Newport said she and another writer, Mark Eaton, handle most of the jokes and songs from their offices in Washington, D.C., where the group is still based. Most of the time, she said, they'll fire emails back and forth.
"I like to write a first draft and send it to him," she said. "He'll say, that's not funny or this is funny and that's not. He'll send back some suggestions.
"There's no smoke-filled room, but we do have a rhyming dictionary and do a lot of Googling."
Some comedy and satirical bits are easy than others. They love sex scandals (and so do the audience, she said), but lately, the big topics of the day have all been complicated economic issues: the budget sequester and the Greek bailout.
"Those are a real challenge for us," Newport said. "They're not inherently funny."
So they work around the subject matter.
"We've found that you can make even serious fiscal situations funny if you just make your performers looks stupid," she said.
If a story is more simmer than sizzle, if it seems like it's still developing, Newport said they can usually make adjustments for the biggest comedic impact.
Newport said most of the public figures and politicians they've skewered over the years have been OK with the joke being on them. So far, nobody in the Senate or the White House has sent the Secret Service or the IRS to hunt The Capitol Steps down.
"That was one of the great surprises," she said. "The politicians tended to like it more than we expected. George Bush Senior invited us to perform a lot -- and you know, he also invited Dana Carvey to the White House."
Carvey was famous for his devastating impersonation of Bush.
Newport said, "Politicians sort of realized that it kind of serves them to have a sense of humor."
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.