blurs between the left and right and political dogma pivots around rumored hearsay, videos bring a welcomed sense of factual grounding. No one can argue with the facts, no matter how hard the Bush administration tries.

One clip used in the show is President Bush defining “extraordinary circumstances,” as in the fine print justifying filibusters in Congress: “Extraordinary circumstances, uh, means just that, really extraordinary.” Pause. “I don’t know what that means.”

But Dore’s nonchalant sarcasm and blatant attacks stretch beyond the obvious presidential bloopers, though they do invite a certain amount of justified mockery.

Despite a presumed bias, Dore’s comic onslaughts leave room for criticism across the board. And it’s not just politicians he’s after. Dore judges pop culture and the public with the same level of shameless contempt.

Pop and Politics
Comedy Showcase
Tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

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