Thursday, November 02, 2006

That Kerry, what a kidder!

With so much being made of John Kerry's unfortunate attempt at jocularity this week, I'm reminded of an interview I did two years ago with George Butler, the master documentarian (and long-time Kerry buddy), after the Toronto Film Festival premiere of Butler's Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry. Specifically, I'm thinking about this exchange:

Q: The common rap against Kerry as a campaigner is that he’s too stiff, too formal. You’ve known him for a long time. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever heard him say?

Butler: Well, he used to do a terrific Peter Sellers imitation. He could play Inspector Clouseau and so forth. But other than that… I’m just trying to think. [Long pause] What I would say is more interesting about John is to be in a room with him and understand that he just said something that was incredibly insightful, or analytic in just the perfect kind of way.

Translation: He's a brilliant guy, but he's no Richard Pryor.

My take: If someone who's known you for 40 years can't think of a single freakin' joke you've ever told... Well, I dunno, maybe those jokes weren't very funny? So maybe, just maybe, you ought to leave the stand-up to the experts?

(Yes, I voted for the guy anyway. No, I wouldn't want him as my warm-up act.)

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