5 Politicians Who Were Actually Clowns
Politics is a circus, and it needs more clowns.
A lot of politicians are clowns, and some are comedians. The best of the candidate comedians have the ability to capture and control the stage and provoke laughter from a crowd—preferably intentionally, but often inadvertently.
Look at Donald Trump. The tonsorially challenged reality star is a regular Don Rickles of presidential candidates; he insults everyone. The barbs that come out of his mouth— while mugging to Jim Carrey proportions —you’d think only a comedian would say that shtick.
Sure, snobby commentators from the cultural elite try to write off Trump’s campaign is a joke. But there is a separate breed of politicians whose pre-election cycle career was literally a joke.
Scroll down for a look at five former comedians who have thrown their fanny hats into the political ring.
1) Jimmy Morales
Guatemala has just elected comedian Jimmy Morales as its new president. Morales has never held political office—his primary public role has been starring for 15 years on the weekly comedy program Moralejas.
Here’s Morales in comedic action:
"Humor really opened doors for me and enabled me to convey important messages," Morales said about his victory.
Addressing perceptions that Guatemalan politics suffers from corruption at the highest levels, morales ran on the campaign slogan: “Not corrupt. Not a thief.”
2) Al Franken
Al Franken is the poster boy of comedian done good—as a politician. Franken started his career as one of the original writers on Saturday Night Live, penning sketches for the likes of John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. He also performed bit parts with writing partner Tom Davis.
Franken took a political turn when he started hosting a liberal radio talk show on Air America, which led to writing the political satire books Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot.
In 2007, Franken formally announced his candidacy for the United States Senator from Minnesota. He was sworn into the Senate on July 7, 2009. Ever since, he’s kept his head down to complete the work at hand for the people of Minnesota.
Check out an appearance this past year on the Letterman show (above) to see how much Franken has matured.
3) Eddie Izzard
British comedian Eddie Izzard vows to run for the office of Mayor of London in 2020. He’ll be running for the position as a “fearless atheist.”
“I'm trying to do an Al Franken,” says Izzard. “I want to bring all the energy of doing gigs in different languages, of touring around and playing lots of crazy places, of doing marathon running, of all this stuff, I'm going to bring that energy into it and hopefully do something positive. I can think in a different way, I can see things in a slightly different light.”
Also, Izzard is very funny. Here he is (above) in cross-dressing comedic splendor.
4) Fred Grandy
This man played comedic foil Gopher on the Love Boat.
When the series ended, Grandy ran for Congress from his home state of Iowa. Despite the comedic implications of that scenario, Grandy won and served in the House from 1987 to 1995. A slim margin of unamused voters cost Grandy a 1994 primary for Iowa governor.
Take a look at Grandy, above, being all serious and talking politics and not breaking character.
5) Beppe Grillo
Grillo is known as the "clown prince" of Italian politics. The comedian- turned-politician started Italy’s Five Star Movement (M5S)—which won the second highest quantity of popular votes for the Chamber of Deputies. M5S has gained momentum among that group of Italians who are fed up with mainstream political parties.
"My vision was just to make jokes about politicians," Grillo told CNN before the elections. "Then I made this joke about how this politician was stealing—and he actually was."
You don’t need to speak Italian to enjoy Beppo’s sub-verbal subtext: